The creative tutorial home of image wrangler, Lesa Snider.

Five uses for gradient masks in Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, and Pixelmator

October 14, 2015 by

Sitting quietly in the Tools panel of the popular image editors Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, and Pixelmator, is the Gradient tool, a wonderfully useful painting tool that lets you create a soft, gradual transition from one color to another (or several). But besides using the tool to add color to your designs, you can use it inside a layer mask (referred to as a gradient mask). By setting the two colors of the gradient to black and white—to conceal and reveal, respectively—the tool lets you fade layer content in interesting ways. In this column, you’ll discover six handy uses...click here to read the full tutorial on Macworld.com

The gradient mask is circled here. A color tint was added to the top example to introduce color consistency between the two images.
Notice how the faded color in these examples creates a safe spot for text.
A layer filled with black was also added to the bottom of this piece.
Be sure to use a big, thick font—say, Arial Black—so you can see the effect (thin characters won’t work).