Welcome to my blog! I write, and take photos, and use Photoshop every day. I love learning and surprises and my sweet family and being a transplanted southerner.

Photoshop Friday!

Today’s PS Friday comes as a special request from Janet Ohlson. The Hot Spot in the inside back cover of the October issue of Creating Keepsakes features a layout of mine that she asked about. I used a technique where I created a gradient fill and used it as a clipping mask for a brush. It sounds complicated, but it isn’t too bad. And so I decided to use this technique in a card today for PS Friday. Yay cards! :D

Here’s the image we’ll end up with:

Card front, Fina
Can you see on this card how the floral image transitions smoothly from pink to blue? That’s what we’ll be doing. :)

Ready to get started?

  1. Start a new document, 4x4 inches, 300 dpi, RGB color, white background
  2. Fill the background with any color you like. I chose brown.
  3. Choose a great brush image. It can be floral, viney, design-ey, anything you like. Keep in mind that this technique works well on brushes that have thicker lines and areas to them, so you can see the gradient. I chose this gorgeous brush from a new set by Jason Gaylor, made exclusively for Scrapologie.
  4. Create a new layer.
  5. Choose a color for the brush. If you aren’t planning to erase anything into the image, choose any color you like. If you’d like to create some patterns, choose a color that either contrasts or coordinates. (I chose white.)
  6. Stamp the brush image (or create your design if you’d like to incorporate multiple images. Just make sure to flatten onto a single layer when you’re finished).

Create a Gradient

The next step is to add a gradient that will become the color fill for the brush image.

  1. Create a new layer.
  2. Switch to the Gradient tool (it’s behind the paint bucket).
  3. In the Options bar at the top of your screen, you’ll see a little sample of what your gradient will look like. To edit the gradient, click on that sample swatch.

The gradient editor pops up, which looks like this:

Gradient Editor

  1. To change the starting and ending colors, double-click on the small colored blocks at the bottom of the gradient preview. You can then sample a color from a photo or pick from the color picker (or dial in a color if you have a favorite hex code). 
  2. When you are finished with your gradient, click OK. 
  3. In the Options bar next to the gradient swatch, you’ll see a set of buttons. For this project, we’ll ensure that the first button, Linear Gradient, is selected. (Feel free to play with the others if you like - they do some pretty cool stuff)

Now we’re ready to draw our gradient. But rather than filling our entire new layer with the gradient, we’ll control where the gradient goes by filling a smaller space. (Why? Well, if you draw a gradient across an entire 12x12 layout, for example, and then clip it to a tiny brush, you won’t see any gradient at all)

  1. Switch to the Rectangle Marquee tool and draw a rectangle that is slightly larger than your brush image.
  2. With your new layer targeted in the layers palette, switch back to the Gradient tool and click and drag to draw the gradient fill. You can experiment with clicking and dragging diagonally, for short distances, long distances, left to right, top to bottom, whatever makes you happy.

I drew a pink-to-blue gradient, starting in the top left and dragging to the bottom right, and it ended up looking like this:
Gradient Fill before Clipping Mask is applied

Create the Clipping Mask 

Now what we want to do is constrain our gradient fill to the edges of the brush image that’s underneath it. The way we do this is by creating a clipping mask. It’s easy. In fact, one step:

1. With the gradient layer selected, hit Ctrl-G (Ctrl-Alt-G in PSCS2).

Bam! You have a brush image with a gradient fill.


Repositioning your brush image: If you click and drag anywhere inside your brush image when it is acting as a clipping mask, you’ll only drag your gradient image around. So if you want to actually reposition your brush image, I recommend linking the layers together (Shift-click each layer in the Layers palette and then click the little chain-link icon) using the Move tool to move them. (You could also flatten the gradient down onto the brush image, but then you lose your ability to edit, and we all know the squicky feeling we get when we abandon our ability to undo…)

 Modifying the contents of the gradient fill layer: You can edit the contents of the fill by targeting the layer and editing it. For example, I targeted my gradient fill and then used a brush with my eraser tool to erase out some of the gradient for a pretty cool effect. Just remember that what you’re erasing here will reveal the original color in which you stamped your brush image.

 So here again is the final image:

Final Image

And here’s the card, printed out and mounted to some of the beautiful new Fancy Pants paper (click for larger):

Finished Car

My supply list:

Patterned paper: Fancy Pants

Brush Image: Exclusive Jason Gaylor set from Scrapologie

Text brush (used with eraser): Chick Pea kit by Rhonna Farrer

Font: Variex 

And here’s what I want to do for this week.

A Challenge! Yeah!

 Okay, your challenge is this: make a gradient clipping mask for a brush image. Use it on something. Upload the something. And link it up in the comments for this post.

Next Friday (shall we say noon EST?) I’ll pick a random comment number from among those who posted a link, and I’ll send the winner the card (all filled out with cheerful greetings, of course) :)

So how about it? Want a pretty card? :D

Have a wonderful Photoshop Friday and a fab weekend!  


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