I have rarely used gradients and am just beginning to explore them. I don't want to derail Tony's Creative Challenge on Gradients but am wondering about how often members generally use gradients and why they choose to do so? Hope other members new to gradients might find this helpful as well.
Thanks, Rita. That is just the kind of information that I was hoping someone would post. Your examples illustrate how effective they can be for creative projects. I have used them as backgrounds but especially like your illustration of how you use them to transition between compositional elements.
I know a few of our members have mentioned using gradient maps for conversion to a monotone image.
I would also be interested in hearing how people whose main interest is photography might use them....aside from creating monotone images. tonyw also added a link to a set of landscape gradients to be used with gradient maps. I wonder if this is a tool that landscape photographers use often?
Just see that Lillias has posted using them on fonts.....another interesting idea....I did try this with the page I recently created and I liked the result.
I use gradients in my landscape photography generally to adjust sky tonality. Occasionally there's an image with a large subject (ie tree??) close to an edge that I want in included, but don't want it to be prominent so I'll use a gradient to adjust tonality.
PSE 18, On1 Photo RAW 19, Image Composite Editor, Windows 10
I use gradients a lot in PSE, especially when applying a Neutral Density Graduated Filter where I use a black to transparent gradient to tone down bright skies and/or other overly bright elements in a high dynamic range image.
Three situations in which I like to use gradient maps:
1 - Black and white conversion with the ability to fine tune the resulting tone curve (replaces curves). The result is an adjustment layer which is more flexible than a normal layer resulting from the black and white conversion filter. Toning (sepia...) is easy.
2 - Analytic tool combined with a difference layer. The difference mode tends to produce very dark results, for instance when comparing two layers of the same image in sRGB and in aRGB. You can use an 'auto level' commande to expand the differences in tones, but a gradient map adjustment layers is much more powerful.
3 - Combined with high pass sharpening: sketch drawing or frequency (details) masks.
michel , could you expand a bit as to how you would use this with high pass sharpening? It is my preferred method for sharpening.
What is the resulting image after high pass sharpening?
It looks like a middle grey image with slightly enhanced contours or details. The middle gray shows flat areas without details or contours, whether dark or light.
When the algorithm finds two neighbouring areas of different luminosity, the border line between those areas creates on the high pass image:
- a lighter shade of gray starting from the border towards the lighter area
- a darker shade of gray starting from the border towards the darker area
If the high pass radius has been set to a low value (eg 5 pixels), what you are seeing is a border with increased contrast, the light side is lighter, the dark side is darker.
This property is used with an adequate blend mode (overlay, soft light) to sharpen the contours and details. This is especially necessary to compensate the loss of sharpness created by the antialiasing filter, which acts in the reverse way, like a gaussian blur.
The idea to create an image with contours or details is to start from the high pass layer and to get rid of the middle gray, keeping the enhanced contours. The gradient map will for instance set all middle gray to white, and set the darkest parts to black. You can get an idea by applying a simple threshold filter.
The advantage of the gradient map is that you have much more flexibility to select the darkest shades in the high pass layer to get the best sketchy effect.
I'll come back tomorrow to supply an example... Thanks for your patience.