Updated: August 29th, 2014
32,000 gradients for Adobe ® Photoshop CC Creative cloud & CS 6 5 4 3 2 1 & Elements 12 - 1 For a superb price, some truly amazing color effects. For PC and MAC OS X (all versions) includes focus color effects, shadow presets, random filled stop designs, sky color effects, metallic effects, smudged and blurry designs, line effects, transparency packed effects, frames, multi-colored designs, smooth effects, bubbles, ring designs and more. Easy to use and apply. They can be applied once or multiple times, combine with effects, re-color the preset color effects, modify the color effects, edit, use in different color modes, use with shapes, use with layers, use as linear / ellipse / reflected etc modes. Use to create items for sale - use to create logos, templates, kits, packaging, adverts, book covers and much more. All are by graphicxtras.com (Andrew Buckle). Use the presets with text and animation, maps, fill layer command, GRD tool, in scripts etc
Commercial use, royalty free
Millions of wonderful color effects
On purchase, receive GRD files + documentation + gallery + serial
Loading GRD files
You can load the Photoshop gradients by double clicking the GRD files or using the right click option and open file. You can also place the GRD files into the preset folder and then access the designs via the tool's palette. You can also use the load / replace commands on the same palette to browse for the files. You can also load the GRD files via the preset manager (edit menu).
There are a lot of files and Photoshop gradients in this collection set and PS is not the best application for browsing all the files. I would suggest checking out an application called Tumasoft PresetViewer Breeze (found via the Tumasoft site). It works wonderfully with most of the presets and can be used to explore all the shapes, strokes etc in your collection. You can also export a preview thumbnail of all the designs - all very useful.
Using the toolbox tools
The key tool can be found in the PS toolbox (it is on the same icon as the paint bucket tool). Selecting the tool will display (on the top bar of the application) the preset palette dropdown (contains all the current presets), blending mode, type, opacity. The preset palette dropdown will probably not display all the presets in the collection (this is certainly the case with earlier versions of PS and PSE though with the latest versions, more presets can be loaded - still, 32,000 is probably a few too many presets for the palette to handle)
GRD file - the standard format
They are stored in a GRD file, the GRD file can be used in PS and PS Elements. Sadly, no other application (that I know of) supports GRD files. As mentioned elsewhere, there is a powerful preset browser tool from Tumasoft and you might find that useful to search through all the GRD files as well as CSH and ABR
Apply the overlay to an image using a opacity of less than 100%. Many of the colorful presets in the various collections also come with their own transaprency information to allow for more or less of the image to be displayed. This transparency can be further modified by clicking on the preset and changing the transparency stop settings. The presets can be applied in multiple directions using the tool. The transparency information can be removed all together by setting the transparency check to off (option bar) or just editing the preset and setting all the transparency stops to 100%
They are great for extrude like operations such as columns and spheres, some work better than others for this. To apply this you will need to be able to access the 3D menu in PS and use the layer designs with the extrude etc options. You can then use the designs to create amazing colorful OBJ 3D files and send the color designs to a 3D printer.
Quick masks and color effects and masks
Use them as selection masks. Click the quick mask mode button and then apply the preset to the document. On exit, the selection will reflect the design. You can use the blending modes and much more in quick mask to create truly weird and wonderful selections and these can be used in combination with the presets on exit from the quick mask. Quick mask video
Use them in scripts and actions. By using the listener plugin that comes with PS, you can also observe the various settings associated with the preset such as the type, angle, start and end position, the different stops used and the colors associated with the stop and the midpoints. The scripts can then be used as a template for new scripts and can be used to create truly weird and wonderful mathematical or random color tools(many of the presets on the graphicxtras site have been created using various mathematical models to the stops and position of the stops). Using a script allows for the effect to be repeated at a later time or the creation of presets that might be nigh on impossible to create purely by adding stops to the tool's setting bar. Actions do not allow for such flexibility but they do allow for the repeat of certain effects.
Tiles and designs
Use as tile sources. Create a new document and then apply the preset across the image (the reflected preset is perhaps one of the more useful types to use for the creation of tiles). Re-apply the preset in PS or different designs as required and use the offset filter to shift the design to create a tile (or select a 1/4 of the design and then transform and rotate to create the same design on each side of the file) and then save the tile via the edit menu command and define command. With the latest versions of PS, you can also use the tools to create amazing designs for input with scripted patterns in the fill menu. Create an empty transparent image and then use the preset GRD tool to create a linear or radial etc design. As many of the GRD files contain transparency, much of the document will still be transparent which is perfect for use with the scripted patterns. Go to the edit menu and define the pattern and then use fill command and patterns and scripted option. With the latest versions of the application, you can now select a number of pattern types such as symmetry as well as modify settings via a dialog. Use to create 1000s of amazing color effects.
They can be used as source for displacement maps, all you need to do is to save design to a PSD format file. The design can be as basic or as complex as you would like and as the designs can be any size then the displacement maps can also be 2000 x 2000 etc. The same approach as with the patterns needs to be applied though it does require a little trial and error and not all colorful presets will work well. Especially, you have to remember the map is a grayscale image and not a color one.
Use as a source for strokes. Apply the preset in a selection or across the image. You may wish to limit the range of the preset by a selection allowing for a blurring at the edges of the strokes (otherwise you will end up with a square stroke). Repeat the preset, use different blending modes, apply with effects and then use the edit menu and define to add the design to the current stroke palette
Use the presets in lens distortion for surreal color effects.
Creating abstract shapes using the tools
They can be used as is to create amazing designs but you can also use them to create abstract and weird shapes (3D like shapes in many cases). The key thing is to use transparency with the preset. For a very basic preset, create a red (or any other color) color stop with opacity at 100% and set the other transparency stop at the far end to 0% (set the mid point as required for the colorful preset and then apply this to a new layer using the radial option for the tool (some of the other modes are of no use). You have your basic design. You could create multiple layers with different designs and perhaps with different transformations applied to extend or modify the shape, you could also use various effects such as twirl or shear to modify this or other key shapes in the construction. You can also duplicate the layer or layers via the ALT key and these designs can be built into a more complex design. I generally turn the layers into smart objects as the results are nicer and find working with smart objects a whole lot easier. The smart objects can also be duplicated and at any point you can also combine or group all the layers into a new smart object via the layer menu and convert to smart object option. Use the layer filtering to select all the required smart objects via the layer palette. The smart objects can then be positioned and manipulated over and over with the underlying preset still intact. See the video - Presets and abstract shapes video created by me for more details about some ideas on creating smart objects. You could use the preset in many more ways than displayed in the video, you could also blend the color effects as well to create interesting highlights or abstract cutouts using blending modes.
Layers and strokes with presets
Use the colorful presetson a layer with strokes. Create a new layer; layer menu and layer effects and set overlay with the required preset. Once applied, apply strokes (using something other than white) to the colorful GRD preset filled layer. This can be repeated with different layers filled with different presets (again, blending modes can be used to create interesting stroke and preset combinations)
Impressionist history tool
Use as art history source for impressionist effects. Apply the preset (perhaps repeat with the presets applied in different directions and using different settings). Once applied you will see a number of entries in the history palette. Now, select the 'art history tool' and then select a stroke and a type such as 'tight short' 'dab'. Select one of the preset entries in the history palette and then apply the art history tool. The art history tool also can be modified in a variety of ways via the stroke palette to include varying scattering and spacing
Use them in selections. Select an area using the magic wand tool or the rectangular or elliptical tool or use the path palette (and a custom shape). Once you have a selected area, apply the colorful preset either to the selected area (or invert the area or perhaps feather the selection, a number of options are available). The preset can be applied either once or multiple times to the selected area or use different presets or different blending modes to create unusual color effects
Use them in Perspective tool for nozzle like imagery. You can also use the colorful designs with the perspective warp tool. Simply create the design on a layer and then use the perspective warp in the image menu. You can set the layout / pins and then use the warp option to distort the colors in 1000s of ways.
You can also apply effects to colorful presets. The preset is purely a raster image once you have applied effects. You can always apply a blur or stained glass or a third party filter to the image. If you use the smart filter approach using the filter menu convert for smart filters then you can modify the effects. If you are susing the powerful Oil Paint filter in CC then you can create amazing painted like and smeary color effects with the tool. The colorful presets also work amazingly well with the Camera raw filter and you can alter the color of the designs in 1000s of ways - the filter also comes with its own graduated tool and this is not related to the toolbox
New layer and fill
Use in new fill layer content command. Layer menu and new fill layer content. The layer dialog will appear and you will at this point have an option to rename the layer, set the blending mode and opacity. Click the OK, you will then see the stops dialog and you will be able to select a colorful design from the preset palette dropdown (though you can always select another library at this point) and select the style / angle (if relevant) / scale / reverse / dither. You can also use the color effects as a source for new amazing patterns and pattern fill layer content as well
Merge to HDR Pro
They can be used to great effect with the file automate tool. You can use the merge tool to create amazing image combinations but you can also use the tool with presets spread over multiple files. Apply the presets using the GRD preset tool or the layer effects / layer command and then save the document (s) to files. Go to the file automate command and Merge to HDR and then either use the folder option or browse or add open files - once you have a selection of filled files in the list then click the OK button. The files have to be the same size or the merge command will fail. An option to manually set the EV setting will appear and once you have set the values (or remain the same) then the OK button will be enabled. Another dialog will appear and it defaults to 16 bit as well as a range of options such as to control the gamma, exposure, vibrance, saturation, edge glow and more - you can also just select one of the presets such as surrealistic. You can also set the mode to 8bit or 32bit. Click the OK button and the multiple presets will be merged together to create a truly extreme colorful effects. I have to say that the whole process can be a little trial and error but I guess with some practise you will be able to predict the end results of the merging, This process can be repeated with any number of combinations of presets as well as using different modes. If you select the 32bit mode then the camera raw dialog will appear and this will offer even more amazing options for the manipulation of the merge such as adding a graduated filter to the effect and vignettes as well as more options to manipulate the color merge. Merge to HDR video
You can find many more videos via the graphicxtras channel on Youtube. If you have any questions about the set, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try and create a video or two on the subject.
If you have a set with 32,000 it makes searching for a particular design tricky (as there are very few features within the application itself to search for the various designs). I would suggest checking out the powerful preset browser tool via Tumasoft (Breeze is the product name) and it can handle all kinds of presets such as shapes and brushes.
They work perfectly well in 8 bit color mode but in 8 bit you are only using 0 - 255 color range. With the 16bit mode, and other color modes, the presets work perfectly well with even more wow results especially if you use the designs with blending modes such as difference and darken. To change the color mode for the image, go to the imange menu and image mode 16 bits / channel and 32 bits / channel. To go back to 8 bit, you will have to modify the design using the HDR toning tool. Most of the blending modes are available to the tool in 16bits but not in 32bits 32bits per channel video
One feature (ok, there are a few more I could think of) lacking in PS: contours. Create a shape and then create a contour. Many applications have a contour feature such as CorelDRAW and Xara but PS lacks a contour tool. That is where the colorful come in - they can create a loose contour (it is not perfect). You can use the outer glow from the layer effects (inner glow would also work for contours). The outer glow option uses color as well as a graduated effect. To create a decent contour then you must use a multiple stop design. Apply a layer effect via the layer menu to the selected shape layer and then go to the outer glow option and set the lined colorful effect via the preset dropdown. To see the full contour, use the outer glow technique 'precise' and set the spread to 0 and contour range 100% and blend mode (dependent on the background) and a gradient with multiple stops (such as 30 equal spaced multiple color stops). The smoothness of the contour does depend on the underlying shape (some of the custom shapes are smooth but some are also distressed in places). A quick tutorial showing the creation of contours (video)
Free samplers for CC CS6 etc GRD format for Photoshop and elements. Double click the GRD file to load into the application and palette. Commercial use.