Updated: January 21st, 2015
32,000 Gradients for Adobe ® Photoshop CC Creative cloud & CS 2014 6 5 4 3 2 1 & Elements 13, 12, 11, 10 to 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 stops, sky color effects, metallic effects, smudged and blurry, line effects, transparency packed effects, frames, multi-colored, smooth effects, bubbles, rings and more.
The Photoshop gradients are 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.
Commercial use, royalty free. 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
GRD format - on purchase, you receive these along with documentation and notes and gallery and 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 them 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).
The loading of the GRD file will just add the items to the current set but if you use the replace then all the existing presets are removed. You can also quickly restore the default set by using the reset command found in the palette's right side 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 thumbnails. A really useful tool
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 layers with the extrude etc options. You can then use them to create amazing colorful OBJ 3D files and send the color graphic 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 displayed. 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 - great source for patterns in Photoshop
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 ones as required and use the offset filter to shift them to create a tile (or select a 1/4 of the image and then transform and rotate to create the same 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 graphics 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 effects. 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 them to a PSD format file. the image can be as basic or as complex as you would like and as they 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 them to the current stroke palette
How to use the GRD presets to create all kinds of weird and wonderful strokes in PS ? Using selections (as well as combining with feathering) and adding the colorful presets by using the different modes and different angles and lengths as well as different presets. Video showing how to create weird brushes using the presets (youtube) tutorial
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 graphics 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 could create multiple layers with varying transformations as well as gradients 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 using the ALT key and you can build ever more complex images. 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
Selections and the Photoshop gradients
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
Perspective Warp and Gradients in Photoshop
This is a wonderful new feature of Adobe PS, the perspective warp can be used with smart objects (you can add the color effects to a layer and turn them into a smart object) to create all kinds of weird and wonderful distorted images. As a smart object, you can always change the warp at any point
You can also use visual 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 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 images 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.
A selection of tutorials can be found on the subject of the GRD files
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 them 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 them using the HDR toning tool. Most of the blending modes are available to the tool in 16bits but not in 32bits
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 stops. 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).