How to add gradient overlays using layer styles in Photoshop tutorial

gradient overlay Photoshop stylesHow to use Photoshop gradient overlays and layer styles / effects for CC 2018 2017 / 2015 CS6 CS5 CS4 tutorial.

Photoshop gradient overlays and layer styles

  1. Select a layer

  2. Go to layer menu in Photoshop

  3. Layer style command

  4. Select gradient overlay

  5. Change settings of the layer style in Photoshop for shape as well as click '+' to add more than one overlay

  6. Click OK

Video tutorial on the of gradient overlays using layer styles by (youtube)


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settingsThe key thing is having a layer, without that then there are no styles and no gradient overlay. So create a layer via the new layer command. It also helps if there is something in the layer, if it is a blank design then there is nothing to add the effects to. So just go to the edit menu and fill command and then fill the entire design with white or black or any solic color. To apply that, go to the layer menu and then layer style and select the overlay. You can then change the settings for that such as blend mode, opacity, actual preset, align, style / type, angle, scale etc.


One thing you will notice if you are using the most up to date versions of the application is that there is a little '+' at the side of the entry for the overlay and if you want to add more than one overlay then click that. OK, once you have clicked the '+' then you have two (or more entries and to see the interaction between the different entries then the easiest way is to use the blending mode / blend as well as opacity. So if you have three entries then the two topmost entries can have blending modes and opacities such as difference and 50% opacity to allow the lowest entry to be seen. Each of the entries can also have a different angle and origin point and scale as well as different preset and also type.


selectionIf you only fill a part of the layer then that part will display the overlay. Goto the empty design and select part of the design (in the example the selection is a rectangular marquee tool but it could equally be any number of different and more complex selections). Goto the edit menu and fill command and fill with white or black and then go to the layer menu and apply another overlay (as described above). In the example, you can see two entries and they have been blended by using the difference blending mode for the top entry.


duplicatedYou can click the layer and select it and then hold down the alt key and duplicate the design and repeat that duplication over and over to create multiple entries of that presets combination.


smart objectYou can convert the artwork into a smart object via the layer menu and smart object and convert. Once converted, the designs can then be manipulated by using effects such as filter and distort and twirl.


distortion objectIf you use a selection and fill that with black on a blank layer, you can also add the gradient overlay style and then convert that into a smart object. Once it is a smart object, the preset is distorted as is the filled area so you can generate all kinds of weird and wonderful designs using selections.


typeYou can also quickly use the gradient overlays with type. Create some type via the horizontal type tool and then re-size the design as required. Goto the layer menu and layer styles and use the gradient overlay. You can then manipulate the origin, angle etc of the preset added to the current selected type. All kinds of amazing type designs can be created by using the overlays. In the example you can see multiple type entries duplicated with the same preset added. You can keep all the presets the same or you can modify each of the designs in turn.


masksYou can also use the gradient overlay / styles with a layer with an added mask. Create a design as before as a single layer and then with that layer selected, go to the layer menu and layer mask and reveal all. Once you have the mask in the layers panel, select that entry and then add brush strokes and shapes etc to display more or less of the gradient overlay. All kinds of complex masks can be added to reveal more or less of the artwork.


If you want to change the mask, you can change it at any time by editing it. If you want to modify the actual overlay style then go back to the layer thumbnail.



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