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Apply gradual transition fades with gradient layer masks

Added on Tuesday 22nd of July 2008 07:24 am EST
Adobe Photoshop CS/CS2/CS3
Operating Systems:
Microsoft Windows, Macintosh

Can you tell me how to make an image look like it’s fading out? I know it probably requires a mask technique but I can’t figure out how to do it. In fact, I’ve discovered that I can’t even add a layer mask to some of my images.

Applying a layer mask to fade an image is a great way to make the image more accessible for text in your layout, as demonstrated in Figure A.


If you’re unable to apply a layer mask to a layer, the key is that your image can’t be a locked background layer. To follow along with our example, launch Photoshop and open any image that has a locked background layer, as indicated in Figure B.


To apply a gradient layer mask:

  1. Double-click on the Background layer to open the New Layer dialog box and then click OK.
  2. Click on the Add Layer Mask button located at the base of the Layers palette.
  3. Double-check that the foreground color is set to white and the background color is set to black. If not, set these colors.
  4. Select the Gradient tool from the Tools palette.
  5. Select the Foreground To Background gradient in the gradient picker located on the tool Options bar. Also on the tool Options bar, select the Linear button—or whatever type of gradient you want to make.

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