How to Make a New Gradient Overlay in Photoshop

By Andrew Tennyson

Layer styles are a handy tool used to add non-destructive effects to Photoshop projects. Using layer styles to add a gradient overlay enables you to apply gradient-based effects to content on a new or existing layer. Take advantage of the many features available on the Layer Styles Gradient Overlay dialog to tweak and customize everything from the color and direction to the opacity, blend mode and scale of your gradient overlay.

Click the layer on which you want to insert your gradient overlay. Click "Layer" on the main menu along the top of the Photoshop window, highlight "Layer Style" and click "Gradient Overlay" to load the Layer Styles Gradient Overlay dialog.

Click the "Blend Mode" pull-down menu on the Layer Styles Gradient Overlay dialog and select the blend mode you want to apply to your overlay. Normal is the default setting, and enables you to create simple gradients. Other options enable you to customize the way in which your gradient blends with the layers beneath it.

Click the "Opacity" field and select your opacity. The lower the number, the more transparent your gradient.

Click the "Gradient" field and select the colors and transparencies you want to use for your gradient.

Click the "Style" pull-down menu and select your gradient style. Options include Linear, Radial, Angle, Reflected and Diamond. Click the "Align with Layer" check box if you want Photoshop to automatically align the gradient with the layer on which you're applying it.

Click the "Angle" field and enter the angle of your gradient in degrees. You can also click and spin the "Angle" dial to adjust the angle manually.

Click and drag the "Scale" slider to adjust the start and end points for your gradient overlay.

Click "OK" to apply you new gradient overlay.


Information in this article applies to Photoshop CS6. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.