Create better gradients in Photoshop

There are few things in photoshop that get me pissed off more that the banding problems gradients produce.

There are few things in photoshop that get me pissed off more that the banding problems gradients produce. It doesn’t matter if you use 72 or 300 Dpi, or if you use 8bit/Channel or 32 bit. It will eventually come to haunt you and will be based on the color combination you are using in your gradient and the opacity of the gradient itself. Let’s try and smooth things over.

As you can see from the image above, the left side is heavily banded while the right side is much smoother. Let’s produce the steps taken to produce first a banded gradient and then smooth it over.

 

Step 1 – Creating the gradient

Start off with a blue background and add a new layer where you create the white to transparent circular gradient. I set the gradient layer opacity to 80%.

 

Step 2 – Smart Filters

Smart Filters are awesome. They let you apply filters to a set of layers without damaging the layers themselves. Select the two layers and go to Filter and select Convert for Smart Filters. This will make one Smart Layer from your selected layer. Double-clicking that layer will open up a new document containing the layers you just converted.

 

Step 3 – Gaussian Blur

Select the Smart Layer and go to the Filter menu again and select Blur – Gaussian Blur.

Tweak the radius until its smooth enough without ruining the gradient. Too large radius and the gradient will almost disappear.

You’re done! You can tweak the radius up and down as you see fit, and since it’s a Smart Filter it has done nothing to your actual gradient and background!

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