Let Me Show Ya Somethin' #1
Updated: Apr 12, 2019
Gradient Lines Tutorial
In this edition of, Let Me Show Ya Somethin’, we're doing a small Photoshop tutorial. I’m going to show you how to make those slick faded gradient lines I've used throughout my site. These little suckers make great content dividers and they also just look pretty cool. If you scope around, chances are, you’ll see some of these in use in a lot of contemporary designs. They seem to be fairly popular. If you’ve ever wondered how to make one, here’s to you.
We’re going to start out with a simple line, using the Line Tool (U).
Right click the shape icon and choose Line Tool (or use the Option Bar, at the top… whatever floats your tugboat).
Set your line’s Weight in the Options Bar and drag your line to the length you need. You can hold SHIFT while you drag, to keep the line perfectly straight. For this tutorial, I’ve given my line a weight of 2 px.
If you haven’t already set it, you can change the color of the line to whatever you want by double-clicking on the colored box in the layer panel.
I’ve made mine red (Hex: d50000).
Here's what we have, so far.
Once that’s all set, let’s move to the meat of the process: the layer mask. With your line shape layer selected, create a layer mask by clicking the Add Layer Mask icon, at the bottom of the layers panel.
You should now see the layer mask thumbnail on your shape layer.
Tip: If you click off or deselect your layer and you can't edit the mask (crossed-out circle symbol), just click on the layer mask thumbnail again, to edit.
Now that you’ve got a layer mask to use, pick the Gradient tool (G) and use the Options Bar to choose the Radial Gradient.
You’ll want to keep the colors set as white to black, which should be default. In a layer mask, black “erases” from the image and white fills it in. So, you’ll want it to go from visible in the middle (white), to faded at the edges (black).
Now, just click and drag to produce a fade to the line you made. The trick here is to center the gradient cursor in the middle of your line and drag from there.
And now we have...
Boom. Nice, right?
To make sure you’ve got it centered properly, you can turn on your viewport Ruler by going to: View > Rulers, or using the hotkey (Ctrl+R). You’ll also want to make sure your Snap is on by going to the same menu: View > Snap, or using the hotkey (Shift+Ctrl+;)
Place your cursor inside the ruler on the left, then click and drag a guide into the middle. If your Snap is on, it will snap the guide in place when you drag over the middle point.
Do the same from the top ruler to create your horizontal guide.
Now, you’ve got a center point to place your gradient cursor. Just drag outward from that middle point.
You might need to play with how far to drag your gradient out before you get it just right. Once you do, it’s ready to output and use!
If you need to, you can crop the canvas size by clicking the Crop tool (C) and cropping it however you need.
Delete or make invisible any other layers you may have, so that you can make use of the alpha channel and make the background transparent. Then, you can output the line as a PNG, since it supports transparency.
There ya go! A slick faded gradient line to use as you see fit.
Layer masks in Photoshop are pretty awesome and something I use quite a bit, myself. There could be more tutorials using them in the future, since they’re a fairly versatile little tool for art and graphic design. Learn 'em! Your Photoshop skills will thank you.
I hope this little tutorial helps someone, somewhere! ‘Til next time!