The gradient tool in any image editing app can be a very powerful tool that you can have many different uses for. It’s great to create backgrounds or sometimes for masks or selections. Today i’ll cover some basics of using the gradient tool in Pixelmator.

You can get to the gradient tool by clicking the G key on your keyboard or the icon in the tools menu that looks like a gradient. Lets start with a blank canvas and walk through the process of creating a gradient. First after you click on the Gradient tool make sure that you have the gradient tool bar open as well which can be accessed with the Command-5 button. This will give you some preset gradients that come with Pixemlator and you can edit these to create your own.

There are many uses for Gradients and in this article i’ll just cover one quick example. Let’s say you have a photo with a drab sky and want to add a punch of blue to the sky area. With the gradient panel open click on the gear icon on the bottom right and choose Add Gradient. Select the Linear gradient type from the main gradient panel and then in the color bar click the box on the bottom left to open a color picker and choose the type of blue you want to use as a starting point for the darkest part of the sky. Next click the box on the bottom right and in this color picker we want it to fade to transparent so just move the opacity to 0. See the image below for an example of how I setup this slider.

gradient tool in pixelmator

You also will want to move the arrow on the top of the color bar to where you want the transition to take place. By default it is in the center and in this example I moved it much closer to the left side to start the fade from blue quicker.

Now all you have to do is drag and drop the gradient into the image where you want it to appear.

pixelmator gradient tool

You can also change the blending type of the gradient at the very top toolbar. Here you will see a blending dropdown that gives you the standard options for blending like Darken, Overlay, Lighten, etc… Unfortunately you can’t change the overlay after you add the gradient so to see the difference you would have to apply an overlay, go back a step to remove it, change the blending option and then add a new gradient. It’s good to try a few of the different blending options out though and make sure you are using the one the right one for that image. Just like anything in post production try a few things out and see how each blending option effects your image differently.

That’s a quick review of the gradient tool in Pixelmator. Look out for many new Pixelmator (and Lightroom, Photoshop of course) tutorials coming up soon!

If you don’t have pixelmator yet it’s a great app at an amazing value. You can pick it up in the App store here for only $14.99.

Pixelmator - Pixelmator Team

Also if you are new to Pixelmator pick up my book on Amazon to learn the fundamentals of the application. You can get it on Amazon for your kindle below for just $9.99 or the paperback version as well.

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