How To 

How To Apply A Gradient Map In Photoshop

Just like how photographers will often slide a filter over a lens to enhance or transform the effects of light, photoshop enables you to achieve something similar through the use of gradient maps. This filter allows you to take the tonal range of an image and the map them to the values of a gradient fill. This is how you work with it.

1. Apply a gradient map adjustment layer.
To begin, select the image’s layer and click the adjustment layer icon (the half-shaded circle at the bottom of the Layers panel). A dropdown menu should open. From there, click “Gradient Map…”

2. Open the gradient editor.
The color scheme of the image should now change to whatever colors were currently selected in your palette. To change this, open the gradient editor by clicking on the gradient map swatch in the “Properties” tab.

3. Adjust the gradient values.
For this example, we’ll keep things simple by adjusting the gradient to mimic the color range of a sunset. To do this, we’ll select the “Start” and “Stop” color boxes underneath the gradient and, using the Color Picker, change them to orange and yellow (respectively). Once we’re done, we’ll hit “OK” in the Gradient Editor window.

4. Set the layer blend mode.
Right now the mask should make the colors in the image shift pretty severely from orange to yellow. To change this, we’ll cycle through the various blend modes by using the blend mode dropdown menu or by holding shift and hitting the “+” and “-“ keys. Once we find the one that accomplishes the effect we’re looking for, we can adjust the intensity of the effect by moving the opacity slider.