Adding a graduated filter is a good way to enhance a bland sky to make your landscape photograph look more appealing.
A graduated filter effect is easy to add using your image editing program and if you add the filter digitally, rather than when the picture is taken, you have the option of not only keeping the original, but also being able to use different colours and opacities to creat a wide range of possibilities.
Here's how to add one using Corel Paint Shop Pro X3
- Software used: Corel Paint Shop Pro X3
- Time taken: 15 minutes
Step 1: Create a new layer
Open you original photo and create a new layer: Layers>New Raster layer. You can rename this Gradient. This is where we will add our gradient of colour.
Step 2: Change from Solid to Gradient fill
Click the solid black circle underneath the foreground colour in the Materials palette and select the gradient icon from the drop down. It's the second one down. The
foreground colour will now change to a gradient.
Step 3:Create a custom gradient
Double click on the foreground colour in the Materials palette to open the Material Properties palette. The gradient tab and options should be automatically selected.
In this window press the Edit button (underneath the gradient preview) to open the Gradient Editor. It's here where you can edit existing gradients or create new ones.
Choose Corel_06_001 in the Types list, click Save As and rename it Blue to Transparent or anything that describes your filter so you can easily find it again in the future.
Step 4: Choose the gradient colour
Now you will see the renamed gradient is selected on the Types list and you have two sliding marker controls below to adjust the gradient and its transparency. The top markers adjust the colour of your gradient.
Click in the Custom colour swatch that's currently black and choose a suitable blue colour from the pop up colour wheel. This colour will be assigned to the left hand marker to replace black when you click OK.
Step 5: Set the gradient transparency
Now click on the right hand Transparency marker and set the Opacity to 0%. You will see the right hand of the scale below now goes from the blue you selected earlier to a checkered pattern that indicates transparency. Now we need to adjust the position of the right hand marker.
This is where the gradient kicks in. As our skyline is in the top third I've set it to 30%. You can come back and edit this for different height horizons or for various fade effects later.
Now adjust the small diamond indicator above the transparency scale so that it's set to about 50% position to give an even gradient effect.
Close the edit window and in the Material Properties window make sure that the Angle is at 180 so the blue is at the top of the gradient preview and a Linear Gradient is selected. The screengrab above shows how these should be set. Click OK.
Step 6:Add a gradient fill
Select the Flood Fill tool (shortcut key F) and with the Gradient layer still selected, click on the photo to add the flood fill gradient.
Step 7:Change layer opacity and blend mode
You may now want to change the Opacity or Layer Mode for the Gradient layer until you find one that changes the colour, but doesn’t overpower the original image. Good ones to try are multiply and darken which both make the colour stronger or burn to strengthen the colour while enhancing some more of the background image detail. What mode you set depends on your picture . You will need to play around with the layer’s opacity setting for more control over your image, just try a few combinations out and see if you find any you like.
You can go back and edit your gradient and fine-tune its appearance on your photo just use ctrl + Z to undo the fill and refill when you've made adjustments to the gradient filter.
Try changing the colour to recreate one of the many optical graduated filters, such as sunset orange, sepia, green or tobacco.
You've read the article, now go take some fantastic images. You can then upload the pictures, plus any advice and suggestions you have into the dedicated Photo Month forum for everyone at ePHOTOzine to enjoy.