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Who Was That Gradient Mask, Man?

November 2, 2010

As mentioned in a prior post, I recently designed a new header for my blog. I began by copying parts of 6 different illustrations and pasting them into a new Photoshop document on separate layers. I reduced the opacity of each layer so I could see all six images at oncewordpress blog header constructed in photoshop with multiple layers less than 100% opacity

To make an image show thru the layer immediately above it and then fade out, I created
a mask on the upper layer and then drew a line across it using the Gradient tool. Click here to see a short tutorial on how to achieve this very simple effect.

Below, you can see the baseball equipment is now visible below the paintbrushes. However, due to the nature of gradients, the baseball equipment starts to fade a little too soon (becoming opaque) on the left. I wanted to clear up that left-hand edge so all
the baseball equipment to the right of the paintbrushes would be clearly visible.

To do this, I applied a Quick Mask (green area below) to the paintbrushes image, in order to protect a specific part of it: blog header construction using quick mask to shield pixels from erasure

When I exited Quick Mask mode, the green area (above) became a selection. I inverted this selection and used the Eraser tool (set at 0% Hardness) to erase the rightmost portion of the paintbrushes image, which allowed the leftmost portion of
the baseball equipment image to show thru and become more fully visible: blog header see-through effect achieved using gradient mask and quick mask

I used the same simple trick (applying a gradient to a layer mask) to allow all the other images to “show thru” the layer above them:blog header construction showing result achieved by gradient masks on multiple layers in photoshop

I realized I had room for an additional image to the left of Glasses Man. I thought I might still be able to use the question marks and exclamation points, so I copied them and pasted them onto a separate header construction with extra image inserted on new layer and made visible using gradient mask

I decided a few question marks were plenty, so I rotated them into position and deleted the rest:blog header construction showing modification to images on multiple layers

The final step was applying white text to the black bomb. I’ve learned that trying to use the Warp tool to finesse an entire block of text into position is usually a mistake– it’s too hard to control.

Here, I typed the three words onto three separate layers, then rasterized each layer and warped each word into position, one at a time. In some cases, it may be necessary
to select only certain letters and manipulate them separately.using photoshop warp tool after rasterizing text and placing text images on separate layers

Here’s the final result, and you can see the “real thing” at the top of this blog:blog header final after completing construction in photoshop

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