Creative Spotlights with the Radial Gradient
There are all kinds of tools that you can use in creative ways in Photoshop, but one of my recent favorites is the Radial Gradient. It can be used very subtly to direct the viewer’s eye to the exact spot you want them to go in your photo. It is almost like cheating!
The Radial Gradient is kind of hidden in Photoshop. It is buried in the Adjustment Layers in the Gradient Fill dialog. Once you find it, you can unleash some pretty creative effects so take the time to find it and experiment with it.
With the radial gradient, you are not restricted to Landscape or Portrait images. You can use this technique on just about any photograph that has colors and tones… that’s every photo. In this tutorial, I will show you how I use it on both a landscape and a portrait to push and pull the viewer’s eye to certain areas of the photo. In the landscape photo, I use it to brighten up the background to draw your eye away from the foreground. In the portrait, I use it to darken the background and pull you into the foreground.
It is extremely versatile when you use it in harmony with the various tools in Photoshop. I will show you how to change the blend mode (Soft Light and/or Color), how to use it with Blend If, and various Opacities to control the effect. It is not a difficult technique, but it does require some know-how and experimentation. Enjoy!