Gradient Tool: Remove Reflections and Draw Attention

You know what vignetting is, right? Well, this is similar to that but I personally think it looks WAY better than a vignette does.
 
The Gradient Tool is a tool that allows you to create a gradual blend with different colors and it can be used to draw more attention to the car, or any subject for that matter. I’m sure many of you have used the Gradient Tool before but maybe not for this reason.
 
Using the gradient tool is actually pretty easy but really makes a difference in your images if you use it correctly. It can make your images go from your eyes focusing on everything in the image to them focusing on mainly the car. When doing car photography, you want the focus to mainly be on the car itself and not stuff around the car, unless you’re doing some artsy fartsy shit.
 
Okay, let me show you how to can use the gradient tool to draw attention to the car.
 
First, take your image into Photoshop or Lightroom. The one I’m using is completely unedited and straight out of the camera so you can see exactly how much the gradient tool changes your image.
 
original
 

Photoshop

 
Create a new layer by clicking on NEW-LAYER
 
Grab the gradient tool by pressing “G” on your keyboard or by clicking on the icon
 
Gradient-Tool
 
Make one side transparent and the other side black by clicking on the gradient editor on the top toolbar
 
Gradient-Editor
 
Now just create a gradient with the black being away from the car and gradually turning transparent as it’s going towards the car, like so:
 
Full-Gradient
 
Play with the Layer Opacity until you see that it looks right, here I have both set at 50% Opacity and I think that does it for this image.
 
Half-Gradient
 

Lightroom

 
Grab the gradient tool by clicking on this little rectangle
 
Gradient-Lightroom
 
Drag your gradient tool starting somewhere away from the car and then gradually turning transparent towards the car
 
Lightroom-Full
 
Move the exposure slider to the left until you think it looks right
 
Lightroom-Half
 
As you can see, doing this in Lightroom requires less steps and it’s a lot easier. If you have both programs I suggest doing it in Lightroom to save you some time but it can be done in both as I have outlined above.
 
This is also useful on the sky to give it a more dramatic effect. Try it out and see if it works for you.
 

Removing Reflections

 
This tool is sometimes used to get rid of reflections by using a gradient on a certain part of the car. In order for that to be effective and actually look right on the car you have to use two different colors, one lighter and one darker. Let me explain how it’s done.
 
1. Open your image in Photoshop
2. Create a new layer
3. Draw an outline of the part you want to be working on (you can only do one panel at a time) for this one we will be doing the door.
4. Get your Gradient Tool, one of the colors you want to choose that’s closest to the bottom of your selection and the other color you want it to be closest to the top
5. Take the tool and try it out in different directions until you are satisfied with the results (this can take several tries).
 
There you have it, now you know how to use the gradient tool for two things: drawing attention to the car and removing reflections.
 
What do you use the Gradient Tool for?
 

Feature image credit: Randy Rouse

share post: