How to Create a Sunset Effect in Photoshop

Written by filonia lechat
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How to Create a Sunset Effect in Photoshop
Replicate a sunset using Photoshop. (sunset at Sunset Beach image by louloua asgaraly from

If you waited for that perfect sunset moment for your photo but Mother Nature just didn't comply, don't spend another day chasing the sun. Take advantage of the Photoshop graphics software program to help you create a digital sunset in far less time than it takes the Earth to rotate around again. With a couple of clicks, you can tailor your own sunset for a background picture, website design or relaxing desktop background image.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Open Photoshop. Click "File" and select "New." Type "Sunset" into the "Name box" and set your preferred image dimensions. For a full page sunset image, type 11 inches by 8.5 inches into the dimension boxes. Pull down the "Color Mode" menu and select "RGB Color." Pull down the "Background Contents" menu and select "White." Click the "OK" button to open the Photoshop workspace.

  2. 2

    Click the "Gradient" tool, which looks like a rectangle with shades of grey going from dark to light, on the "Tools" palette on the left side of the screen. If you don't see the icon, right-click the icon for the "Paint Bucket." These two tools share the same space and remain in place until they are selected. From the right-click menu, choose "Gradient Tool."

  3. 3

    Pull down the "Gradient" menu at the top of the screen; it is the second option to the left on the toolbar. Review the different gradient preset options offered by Photoshop. Click on your choice, such as the orange-yellow-orange gradient. Notice the gradient drop-down menu changes to reflect the chosen gradient.

  4. 4

    Position the cursor at the top of the "Sunset" box. Draw a straight line to the bottom. The gradient immediately fills in on the screen, with lines and striations like a sunset. Experiment with drawing lines from left to right or top left corner to bottom right corner to view how different the sunset looks.

  5. 5

    Change the colours in the sunset by double-clicking the gradient drop-down to bring up the "Gradient Editor" window. Move the small slider boxes to the left or right to change how the gradient looks. Click a slider box once and press the "Delete" key to remove it. Change the sunset from orange-yellow-orange to just yellow-orange by clicking the first orange slider box and pressing the "Delete" key. Click the "OK" button on the window. Draw another line on the "Sunset" box and the new sunset appears.

  6. 6

    Click the "File" menu, click "Save As" and save the file to your computer.

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