How to Fill a Shape Gradient in Photoshop Elements

Written by darrin koltow
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A shape filled with a colour gradient lets you easily make 3-D buttons for Web pages and software applications. The 3-D effect results from the gradual colour changes of the gradient. These colour changes often closely match the gradual colour changes seen on physical objects with round shapes. You can fill a shape with a gradient in Photoshop Elements by creating the shape, making it editable by running the "Simplify" command and then running the Gradient Fill tool on the shape.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Click the "File" menu's "New" command, then click "OK" to accept the default options for a new drawing canvas.

  2. 2

    Click the small down arrow on the icon with the blue rectangle in the Tool palette. A gallery appears, displaying different shapes you can insert on your canvas. Click the shape you want to fill with a gradient.

  3. 3

    Drag on the canvas to draw the shape you chose, then release the mouse to finish the shape. Right-click the Shape item in the Layers window, then click "Simplify" to prepare the shape for a gradient fill.

  4. 4

    Click the upper colour swatch at the bottom of the Tool palette, then click a foreground colour you like from the palette that appears. Click the lower colour swatch and select a background colour. The gradient fill fades gradually from the foreground colour you just chose to the background colour.

  5. 5

    Click the magic wand icon from the Tool palette to run the Magic Wand selection tool, which selects shapes by their colour. Click the shape to select it, then click the rectangle with colour gradations on the Tool palette. This action runs the Gradient Fill tool.

  6. 6

    Click the leftmost drop-down control above the canvas, then click the leftmost icon from the gallery that appears. This action selects the "Foreground to Background" fill option.

  7. 7

    Click the mouse just outside any part of the shape's perimeter. For example, if your shape is a rectangle, you can click the mouse just above that shape's top, right, left or bottom edge.

  8. 8

    Drag the mouse to the opposite end of the shape, just outside the shape's perimeter. Release the mouse to make Elements fill the shape with a colour that changes from the foreground colour to the background colour you chose in step 4.

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