Tutorial for Vector Gradient Fills in Photoshop

Written by steven french
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Tutorial for Vector Gradient Fills in Photoshop
You can add a colour gradient fill inside of a shape in Photoshop. (Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Most photos are bitmap-based, meaning they use a grid of pixels to create the image. If this grid is enlarged, the photo loses quality. Vector graphics use mathematical formulas to create different shapes, so the image can be enlarged without losing its quality or clarity. You can create many types of vector shapes in Photoshop that you can then fill with a gradient or pattern. If you later need to resize the shapes, they will retain the same quality and sharpness.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Click one of the shape tools in the toolbar, such as the "Rectangle" or "Ellipse" tools. Click to select the "Shape Layers" button in the "Options" bar if it is not selected. This creates a new layer for each shape.

  2. 2

    Click and drag in the canvas to create a new shape and release the mouse button to draw it onto the canvas. Hold the "Shift" key to make a perfect circle or constrain the angles.

  3. 3

    Click the shape's layer in the "Layers" panel to highlight the layer.

  4. 4

    Click "Layer" in the top toolbar then choose "Layer Style" and "Gradient Overlay."

  5. 5

    Choose the colours, angle and other options in the "Layer Style" options window. The options will be previewed in the canvas. Click "OK" when you are finished.

Tips and warnings

  • You can add other layer styles to your shape, such as drop shadows and pattern overlays, from within the "Layer Style" options window.

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