Backgrounds in Photoshop come in all shapes and sizes, from a simple faded image to a simple gradient; from blended images to repeat patterns, to special effects like the cinematic bokeh effect. Like most features in Photoshop, once the basic tools and workflow is understood, the rest is up to the imagination of the user (which can be a drawback!). We show you a variety of tips and techniques in our Photoshop classes. A simple faded background image is the easiest really. The image is copied in as a separate layer; on the top right of the layer properties is a slider for Opacity – enter a percentage value here and see the background fade. You may need to add a white layer underneath to see it better.
The second option is a simple gradient blend between two (or more) colours – in the screenshot here I used blue and white. Again a new layer should be created, and two colours loaded into the bottom of the Toolbox. Then select the Gradient tool and click and drag across your layer. If you click and drag a small amount you’ll get a small transition between the two colours; if you click and drag right across the page you’ll get a gentler blend. The default is a Linear gradient – see the options in the Control panel at the top of the screen. But try the others too – Radial, Angle, Reflected and Diamond.
For more colour options click on the small gradient swatch on the top left of the screen – this opens the Gradient Editor. You have some Preset gradients at the top,but the most useful part is the gradient slider at the bottom of the dialog box. Here we have stops for colour just below the slider, and stops for opacity immediately above the slider. Click below to add a stop, then click on your Swatches panel to add a colour. Similarly click just above to add an opacity stop, then adjust the transparency percentage. To delete any unwanted stops simply yank it upwards or downwards. There are also midpoint stops for further adjustments in the blend. Hit the New button to save this gradient as a Preset for future use.
The other option in the screenshot is to create a repeat pattern – in this case from our company logo. You open your logo image, then go to the Edit drop-down menu and Define Pattern. You can then create a new layer and go to Edit, Fill, Use: Pattern, and select your new pattern – it will tile according to the relative sizes of logo and page size – you may have to tweak these a little to get the effect you’re after.
Many more tips and techniques can be found at the Adobe website.
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