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How to Use Gradient and Paint Bucket Tool in Photoshop?

  • Last Updated : 24 Jun, 2021

Adobe Photoshop is a raster-based image editing software. It is developed by Adobe.Inc and available for both macOS and Windows operating systems. You can use Photoshop to create or edit images, posters, banners, logos, invitation cards, and various types of graphic designing work. It provides various tools for designing and editing and the paint bucket tool and gradient tool are one of them.

Paint Bucket Tool

The paint bucket tool, as the name suggests is used to paint a selected area or white area with a color or pattern with a similar color or is used to paint an uncolored area with a color or pattern. Actually, we all have used the paint bucket tool in various other applications, like MS Paint and many such others. The tool here has the same basic properties like that of MS Paint with some more added controls and functions. The paint bucket tool can be directly found on the tool palette underneath the brush tool and the icon of the paint bucket tool is: 

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How to use a paint bucket tool?

The following steps show how to use the paint bucket tool in Photoshop:

Step 1: Open Adobe Photoshop and create a new document as shown below:

Step 2: Then select the paint bucket tool from the tool palette.

Step 3:  Now, by default, the foreground and the background colors are black and white respectively. Now let’s choose a color from the color palette (let’s say Blue). If we now click on the document anywhere, the whole canvas gets painted in blue as shown below:

Thus, we can see the basic usage of the paint bucket tool. It can also be used to paint a particular selection or white space. Now, what if the image is something like this as given below:



Now here we want to color the cross with green color. How can we do it using the paint bucket tool?

Simply, we will select the green color and click on the white region and will see this:

So from these examples, we conclude that the function of the paint bucket tool is – It adds color to the selected pixel and all the adjoining pixels around it.

Options of Paint Bucket Tool  

Now, when you click on the paint bucket tool icon we can see an option bar with numerous different options.  

Now, we will discuss all the options one by one in detail:

1. Foreground

This option is selected by default. The purpose of this option is to color the selected area with the current foreground color.



2. Pattern

If this option, the tool fills the pattern in the selected area. When you select this tool, you will also notice that the pattern selection gets activated from where we can select the pattern.

When you click on the pattern section, the pattern library will open with different patterns from where you can select the desired one. Let’s fill a selection with the pattern using Paint Bucket Tool.

Step 1: First create a selection using any of your own desired selection tools.

Step 2: Then choose the paint bucket tool from the tool palette and select pattern.

Step 3: Choose your desired pattern.

Step 4: Apply it to the selection area and you will get a result like this:

3. Mode

This is the blending option that is present in many other colors and brush tools. By default mode is set to normal. There are total 30 blending options available, like Normal, dissolve, behind, clear, darken, Multiply, color burn, linear burn, darker color, Lighten, Screen, Color dodge, linear dodge, lighter color, Overlay, soft light, hard light, vivid light, linear light, Pin light, hard mix, Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, Divide, Hue, Saturation, color, luminosity. So, we can choose our blending modes according to our needs.

4. Opacity 

Opacity tells us how much visible the color or pattern will be made by the paint bucket tool. It has a value in the range of 0-100%. By default, the opacity is set to 100%. If the opacity is set at 0, we cannot see anything.  

5. Tolerance

Let’s understand it with the help of the example:



In the first picture, we have set the tolerance to 30. In the second picture, we have set the tolerance to 90. As you can see, the more the tolerance, the more is the spread of the color is.

6. Anti-Alias 

It creates a smooth selection. If we want a smooth filling of color or pattern in our selection, we should keep the anti-alias checked. By default, anti-alias is checked.

7. Contiguous 

If this option is checked, the more pixels with similar colors will be colored by the paint bucket tool. Therefore, this tool also shows the spread of the color. By default, contiguous is checked.

Gradient Tool 

The gradient tool, as the name suggests, fills the gradient to the selected region or the whole document. Now, what is the meaning of gradient? A gradient is a change of one color to another in a subtle way. Gradient Tool is used in various types of editing. It can also be used to create some great background for some digital portraits and also for various other purposes. With the help of the blending modes, they become more powerful. The gradient tool can be directly found on the tool palette and the icon of the gradient tool is:

Below are given a few gradients:

In the first box, we can see orange color changes to yellow, and, in the second box, we can see violet color changes to orange. These are called color gradients. In Photoshop we can apply gradients to any selection or on the whole document using the gradient tool.

How to use Gradient Tool? 

The following steps show how to use the gradient tool in Photoshop:

Step 1: Open Adobe Photoshop and create a new document as shown below:

Step 2: Select the gradient tool option from the Tool palette. 

Step 3: This is the gradient library as provided by default in Photoshop. From here, choose a particular gradient according to your choice.

Fig2.3 : Gradient Library

Step 4: Now apply it by dragging the cursor over the screen. You will get something like this. Here I have chosen the orange to blue gradient.

Fig 2.4: Applying Gradient

Options of Gradient Tool

Now, when you click on the paint bucket tool icon we can see an option bar with numerous different options.  



Now we will discuss all the options one by one in detail:

1. Gradient library

The first option (i.e the left-most one) is the Gradient library which we have already discussed. This stores both the default and the custom gradient created by the user. To apply a gradient, simply choose it and apply as shown above.

2. Linear Gradient

The linear gradient, shades from the starting point to the ending point in a straight line.

3. Radial Gradient

The radial gradient, shades from the starting point to the ending point in a circular manner.

4. Angular Gradient

The angular gradient, shades in a counter clockwise way from the starting point to the ending point.

5. Reflected Gradient

The reflected gradient applies a mirror to the linear gradient.

6. Diamond Gradient

The diamond gradient, shades from the middle to the outermost point in a diamond shaped manner.

7. Mode

It is the blending option. By default mode is set to normal. There are total 30 blending options available. so you can select according to your requirements.

8. Opacity

It has a value in between the range of 0-100%. It determines the visibility of the gradient on the document.

Let’s understand this with the help of an example:

Below there are two boxes filled with the orange to blue gradient. The left box has an opacity of 45% and the right one has an opacity of 100%. We see the left one is less visible while the right one is completely visible.

9. Reverse



This option reverses the direction of the gradient. By default, it is unchecked.

Let’s understand this with the help of an example:

In the above figure, the left box was filled with the (orange to yellow) gradient with the reverse option unchecked, and the right box was filled with the same gradient but with the reverse option checked. You can see that the direction of the gradient changes in both boxes.

10. Dither

This option adds smoothness to the color transition in the gradient. It is by default kept checked by Photoshop and also recommended to keep it checked. This option removes color banding which occurs in some gradients.




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