Pixelmator Tip #53 – How To Create A Color Fade Effect Using Gradient Masks

Ninja Share:

We all know about using Masks, but the lesser know feature here in Pixelmator is gradient masks. Gradient masks can be used to do all sorts of neat graphic design work. In this tutorial, we show you how to create a great color fade effect using gradient masks.

The final image:

Here is what you will be able to create by the end of this tutorial.


So let’s get started.

Step 1:

Create a new canvas – we chose 1280x800px.1

Step 2:

Find a source image and make sure that the colors are really vibrant. We found this awesome picture on Public Domain Archive – one of our free photo resources.

Drag and drop you photo into a new layer, and adjust and align the image as you desire.

At this stage, duplicate the layer. Call the first layer b/w and the second layer color.

Make sure the color layer is above the b/w layer.

Step 3:

Make sure you have selected the b/w layer. At this point you might also want to deselect the color layer in the layers panel to hide it from view.

Open up the effects panel (CMD+3), and then under Color Adjustments, select Black & White. Drag and drop this effect on top of the b/w layer.


Set the Brightness to -40% in the Black & White settings panel.4

The b/w layer now contains our initial image in black and white.

Step 4:

Un-hide the color layer in the layers panel. Next right-click on the color layer in the layers panel and select Add Mask.6

Your layers panel should look like the following:

Click on the mask to make sure it is selected and not the color image.

Next select the gradient tool in the tools menu to open up the gradient panel (CMD+5).

Make a basic linear gradient using white color at one end and black color at the other as shown.

A fun thing to experiment with is the different types of gradients you have and how that changes your gradient mask and your final image.8

Now click and drag the gradient tool from the left part of the girl’s body to the middle of her hand in our image. This will in essence give us that nice color fade effect.

You will need to play around with where you place the start and end points of your gradient until it works for you.9

Once we are happy with the gradient placement, we get that awesome color fade effect.


And once we finally export the image, we can see how impactful this color fade effect can be.


For some more fun, you can play around with the layer blending options and even add more image effects to the color layer to create some amazing images.

We created the following image just by changing the blending option from Normal to Overlay.


We hoped you like this tutorial. Keep an eye out for further tips and tutorials on fun things you can do with gradient masks in Pixelmator.

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