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I am creating a background in photoshop with a gradient overlay.

Everything works fine. its just that the background has this rigid look to it where the colors start to blend with the next color..

is there a way to go about making this have a smoother feel?

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This is somewhat dependent on the exact gradient you're using - a visual example would really help. – e100 Sep 15 '11 at 13:16
up vote 5 down vote accepted

It's called banding. The typical solution is to add a bit of noise to the gradient.

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Not sure how you are creating your original gradient, but you could try selecting your image and applying a Gaussian Blur to it. That will often smooth out the effects of banding.

Also, you can try creating you gradient in Illustrator as an object, and the drag it into Photoshop as a smart object. Illustrator seems to have better support for gradients, possibly because it's handling them as vector objects rather than raster objects.

Finally, if none of the above helps, try setting your Photoshop document to 16 bits/channel and start your process over. Then when you are done flatten your image and reduce back down to 8 bits/channel.

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Not sure Gaussian blur actually helps? Surely banding occurs where a 1-bit jump in colour values is discernable, and this can't be smoothed out unless you increase bits/channel. And if you do this, you'll get banding again when you flatten out. – e100 Sep 15 '11 at 14:29

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