Is it possible to start a gradient (in a layer mask) from, for example, a bent shape. So that the "fade" itself will not be straight but rather a bit curved.

I hope the question is understandable, English is not my native language, especially not Photoshop English.

  • Which is why I prefer english language in all of my programs.
    – Joonas
    Sep 20, 2011 at 6:22
  • Stupid comment, but FYI I do use english in as many of the applications I run as possible. I just don't understand all of the terms and words used. :)
    – gburning
    Sep 26, 2011 at 23:18
  • 1
    You are allowed to have that opinion. But, since majority of the tutorials for programs such as photoshop are written in english and youre most likely going to get your answers in english, it makes sense to use english versions of programs. And if you do that and someone says for example Move tool you should be able to connect that quite easily even if you dont know which tool it is.. but if youd have to connect tools or other things to your native language.. it would be alot harder to find that connection. Therefore thats why I prefer english language in all of my programs.
    – Joonas
    Sep 26, 2011 at 23:37
  • I completely agree with you, I simply thought your comment might sound slightly condescendant towards "other languages".
    – gburning
    Sep 26, 2011 at 23:46
  • I do not, at all, want to discuss this in another language. I simply don't always think it's very easy to explain myself in english when it comes to such technical terms as this question relates to.
    – gburning
    Sep 26, 2011 at 23:49

2 Answers 2


This isn't precisely what you're looking for (I'm not sure it's possible in Photoshop; perhaps in Illustrator where you have more control over shapes and paths).

Try playing around with the "inner glow" layer effect. I don't have enough of a rating to post pics here yet, so I'll try to describe it. This is an example of a freehand shape - you can use any shape you wish.

  1. Create a new layer.
  2. Using the Lasso, draw a freehand shape (make it nice and big to see this effect).
  3. Fill the shape with any color (it doesn't matter which color - the Layer Effect needs it to be filled).
  4. Press CTRL-D to deselect your shape.
  5. From the Layer menu, select Layer -> Layer Style -> Inner Glow.
  6. Change the Blend Mode from Screen to Normal, and the Opacity to 100 (to hide the original color).
  7. For the purposes of illustrating this technique, click on the gradient shown to choose any two-color gradient.
  8. Now, the first setting to change is to increase the Size. You'll see the effect immediately as you do this.
  9. To change the effect, try playing with the Technique (Softer or Precise) while twiddling with the Size and Choke.

Does that do sort-of what you want?

  • That's a neat solution. Problem is I don't know if it works that well for what I'm trying to do.
    – gburning
    Sep 26, 2011 at 23:21
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    You did, however, help me find a solution that actually works for me! :)
    – gburning
    Sep 26, 2011 at 23:35

This doesn't fully apply to my original question but it helped me solve the situation that the question arised from. Also, I might add pictures when I have time to make it easier to understand.

The problem: What I originally wanted to do was to take an image and make it "fade" out into transparency. That is easy enough to do when working with the gradient tool and layer masks. You simply draw a black and white color gradient inside the layer mask.

The problem here, however, was that, using the linear gradient tool, I could not control the way the gradient would "progress", it would always end up cutting things off in a straight line, something that I thought made the resulting image look a bit wierd.

So I wanted to "curve" the gradient, to make it look nice and smooth.

However, this was not possible with the gradient tool. Which leads me to my solution.

The solution: Reading Rob's answer I realized that I could probably achieve the desired effect by simply using the lasso to make my "path" (the way I want the gradient to be shaped), then refine the edge to give it a nice feather and ultimately delete that selection from the layer mask. I realized that this would do pretty much exactly what I wanted.

So that's about it. It turned out to be alot easier than I'd thought.

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