I have the following image that I'd like to apply a gradient map to:

enter image description here

I would like the below gradient applied (note that the gradient maps to transparent). The problem is that rather than the gradient being applied, the whole image turns dark purple:

enter image description here

I'd like it to look like this (below) but rather than mapping to white, I'd like the white to essentially be replaced with transparent (if that's understandable):

enter image description here

From reading old forum posts on other websites, I'm getting that the gradient map tool might not support this functionality. Though if there is some way to achieve this on a transparent background via some other means, could someone provide a walkthrough? (I'm no PS expert)

  • Gradient doesn't do what you're looking for. It'll largely depend on what the background is that you intend to put under it. Generally speaking the Blending Mode Multiply is how to do this but again that depends on what you're actually putting under it as you might have to really remove the white which is much more complicated.
    – Ryan
    Aug 4, 2015 at 17:49
  • 2
    I think the effect you want can be achieved by making a mask for the layer based on a b&w version of itself.
    – Vincent
    Aug 4, 2015 at 17:51
  • 1
    If you map white to transparent, you'd have holes all through the mountains and the sheen on the water.
    – Scott
    Aug 4, 2015 at 18:53

1 Answer 1


Here's how I would achieve that effect:
1) Create a BW Effects layer, and select the mode that gives the most pleasing effect.
2) Edit>Copy Merged, then paste that into a new alpha channel
3) Invert the alpha channel
4) Delete or disable the bw effects layer
5) Select the active pixels (Control key (PC) or the Command key (Mac) while you single click on the alpha channel in the channels panel)
6) Create a new solid color layer using the purple you used above

The active selection of the alpha channel will automatically be applied as a transparency mask. That SHOULD do it. Good luck.

  • This is pretty close to the method I use to achieve this result, I don't know of any other way.
    – wing-it
    Aug 4, 2015 at 18:13

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