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I`m trying to create a banded gradient with Photoshop, similar to the one pictured on this packaging:

packaging

Can I achieve this with a normal gradient in Photoshop or do I have to create this rectangle by rectangle?

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It's probably easiest to create this by hand, or rectangle by rectangle. One way to somewhat recreate this is by going to Filter > Filter Gallery > Artistic > Cutout and playing with the settings in there. I got this, really quickly:

gradient

It's not the prettiest or most precise, but maybe that is because of the gradient I chose.

Another way is to change the color mode to Indexed (Image > Mode > Indexed Color) and then fiddle with those settings, but this still doesn't produce exactly what you're looking for.

indexed

That's why I think it's probably best to do it by hand. Maybe there is a method I don't know of yet, but these are the two I've seen used for this. Most people want to remove the banding, so it's hard to find resources for creating it.

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  • I am going to suggest a variant of John Manly's method. After creating the gradient, to to Image/Adjustments/Posterize and try different Levels on the slider as you watch the posterization take its effect. – user45605 Sep 28 '15 at 17:34
  • Cut out and posterization can produce similar effects, though I found the posterization didn't work as well with the orange gradient I tried it with. It might produce better results with a different set of colors – Manly Sep 28 '15 at 18:05

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