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I want to replicate the functionality of the Graduated Filter found in Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw (similar), using the Gradient Tool in Adobe Photoshop CS6. The Graduated Filter in Lightroom does what I need, yet I would like to store its effects on a Layer, in a psd file. Hence the effort to replicate its functionality in Photoshop CS6.

For this, in Photoshop CS6, I created an empty layer at the top of the layers stack, and draw a Black to Transparent Gradient on it using the Gradient Tool. The objective is to modify Exposure/Contrast/etc for the Gradient only.

To my surprise the Gradient Tool has no functionality for that. So I tried adding an Adjustment Layer above the layer containing the Gradient, and then selected Create Clipping Mask to make the Adjustment Layer only modify the layer containing the Gradient. Unfortunately it does not work. Tried a few other things and nothing seems to work. Thank you for your help, much appreciated.

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Put the gradient in a Layer Mask on either your adjustment layer or even on a group of adjustment layers.

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