What's the most accurate technique for re-creating a gradient in Photoshop from a bitmap image like a screenshot?

So far I've been using the dropper tool to pick out colors and manually set color stops but it seems like there must be a more accurate way of setting the position and the number of color stops using an existing bitmap as the source.

  • That's the only way I know, but you can augment it with the Color Sampler Tool, which will let you sample several points at once while you're editing. (The Color Sampler Tool is only available in Photoshop Extended.) – Marc Edwards Jul 11 '12 at 10:29
  • @Marc - they took it out of the standard version? When? – e100 Jul 11 '12 at 11:27
  • One thing I'd do is create the new gradient on a new layer overlapping the old one, so you can check how they compare in real-time. – e100 Jul 11 '12 at 11:28
  • thanks for that nugget Marc, I'm gonna try the color sampler tool and see if that does the trick! – berg Jul 11 '12 at 16:42

This can depend highly on the type of gradient. If it is a linear gradient I would measure the first and last pixel and compare side by side. Then you have to look into if it is a dithered gradient. If it is more than two colors you'd have to find the "pure" 3rd color and it's position. The goal is to stay away from calculated colors.

By hand, with side by side comparison and spending a bit of time is probably the most accurate you can get without the source files.

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  • is there anyway to accurately place the color stops so they are perfectly aligned with the original? – berg Jul 19 '12 at 4:00
  • Yes there is. Just add a new stop to the gradient and then enter a percentage value. – KMSTR Jul 19 '12 at 6:51
  • hmm... wish it was pixel based instead of percent based – berg Jul 19 '12 at 15:20
  • well, that would only work nicely with screen graphics and not print graphics. so percentages is the common ground. You can do the math ;) – KMSTR Jul 19 '12 at 15:38

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