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Sneak Peak: Gradient Node

In the next update for Phoduit, we're introducing the Gradient node. It's a node that fills an entire image with a gradual change between two or more colors. This node is almost always used in conjunction with the Blend node where it can provide a backdrop, mask, or colored overlay.

If you've never worked with a gradient before, the concept is simple. You describe a gradient by setting a series of two or more markers called stops. Each stop is spaced out from one another and assigned a color. Colors are interpolated between each stop. The closer the stops are together, the quicker the colors change.

Gradient stops

The gradient is used to fill an image using some shape. The Gradient node provides two shapes: linear and radial. The linear shape fills the area between two parallel lines defined by two points. The radial shape fills a circle or an ellipse. You can freely move either shape to change the position, angle, or thickness of the gradient.

Linear gradient Radial gradient
Linear Gradient Radial Gradient

We took the gradient concept a couple steps further. One extra addition we've added is the ability to change the color model. Typically, gradients are created by interpolating between the individual red, green, and blue channels. This is straight forward and it's usually what you want. But with some colors, it can produce gradients that have grey bands in the middle.

Example RGB gradients

With the Gradient node, you can change the color interpolation to CIE LCh. This is a color space where, unlike RGB, colors are perceptually uniform. Basically, this means that an incremental change between colors appears consistent to the human eye. Check out the gradients below to see the difference.

RGB compared to CIE LCh

You might have noticed that, while the CIE LCh gradients do not have any grey bands, the hue can vary quite a bit. This is a side effect that occurs when interpolating between two colors with very different hues. Because this effect is not always desired, you should experiment to see which color model works best on a case by case basis.

Another addition that we've added to the Gradient node is the ability to control the curve used to interpolate between colors. Meaning, you can control how quickly one color changes to the next. This allows you to give a gradient more of an appearance of texture or depth.

Gradient given the appearance of texture using curves Gradient given the appearance of texture using curves

And, of course, in order to continue supporting a fully non-destructive workflow, the Gradient node is transform aware. You can apply geometric adjustments to your images and easily make changes to a gradient at any time.

The Gradient node is a very flexible tool that any photographer or digital artist should become familiar with. It will be available in the next update for Phoduit, sometime in May.

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