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Replicate ND grad filter using Adobe Photoshop

This is a tutorial I’ve made to contribute to the amazing WordPress community. And yes i mean amazing. Over the past few days my blog/portfolio has grown vastly, and that’s only because of you guys so thanks a lot!

Lets move on. In this tutorial i will be showing you how to replicate a Graduated neutral density filter using Adobe Photoshop. Keep in mind that the effect will not be as good as when you would use a real ND grad filter. But this is a great way for people starting out with photography, like myself.

First you’ll need to open up your image. I have one i was messing around with earlier:

Starting image

OK next you will want to grab the selection tool, and highlight your sky as shown:

selecting your skyNow’s the effect part. Create a new layer without deselecting your sky then click on the gradient tool. Make sure your tool is from black to transparent (like in the image below) Then hold shift and click ‘n’ drag from the top of your sky, to the bottom half. Like so:

effect It looks a little weird right now so change the layer to overlay and increase/decrease the opacity. Don’t over do it:adjustments

Wow, i say don’t over do it and i put it to 98%! But it looks great were it is. We still have one problem though, and that is that we have a strong vignette on our picture. We can remove that in these simple steps:

1. Deselect our sky (ctrl + d on windows and cmd + d on mac)

2.Highlight the two layers we have by holding shift and clicking on both of them in the “layers” tab. Then right click the layers highlighted in the “layers” tab and click “merge layers”

3. Next click filter, then lens correction . Now select the “custom” tab and adjust vignette. You can see that by dragging the vignette slider to the right the vignette will slowly start to disappear. Don’t over do it! i mean it this time because otherwise you will get a horrible white vignette around your photo. You should get a finished picture like so:

Replicate Grad ND

This is our results and i think they turned out great although they aren’t as good as a ND grad:

As you can see the sky is more washed out to begin with , and then bought back using this very simple and effective replica of a ND Grad filter

As you can see the sky is more washed out to begin with , and then bought back using this very simple and effective replica of a ND Grad filter

  Thanks! Please be sure to rate and comment 😀 i would love to hear your thoughts and maybe results if you tried this out.


6 responses

  1. Great post!

    January 23, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    • Thanks a lot! i actually thought no one would look at this. you’ve made my day 😀

      January 23, 2013 at 7:58 pm

      • Humans are pretty unpredictable. I thought it was a very enlighten post.

        January 23, 2013 at 8:30 pm

      • Thanks 😀

        January 23, 2013 at 8:31 pm

  2. I’m a beginner and trying to avoid learning Photoshop but I see I have to just so some of my photos aren’t wasted. Thanks for this. Found you over at Bopbie’s.


    February 12, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    • Thanks a lot for checking out my work 😀 Photoshop is a great tool for all photographers and its not actually that much you have to learn. I also suggest Adobe Lightroom which will allow you to mess around with your photos to achieve some amazing results, and the best thing about it is that it doesn’t change your original file – salim

      February 12, 2013 at 7:05 pm

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