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When I use the gradient tool, it affects the layer, and if I am unhappy with its results, I just UNDO and then try again. It is basically a "one shot deal" ... love it or hate it.
However, in this YouTube tutorial (5:25 to 6 min.), the gradient tool in the mask seems to be ADDITIVE, like he keeps adding to what is being masked. https://youtu.be/oZr378NyOKM?list=PLHRSsMUaMQK3CeE_8Ayg36ix01Zgh9teI&t=325
When I try this, after one gradient tool stroke, it completely annihilates any prior masking and creates something from scratch. And the same for each successive gradient tool stroke. So how is he able to make it ADDITIVE? Please help! Thank you!!
The problem as i see it is your settings.
First you need to select the Foreground to Transparent gradient and then you need to check Transparency in the Gradient tool options.
(you have your Edit>Preferences>Workspace set for Enable Narrow Options Bar, so you don't see
the word Transpaency in the Tool Options)
After that you should get the same results as in the video in your intial post.
The Narrow Options Bar
I had the same problem and the foreground to transparent fixed it. Excellent!
Something seems strange, though.
Resetting the Tool should have activated Transparency and @PECourtejoie recommended that pretty early on.