P: Gradient editor needs a few improvements

27 Votes
LEGEND ,
May 09, 2013 May 09, 2013

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It is almost impossible to use the gradient editor to simulate blending between lights, because it draws a straight line through RGB space. It would be good to be able to select HSL and LAB colour spaces for the gradient editor, and it would be even better if you could make bezier curves through RGB space, like the free tool at http://www.foddy.net/2010/10/gentle-g... is pretty frustrating that there was more flexibility in Deluxe Paint IV's gradient tool 23 years ago than there is in Photoshop's gradient tool now.

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Adobe Employee , Oct 26, 2021 Oct 26, 2021
UPDATE! In today's new release of Photoshop we have enabled multiple gradient interpolation options: Perceptual, the new default method: smoothness controls interpolated using OKlab color space Linear: interpolates using linear color space Classic: interpolates using the selected working space.  Learn more here: https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/using/gradient-interpolation.html  Special thanks to @bennettf96052341 for his gracious feedback 

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LEGEND ,
Jun 08, 2013 Jun 08, 2013

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OK, now you've given us something we can investigate and work on.

As for "advanced" UIs -- they only make sense when the number of users for the advanced UI is large enough to justify the development, testing, and maintenance cost of the advanced UI. So you either need a large number of potential users, or a relatively simple UI design for the advanced controls.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 08, 2013 Jun 08, 2013

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That's why I've kept up the conversation instead of dropping it after your first few posts.
And the "someone" for the investigation and implementation... is me.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 08, 2013 Jun 08, 2013

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I completely agree with Bennett on this, and have had the same issues creating gradients to my liking without adding a 3rd and 4th color stop in both Photoshop and Illustrator. It'd be nice if some more design/art oriented people weighed in on this, as having the defensive developer responsible for acting being the sole person responding is clearly not going anywhere.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 08, 2013 Jun 08, 2013

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Wow, this embarrassing on Adobe's part. From the original suggestion I knew exactly what was being asked for, exactly why the current gradients in photoshop don't work, and exactly what the fix would be.

Chris: you're being a horrible, defensive ass about all this. Please, please take a breather and ask for someone else to review this matter.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 08, 2013 Jun 08, 2013

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Let me make one other suggestion that can be implemented without making big changes to the UI. You could have a checkbox option that allowed you to select between splines and simple quadratic beziers. Quadratic beziers don't allow you to control the tangent - only the position of the control point - so there would be no difference in the rest of the UI.

If you did this, there would be two differences in functionality when you had the checkbox checked:

1) The gradient wouldn't necessarily pass through all the control points in RGB space (this would presumably be a downside for some usage cases). In other words - the curve approaches a control point but doesn't touch it.

2) You would get a much smoother gradient with less banding and clumping (a big upside for some usage cases)

Since both options have their pluses and minuses, it would be nice to offer both, and all you'd be adding to the UI is a checkbox marked 'bezier' or 'smooth'.

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Contributor ,
Jun 08, 2013 Jun 08, 2013

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Here's a 3D plot of the two red-to-cyan gradients.
Chris Cox's in white, Bennett Foddy's in Black. The duller shades are 2d projections.

(I realize perceptual color space isn't a cube, and there are probably profile issues, but this at least lets you see the smoothness of the gradients. There is some banding, of course)

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Contributor ,
Jun 10, 2013 Jun 10, 2013

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Edit: "This topic is no longer open for comments or replies."
First time I've seen that here. There's definitely more room for discussion, such as how the interface can work. I'll respond to Ryan Malm's comment here:
A script could be made that makes a close enough approximation of a "gentle gradient" by using the built in gradient feature with a very large number of stops. I may try to make one.

Original message:
Here's another example with the orange to blue gradient, the Photoshop version has a midpoint with 100% smoothness. (sorry about the small-scale jaggedness)

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New Here ,
Jun 10, 2013 Jun 10, 2013

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no he is not.
Bennett repeatedly has given you a perfect example of the gradient tool's flaw, and you have repeatedly given "not even remotely close" examples of trying to mimic his examples, and been rude about it..
This means either he is correct, and the tool is simply broken, and you should fix it.
or
your all "encompassing knowledge" of all things graphic design and software implementation has been grossly exaggerated by yourself.

Either way? Bennett is correct.
ps: I used to work on the Amiga too Bennett, loved the damn thing.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 10, 2013 Jun 10, 2013

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This is a legitimate issue and a huge problem in Photoshop's gradient editor. As a developer who started his career in graphic design, I'm floored at the horrible response. It was clear from the first question what Bennett Foddy was requesting and the clueless, defensive way Chris Cox dances around the issue is appalling. Thank god there are competitors starting to make inroads into the graphic software space. This nonsense should lose Photoshop customers.

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Explorer ,
Jun 10, 2013 Jun 10, 2013

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Bennett dude. You are on the money here. I have noticed this limitation too with gradients(not to mention it takes 3 UI windows to edit a gradient.) This forum is super frustrating and is pretty much filled with defensive engineers trying to tell us that things work, when they clearly do not have the experience using the tools in practice. They also are not visual. They really aren't interested in listening and understanding what we are asking for.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 10, 2013 Jun 10, 2013

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Many of our engineers (Dev and QE) are photographers, painters, and/or designers. In practice, we have far more experience, and are very visually oriented.

We are listening or we wouldn't be having the conversation and trying to understand what you are asking for (when the original requests are lacking).

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New Here ,
Jun 10, 2013 Jun 10, 2013

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dear chris.
please quit and stop deleting comments that are no less rude than yours and plainly prove you have no clue what youre talking about.
Since we cannot delete your sh*t attitude comments, you shouldn't be able to delete our disdain at your behavour.
a$$hole

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New Here ,
Jun 10, 2013 Jun 10, 2013

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and by quit, i mean this forum and your job. Just so we're clear so that you cannot come back and gripe about how what I'm typing doesn't make sense, and how I'm uneducated and not an adobe tech.
Just because your coworkers can take a photo and use picassa doesn't mean their full time day job of an engineer qualifies them to be all knowing.

This forum is made up of actual professionals and newbs in the respective fields with real life issues to your closed boxed world of code.

Maybe take some advice from the people paying you to have that big fancy job

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LEGEND ,
Jun 10, 2013 Jun 10, 2013

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Chris, your tone is still defensive and (worse!) condescending. You've got a dozen people on this thread who all clearly understand the problem that you continue to argue doesn't exist. You do realize you're operating in a customer service capacity, right? You're not helping.

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New Here ,
Jun 10, 2013 Jun 10, 2013

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actually, please provide me with a link so I can complain about you to your boss, since there does not seem to be a method for that to happen.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 10, 2013 Jun 10, 2013

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I have not been defensive - though the response above could be misread as condescending, I'm just relaying facts that someone seems to have missed.

I have been trying to explain misunderstandings, and get to the bottom of the customer request (which was far from clear in the original request). That has been achieved, and yet other people keep posting things that really are not helping the cause of this feature request.

Please read my posts more carefully.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 10, 2013 Jun 10, 2013

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Plotted this way, you can clearly see the "ugly hard bands" Bennett describes as corners in the plotted gradient path. The only way to get closer to Bennett's result in Photoshop would be to add more color stops, effectively just closer approximating but never quite hitting the smooth curve achieved by Bennett's gradient.

EDIT: Why closed for further discussion? David's posts are showing the existing gradient tools shortcomings in crystal clarity. Throughout this thread you've kept claiming either user ignorance or user miscommunication. Now that time has been taken here to show you EXACTLY what we're talking about, you're going to close the thread? You could at least acknowledge David's graphs with a "Oh, now I get it".

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LEGEND ,
Jul 11, 2014 Jul 11, 2014

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Oooh, I stumbled across this year-old thread by accident.

I'm nowhere near as technical-minded as you guys, but I'm so glad someone is. I never knew why I hated the gradient tool so much.

I almost never use the thing ever, except to try it knowing I'll be disappointed. I always create my gradients by using color-to-transparent gradients on separate layers so I can add colors, eliminate banding, and neutralize undesired tones before merging the result.

But I never could have articulated so helpfully WHY the default sucked - only that it never produced results that were usable.

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LEGEND ,
Mar 31, 2015 Mar 31, 2015

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One word: Affinity, by Serif. I believe you are all barking to the wrong tree, unfortunately... Their software already features superb gradient quality, and they would probably be willing to implement such an outstanding feature, STAT, instead of snubbing their most technically-minded users.

FWIW, I still use CS6 at my day job but have already resorted to Affinity Designer for my background gradient needs (I export them with the desired resolution directly as TIFFs and paste them into Photoshop as needed; not a very elegant workflow, but the end result is *that much better*).

Just my €0,02...

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LEGEND ,
Mar 31, 2015 Mar 31, 2015

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Yep. Bennett is in the right, the devs are in the wrong. In no way are the default Photoshop gradient tool results good enough (not after seeing how much better the alternatives can be, at least), and in no way is all that fiddling and tweaking intuitive or acceptable, not for a +thousand-dollar piece of software (be it on the older CS suite, or the new CC subscription). And I've been working in the field (with Adobe CS, no less) for more than 10 years, so that's just my not-so-humble opinion.

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Mentor ,
Nov 26, 2015 Nov 26, 2015

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I am aware this is an old thread, but today I witnessed the splendour of cubic interpolation between gradient stops in Photoline.

Gradients in Photoshop just do not compare - a far cry from what is possible in terms of quality and ease-of-use when a cubic interpolation option is available.

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LEGEND ,
Nov 26, 2015 Nov 26, 2015

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Photoshop is already using a cubic interpolation for gradients, and has been since Photoshop 5.0.

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Mentor ,
Nov 27, 2015 Nov 27, 2015

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Great! Then why the quality issues with colour stop interpolation? Could this not be improved?
Please see this thread for a comparison with Photoline:
https://forums.adobe.com/thread/2017683

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Mentor ,
Nov 27, 2015 Nov 27, 2015

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I just checked the same gradient in Illustrator: no issues there, nor when I place the illustrator version in Photoshop.

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Mentor ,
Nov 27, 2015 Nov 27, 2015

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No suggestions, Mr. Cox? Will this issue be considered for improvement in an upcoming update?

Only Photoshop's gradient algorithms seem to be problematic in terms of quality. Other applications generate much better quality. Perhaps it is time to modernize that code a bit?

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