Home > Free Tutorials > Coloring > How to Color Tone Using Gradient Maps

How to Color Tone Using Gradient Maps

  • Easy
  • 15
  • Add to

Quickly Color Tone your images using Gradient Maps. Create your own custom gradients or choose from many pre-loaded options!

Share this tutorial

How do Gradient Maps Work?

A Gradient Map matches Light Levels to different colors. It analyzes the Highlights, mid-tones, and Shadows in your image and maps them to different Colors.

The original Colors in a photo will be replaced with the Colors in the Gradient Map.

How to Adjust Gradients

To adjust a gradient map, double-click on the layer thumbnail and then click on the gradient. You can choose from pre-defined gradients or create your own. To edit an existing gradient, click on the color swatches below the gradient, which will bring up another color box. Click on that Color box and use the Color editor to choose a new color. You can also move the color swatches by clicking and dragging them from left to right.

To add a new color swatch, click right below the gradient in the location you would like to add a new Color.

How to Load More Gradient Maps

Photoshop comes pre-loaded with a few gradients. To add more gradients, click on the gear icon in the gradient editor. You can choose to load gradients from your computer or add them from a list at the bottom. Click on the list you would like to add, then choose ‘append’ to add them to the list of available gradients.

In this episode we use ‘Color Harmonies 1’ and ‘Photographic Toning’.

30% Off SALE

Save 30% on all individual purchases & subscriptions now through March 22nd.
Shop the Sale!


How to Master Blending Modes in Photoshop
In this tutorial, we break down all 27 blending modes that Photoshop offers, providing in-depth explanations and practical examples that are bound to help you get your creative work done faster and with impressive results.
Join us as we equip you with everything you need to know about shooting and editing in monochrome.
With over 4 hours of step-by-step instruction, we cover the tools and methodology required to make any color change appear realistic and natural.
While it may seem like magic, the ability to make anything disappear in Photoshop isn’t a trick – it’s a skill that anyone can learn.
Photoshop Compositing
In this tutorial, we cover several tools and techniques that, when combined, will allow you to create perfect masks of anything from the precision curves of designer products to the messy detail of a head of hair.

Watch hundreds of PRO Tutorials and download Lightroom Presets, Photoshop Actions and more.
Learn More


  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    So I’ve watched this tutorial several times, and have been successful before using this technique. All of the sudden lately when I choose gradient map, it immediately defaults to greyscale instead of pulling the colors from the image itself. I cannot for the life of me figure it out and I hope you can help direct me on how to fix it. I’m at a loss. HELP ME ;*(