Monday, March 21, 2011

How to Eliminate Gradient Banding in Photoshop CS5



Ever create a large gradient in Photoshop and notice the banding as it transitions from one color to the next? This is a common occurrence when you have a very large area that you're covering like a desktop background or TV frame in 1080p. Since it's so large, the eye begins to detect each step of gradation in single color bands.



By default if you're using the Gradient Tool in a layer or using the Shape Tool and applying a Gradient Overlay Layer Effect, Photoshop will not prevent any gradient banding. There are a few ways to eliminate banding, but the quickest that I've found is by making sure Dither is checked while using the Gradient Tool. Voilà! This will add noise to the gradient, undetectable to the eye, that eliminates the those distinct banding lines.

The obvious drawback to this technique is that it's not easily editable. Once you've created that gradient, it's set in stone. Adobe does not give us the Dither option in the Gradient Overlay Layer Effect. Very unfortunate for when you just want to tweak the gradient by a value or two. The best option may be just saving a Gradient Preset in the Gradient Editor and making changes from there.

Happy dithering.

47 comments:

Sam said...

Thanks - been wondering why this was happening!

Anonymous said...

This doesn't fix anything if the opacity of the gradient is anything lower than 100%... I have mine set to Screen mode at 15% and it looks like crap...

Anonymous said...

I completely agree - Dither doesn't help here...

Anonymous said...

I converted my images to 32 bit, then used the gradient filter to create a darker sky. When I converted back to 8 bit there were no banding issues.Working in 8 bit was causing banding problems in CS5. Try this out so it’s worked very well on 3 files, me likes it!

Ross

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