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Adobe Photoshop Family

27 Messages

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1.1K Points

Fri, May 10, 2013 12:05 AM

27

Photoshop: Gradient editor needs a few improvements

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.

Responses

129 Messages

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3.2K Points

7 years ago

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)

1 Message

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50 Points

7 years ago

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.

1 Message

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80 Points

6 years ago

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.

2 Messages

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22 Points

6 years ago

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...

36 Messages

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960 Points

5 years ago

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.

15.1K Messages

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195.8K Points

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

36 Messages

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960 Points

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

36 Messages

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960 Points

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

36 Messages

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960 Points

5 years ago

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?

9 Messages

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386 Points

5 years ago

Forget it Herbert, it's never going to happen. And to be fair, the current code was written 15 years ago so there's probably nobody at Adobe who remembers how it works.

36 Messages

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960 Points

I agree. There have been a number of other legacy issues which are perceived as features by Mr. Cox. At this point I feel they will never be addressed.

1 Message

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80 Points

5 years ago

I have given up on Photoshop. I am using Acorn, which doesn't provide as many customization options, but usually delivers exactly what I want without effort. The two types of gradients it provides, regular and smooth:

9 Messages

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386 Points

5 years ago

BTW I did a quick test with the latest (2015) versions of illustrator and photoshop to double check. I think the reason Illustrator's one seems less bad is that it's doing simple linear interpolation, which is cruder but more predictable - but you'll see that both of them are pretty bad when it comes to smoothness.



Honestly I could live with it if Photoshop just did the illustrator thing, with a simple linear line in RGB space. My issue is that Photoshop's 'cubic' interpolation just clearly doesn't work as specified. Cubic splines do not have sharp corners in them, sorry!

15.1K Messages

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195.8K Points

Change Photoshop's smoothness to zero and you get a linear interpolation.

Yes, cubic splines that interpolate (not approximate) can have corners where they intersect the control points. Your "smooth" gradient doesn't even have the same magenta color you selected in Photoshop or Illustrator.

9 Messages

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386 Points

Like I said, it was a quick test. If you really need further convincing I can make you a version where the color stops are exactly identical, but the point here is that there should not be a discontinuity in the Photoshop gradient no matter what the colors are.

And yes, I *do* have it set to 100% smoothness.

15.1K Messages

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195.8K Points

Again, an interpolating cubic spline can have some corners when it hits the control points.
It looks like your "smooth" test isn't hitting the control points and just approximating them instead (which gets a smoother curve, but not the colors you specified).

9 Messages

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386 Points

Yes, it is technically true that a piecewise cubic spline interpolation with discontinuous derivatives can have corners. Is there some reason why you prefer to use an interpolation with discontinuous derivatives? The only reason I can think of is that you're trying to avoid the curve overshooting the edges of the RGB cube and 'clipping'. But the price is that your gradients are not remotely smooth even when the RGB line goes nowhere near the boundaries.

15.1K Messages

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195.8K Points

We use a very standard interpolating cubic spline. We need to interpolate the color stops, not just approximate them.

9 Messages

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386 Points

5 years ago

For example, here's an simple interpolation that DOES hit the exact same color stops, but has a continuous derivative

36 Messages

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960 Points

5 years ago

In Photoline both linear and cubic interpolation are available for gradient stops. And both look great.

Krita and Gimp offer 5(!) different gradient interpolation methods - and for each gradient segment the interpolation method is independently controllable: linear, curved, sine, sphere increase, and sphere decrease.

I fail to understand why Photoshop's gradients are of such low quality in this day and age, and the only way to control the interpolation is to keep adding more and more stops. There is no need. Mr. Cox mentioned the code behind the gradient interpolation stems from version 5?

Well, about time for an update then. I submit that this thread has conclusively identified an issue with gradient quality in Photoshop, and it is time for Mr. Cox to admit that this ought to be addressed and improved.

9 Messages

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386 Points

5 years ago

Here's the full notebook in case anyone wants to reproduce or tweak

36 Messages

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960 Points

What did you use to visualize the math?

9 Messages

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386 Points

Mathematica

1 Message

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60 Points

a year ago

Why can't it function like Gradient tool in Illustrator? That one is much more user friendly and doesn't need so many steps to get to the same results.

7 Messages

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224 Points

a year ago

Answer: they don’t care.

They got your money and raked in huge profits with the subscription model, with loads of buggy new “features”, but no resolves for long-standing issues. What incentive do they have to fix this? Pfffft.

I mean really, look how long this thread is and how old it is.

1 Message

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60 Points

4 months ago

What a moron chris cox is