THE SOURCE GRADIENT
A combination of gradient fills and fades provides the beginning for a rippling satin background. You can skip this part if you like and use the gradient images provided in the source folder on the Photoshop 7 Magic CD-ROM.
Make a new file that is 4.5 inches square at 300 ppi.
Choose the Gradient tool and the Yellow, Violet, Orange, Blue preset. Use the Diamond Gradient style and the Normal mode, and then drag diagonally from the lower-right corner of the image to the upper-left.
Enable Rulers (Ctrl+R/Cmd+R). Drag a horizontal guide to the 3-inch mark. Drag a vertical guide to the 1.5-inch mark and another to the 2-inch mark. These guides will help you place the next gradient accurately.
Use the same gradient settings and drag from the top of the 1.5-inch vertical guide to the point where the 2-inch vertical guide intersects the horizontal guide.
Use Edit > Fade Gradient at 40% in Normal mode. Use the View menu to clear the guides.
Continue with the same gradient color preset, but switch to the Radial style. Begin the drag at a point 1 inch from the right edge and 1.5 inches from the top. Drag horizontally to the left edge. Use guides again, or just eyeball it. Constrain your drag to a perfect horizontal with the Shift key. Fade to 40%, using Overlay mode this time.
Choose a Gradient preset from the Pastels Library and drag a gradient in Color mode. The example uses the Brown, Tan, Beige preset with a diagonal drag in Linear style.
Figure 6.5. Choose the Yellow, Violet, Orange, Blue Gradient preset.
Figure 6.6. Drag a diagonal diamond gradient.
Figure 6.7. Drag a second diamond gradient.
The second gradient completely obliterates the first one. You fix it in the next step.
Figure 6.8. Fade the second diamond gradient.
The two gradients blend together. One more fill-and-fade sequence will give us more complexity and smoother blends.
You now have an image with smooth variations in shape and luminosity. There is considerable range in hue and the colors are highly saturated. If you want to work with vibrant color, skip the next step and go directly to the Liquify process. I prefer to restrict the color variation and reduce color purity (saturation) to achieve a more realistic satin effect.
Figure 6.9. Drag and fade a radial gradient.
Another way to reduce color is with Image > Adjustments > Desaturate. You then use Edit > Fade to bring back some subtle color.
Figure 6.10. Simplify or soften color variation.