A faded picture created using Photoshop.

PHOTOSHOP FEATURES

How to fade a picture in Adobe Photoshop.

Add drama or a vintage effect to your photos with a subtle fade.

Discover all the ways to fade.

There are many ways to fade in Photoshop, but you can use a common set of tools to get the look you want, whether you’re starting with a JPG, PNG, or PSD file

Layers panel superimposed on a faded photo.

Color fades and adjustment layers.

With adjustment layers, you can make color and tonal adjustments nondestructively so your edits won’t change the original image. Fade colors, change hue, adjust photo saturation, and more. 

Opacity setting superimposed on a transparent photo with a colored background.

Opacity and transparency.

The opacity setting in the Layers panel gives you fine control over the background transparency of your image or a layer within your image. Using this feature, you can fade an image into transparency or put a colored background behind your layer for it to fade into. 

Two photos faded into one.

Fading images together.

Using color-ranging gradients and adjusting opacity, you can merge two different images. Fade them into one another equally or make one more pronounced than the other. 

Layers panel superimposed on a picture with fading applied.

Layer masks.

With layer masks, you can target different elements of an image to make them fade into the background, rather than changing or altering the image in its entirety.  

How to fade a photograph.

The simplest way to fade an entire photograph is to use opacity and solid backgrounds.


1. Open it:

Open your photo in Photoshop. In the Layers panel, click the small lock icon to unlock your background layer. You can also duplicate the background to create a new layer.


2. Layer it:

Create a new fill or adjustment layer by clicking the circle icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. Select Solid Color from the drop-down menu. Select a color of your fade in the color picker and click OK.


3. Fade it:

Make sure your image layer is above your adjustment layer in the Layers panel, and then adjust the opacity of your image until it’s faded just the way you want.


4. Adjust it:

Experiment with different colors for your adjustment layer and different levels of opacity to achieve the right effect.


When to use a fade.

While any project might involve a fade effect, here are some examples of common ones you can try.

Layers panel superimposed on a vintage photo.

Vintage photo effects.

Add an artistic fade to a photo to give it an aged or vintage aesthetic that shows your compositions in a new light. 

A photo of goldfish in a fish tank. One of the fish has been faded.

De-emphasis.

If there’s an element or area of your work that is too bold, harsh, or distracting, soften it with a fade.

Layers panel superimposed on a photo with different elements faded together.

Mystery and spookiness.

Fade different elements of your photos to give them a sense of otherworldly mystery, perfect for themed photographs and other fun project ideas.

Layers panel superimposed on a picture of a goldfish created using Gaussian blur.

Blending.

Just like a cross-fade in audio editing, use visual fading effects or Gaussian blur to blend two parts of an image together — or bring another image into the mix.

How to add a transparent gradient or gradual fade.

You can use layer masks and the gradient tool to fade part of an image into a solid background.


1. Open it:

Open your photo in Photoshop. In the Layers panel, click the small lock icon to unlock your background layer.


2. Mask it:

With your image layer selected, click the Add Layer Mask icon to add a layer mask. The mask will show up as a white thumbnail next to the thumbnail of your image — any color added to the layer mask will remove that part of the image.


3. Gradient it:

Select the Gradient tool in the toolbar. Click the gradient in the top menu and select the type of gradient you want in the dialog box.


4. Draw it:

Using the Gradient tool, draw a line across your image mask layer. This will result in a gradual fade across the line you have drawn.


5. Expand it:

You can experiment further with the tool by adding another photo beneath your main image layer to fade two images together, or try changing the colors for color fade effects.


Adobe Photoshop

Do more with Adobe Photoshop.

Go beyond the fade with Photoshop.

Develop your image editing and graphic design skills with these tutorials.

A photo of a snowy mountain with white balance applied.

Learn to balance.

Apply white balance in-camera or after the fact in Photoshop to dramatically improve the quality of your images.

 

Adjust white balance

An image with a Droste effect.

Images within images.

The Droste effect is a way of layering images within themselves to create interesting and surreal spirals. Learn how to do it and pick up several important Photoshop skills.

 

Create the Droste effect

A picture of a snake with inverted colors.

Flip it all around.

Invert colors to learn how to use color correction tools to gain a new perspective on an image.

 

Invert colors

A picture of a person with a Halftone effect applied.

Go halfsies.

Want to go retro with an illustration? Halftone effects give your images a classic 1960s look, and they’re easy to apply with the Pixelate filter.

 

Try halftone effects

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