In this beginner level tutorial I explain how the gradient maps works and what’s difference between this adjustment and other common adjustment layers like Hue/Saturation or Color Balance.
A gradient map as it’s name indicates, it’s an adjustment that “remaps” the colors of an image. In other words, it takes the brightness values of an image and it assigns a new color to it based on where that brightness value is on the histogram.
To put it simple, if you have an image which is black and white, and you have a gradient map that goes from yellow to blue, than your black and white image will be turned into yellow and blue. All highlights will be changes to yellow and all shadows will be changed to blue (or vice versa depending on how you set your gradient map) and the midtones will get a mix of both yellow and orange.
That’s how gradient maps remap colors of an image. For more details take a look at the video demonstration below.