Creating a Gradient Sunset in Photoshop

In this week’s free Deke’s Techniques episode, Deke illuminates how to create a completely fake, solar eclipse–inspired sunset in Photoshop using a custom gradient.

Before we get started, I just wanted to thank the team at for getting this week’s episodes out in spite of the horrific Thomas Fire threatening the Carpinteria Headquarters building and tragically destroying at least three employee’s homes. Our thoughts are with you guys for rain, clean air, safe accommodations, and a restoration of your piece of mind. Much love from TeamDeke to you.

As you may recall we had set out to Alliance, Nebraska for the event last August with an eye to capturing the totality at Carhenge, a tourist attraction in which old cars were used to make a scale model of Stonehenge. Here is what it looked like the day before.

Carhenge, Nebraska during the day

Of course, we weren’t the only people who thought of that location, and we decided instead to find a quiet space on our new friends’ ranch where the McClelland lads could run free and I could set up a time lapse on the GoPro without risking the jostling of crowds. Here’s a still from that video during totality. (Sam actually stopped running around in order to look at the sky; another natural phenomenon you don’t see very often.)

A GoPro frame during the 2017 solar eclipse in Alliance, Nebraska

But, Deke being Deke, decided to see if he could use the location-scouting shot, combined with a custom gradient to emulate the “sunset effect” of the sky during totality, to completely fake having been at Carhenge at that key moment. (It was 11 AM in the morning, but the horizon has a transition just like it does at sunset!)

Carhenge with a darkened sky and added sunset

If you’re a member of Learning, Deke’s got an exclusive movie this week in which he shows you how he manipulated the colors and lighting of the scene in Camera Raw so that it was ready to embrace it’s faux sunset.

Deke’s Techniques, controlling the very skies above.

Next entry:Celebrating the Winter Solstice with a Solar Eclipse at Carhenge

Previous entry:Drawing a Perfect Snowflake in Illustrator


Share your feedback, work, homages, questions, wisecracks, advice, critiques, riffs, derision (within reason), frustrations, and love of all things graphical. Log in (or register) to lend your voice.