10 Replies Latest reply on May 6, 2009 3:27 PM by sfjedi

    Interactive Wineglass Transparency Tool

    sfjedi Level 1

      There's a tool in Corel PHOTO-PAINT called the wineglass tool or interactive wineglass transparency tool, which I use religiously! It's extremely useful for quick and accurate gradient transparency (e.g. radial, linear, etc.).


      The tool allows you to create an interactive transparency gradient on a layer by clicking and dragging the wineglass tool to define where this gradient transparency starts (opaque) and ends (transparent). You can also specify the midpoint (50% opaque).


      In Photoshop, it would be great if this tool were not only implemented, but if it created or modified the layer mask in the process so it doesn't destroy the layer's information. I suppose it might even be better if it were a separate layer effect or something that didn't combine with the layer mask. I'll let your minds consider the best implementation.


      To do the same in Photoshop would take way too many steps in comparison! For example, you could (1) create a layer mask, (2) select the brush tool, (3) increase the brush size, (4) hold down SHIFT for linear contraint and (5) stroke the layer mask. That's a lot of steps! Also, it's not 100% accurate in most cases. That is, I tried it just now and the brush gave it a splotchy look. In PHOTO-PAINT it would go like this: (1) select the wineglass tool, (2) click and drag where it starts and ends and (3) hit enter to apply the effect. I think you can also double-click or right-click >> apply to complete the tool.


      Thanks for listening

        • 1. Re: Interactive Wineglass Transparency Tool
          c.pfaffenbichler Level 8

          I may misunderstand You, but why don’t You use the Gradient Tool in the Layer Mask?

          And if You dislike the gradient being committed in the Alpha Channel You could create an Adjustment Layer-Gradient and Clipping Mask the relevant Layer to that.

          • 2. Re: Interactive Wineglass Transparency Tool
            sfjedi Level 1

            Excellent question! It's hard to explain this tool to someone who's never seen it before, so let me try. Your solution is helpful, but the reason it falls short of this particular feature request is because it's not interactive. The wineglass tool is so cool because after you let go of the mouse button you can see a live preview of the transparency gradient before it's applied. You can then select and drag one of three nodes (opaque starting point, translucent mid-point and transparent end-point) to different positions until it fits your desired result before applying the tool. Also, the point of the tool is that this all can be done extremely fast to achieve great results.


            For example, say you want to create a white highlight on a pill-shape button. I realize there are built-in tools to create effects like this in Photoshop, but this is just a proof of concept that can be used for many different things. The way I would do this particular effect in PHOTO-PAINT is to select the pill shape's layer, CTRL+D to duplicated it, lock the transparency of the new layer, Edit >> Fill to flood it white, resize it a tad smaller than the original pill shape, then I would grab the wineglass tool, click and hold above the pill shape and then drag below the pill shape until the bottom of the new highlight is close to transparent, but still slightly opaque. After letting go of the mouse, if I don't think it's quite right, I can move the end point or whatever. Rarely do I move the mid-point, but I find it handy sometimes.


            The thing I like most is that I can tinker around with it over and over until it's just right. With your technique, if I place the gradient slightly off I have to keep trying over and over until I get it right. It would be very hard to remember exactly where I clicked before.


            Thanks for the tip and thanks for listening!

            • 3. Re: Interactive Wineglass Transparency Tool
              c.pfaffenbichler Level 8

              I think You should look into Vector Masks.

              Because one can use not only an Alpha Channel as a Layer Mask but 

              additionally a path shape as a Vector Mask on an Adjustment Layer-

              Gradient (linear, radial, …) and maintain its editability.

              • 4. Re: Interactive Wineglass Transparency Tool
                sfjedi Level 1

                I realize exactly what you're saying and how vector masks work, but that's not even close to a solution for this particular request. In fact, vector masks create solid clipping with no gradient whatsoever! So they would offer no benefit here. Even if you used a gradient adjustment layer there would then be no reason to put a vector mask over it. At least, not for this purpose. And if the gradient is off? You have to create a completely new gradient until you get it right.


                See, that's why an *interactive* wineglass tool is so powerful. You really don't know what you're missing! The tool is great! I wish I could show it to you.

                • 5. Re: Interactive Wineglass Transparency Tool
                  c.pfaffenbichler Level 8

                  Please allow me to attach a layered tiff-file (»button.tif«) that may help make my point clearer, unfortunately it may take a while to clear.

                  Picture 1.png

                  Maybe this screenshot will help though.

                  Adjustment Layer-Gradients can be edited indefinitely with multiple transparency- and color-points … but possibly I misunderstand what You’re looking for.


                  Edit: Please don’t take this the wrong way, but do You know that one can edit an Adjustment Layer-Gradient by double-clicking it in the Layers-Panel?

                  1 person found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: Interactive Wineglass Transparency Tool
                    sfjedi Level 1

                    I appreciate your screencaps. They are helpful!


                    To answer your question, yes, I do know that one can edit an Adjustment Layer-Gradient by double-clicking it in the Layers-Panel. It's *still* not interactive though! I never take comments like this the wrong way. I just appreciate your help. Dumb it down all you want because I'm still relatively new to Photoshop as you can tell by all my Corel PHOTO-PAINT comments.


                    Check out my screencap this time...

                    • 7. Re: Interactive Wineglass Transparency Tool
                      c.pfaffenbichler Level 8

                      Now I get it … yeah, Photoshop doesn’t display those gradient-handles in the image itself.

                      That would probably be quite useful indeed.

                      • 8. Re: Interactive Wineglass Transparency Tool
                        sfjedi Level 1

                        Now you get what I'm talking about... INTERACTIVE!!!


                        Yes! Screencaps FTW!

                        • 9. Re: Interactive Wineglass Transparency Tool
                          Reynolds (Mark) Level 4

                          There is a new way in CS4 to create interactive transparency. Using redefinable vector shapes. In your masks panel you can now interactively BLUR a vector mask. You can then alter both the shape of the vector mask or the blur values. These masks can be placed on groups of layers as well as single layers.


                          Interactive vector gradients are presently not a feature of photoshop. You can however use Illustrators gradients, and very easily embed them as Smart Objects.

                          • 10. Re: Interactive Wineglass Transparency Tool
                            sfjedi Level 1

                            I see what you mean and I'm not saying it's impossible to achieve the same effect in Photoshop, but the solutions provided are always way more complicated and time consuming than what I propose. And though that might seem like I'm just being lazy or whatever, you have to admit that production workflow is extremely important. Saving even just a couple seconds on a task that you perform frequently can really add up to a time saver that's worthwhile.


                            My request is not to make this particular effect "possible" within Photoshop, but to simply create a new tool through which it can be done more efficiently, in a timely manner.


                            People really don't understand how much of a timesaver this tool can be unless they have used it. I saw another forum where another person had the same frustration as me, not having this exact tool at his fingertips. Why? Because he and I both use the tool ALL THE TIME!


                            It's really THAT useful!