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Use gradient masks to quickly and professionally crop and mask pictures and objects for stunning web graphics and photo collages.
Use your paint program to create a two color gradient using black and white as you colors. Be sure to set transparency to some low value, and most importantly have your merge option as “inverse multiply”
Use the bucket tool to pull away from the object you are trying to mask.
The longer the strokes the less drastic the gradient, and vice versa - pulling the bucket tool further from the origin will allow you to smooth out your gradient.