Find the Missing Gradients, Patterns and Shapes in Photoshop
Photoshop's classic gradients, patterns and shapes from previous versions, and most of the new patterns and shapes, are hidden by default. Here's where to find them in Photoshop 2021!
In this tutorial, I show you where to find and how to load the missing gradients, patterns and shapes in Photoshop! Back in Photoshop 2020, Adobe replaced the classic gradients, patterns and shapes that had been part of Photoshop for years with brand new ones. And it looks like the new ones are now all we have. But the old ones are not gone, they're just hidden. Adobe now calls them legacy gradients, patterns and shapes, and in this tutorial, I'll show you where to find them.
And the legacy ones are not all that's missing. In fact, only a few of Photoshop's new patterns and shapes are available to us by default. Most are hidden, including hundreds of new shapes just waiting to be found. I'll show you where to find them and how to load them so you'll have access to every gradient, pattern and shape that's included with Photoshop!
To follow along, you'll need Photoshop 2020 or later. I'm using Photoshop 2021 and these steps will most likely apply to future versions as well.
Let's get started!
Setting up Photoshop
To load more gradients, patterns or shapes into Photoshop, you don't need to have an image or a document open. But you do need to be in Photoshop's main interface rather than on the Home Screen.
If you have opened Photoshop without opening an image, or you have closed your document and have no other documents open, you'll be taken to the Home Screen as we see here:
To switch from the Home Screen to the main interface, click the Photoshop icon in the top left corner:
And now we're in the main workspace with the panels along the right. We'll need some of these panels to load our gradients, patterns and shapes:
How to load Photoshop's missing gradients
Let's start by loading Photoshop's missing gradients. All of the new gradients that were added back in Photoshop 2020 are available to us by default. But the classic or
legacy gradients from previous versions are hidden. So here's how to load them.
Step 1: Open the Gradients panel
First, open the Gradients panel. You'll find it in the same panel group as the Color, Swatches and Patterns panels:
If you are not seeing the Gradients panel, you can open it by going up to the Window menu in the Menu Bar and choosing Gradients. But if a checkmark appears next to its name, it means that the panel is already open and selecting it from the menu will close it:
Photoshop's default gradients
In the Gradients panel, the gradients are divided into groups based on theme (Basics, Blues, Purples, and so on). And all of these groups are new as of Photoshop 2020.
You can scroll through the groups using the scroll bar along the right of the panel:
Or you can resize the panel to make it longer and view more groups at once:
How to open a group
To open a group and view the gradients inside it, click the arrow next to its folder icon:
How to resize the thumbnails
You can resize the gradient thumbnails by clicking the Gradients panel menu icon in the top right corner:
And choosing Small or Large Thumbnail from the list:
How to close a group
To close the group, click again on the same arrow beside the folder:
Tip! How to open and close all groups at once
Before we look at how to load more gradients, here's a quick tip. If you press and hold the Ctrl (Win) / Command (Mac) key on your keyboard and open a group, you'll open every group at once. You can then scroll through the thumbnails to view the gradients. Hold Ctrl (Win) / Command (Mac) again while closing a group to close them all at once.
This trick works not only in the Gradients panel but also in the Patterns and Shapes panels which we'll look at in a moment:
Step 2: Click the Gradients panel menu icon
All of the gradients we've seen so far are new as of Photoshop 2020. What's missing are the legacy gradients from earlier versions. To load them, click the Gradients panel menu icon:
Step 3: Choose
Then from the menu, choose Legacy Gradients:
Step 4: Open the Legacy Gradients group
A new Legacy Gradients group appears below the others:
Step 5: Choose a legacy gradient
Open the group, and inside are all of Photoshop's gradients from the past. The first group at the top holds the default gradients from earlier versions. And the other groups below it are different gradient sets that you could load in separately:
How to view all legacy gradients at once
Using the trick we learned earlier, if you press and hold the Ctrl (Win) / Command (Mac) key on your keyboard while opening one of these legacy groups, you'll open all of them at once. You can then scroll through the thumbnails to quickly see what's available wihout needing to open each group individually:
And that's how to load the missing gradients in Photoshop!
How to load Photoshop's missing patterns
Next, we'll learn how to load the missing patterns. Unlike the Gradients panel where the only gradients missing are from older Photoshop versions, the Patterns panel is missing the legacy patterns plus most of the new patterns from Photoshop 2020. So here's how to load them.
Step 1: Open the Patterns panel
Open the Patterns panel which is located beside the Gradients panel:
If you're not seeing it, go up to the Window menu and choose Patterns:
Photoshop's default patterns
Just like with gradients, patterns are divided into groups based on theme. Only three groups are listed by default (Trees, Grass and Water) but all three are new as of Photoshop 2020:
Click the arrow next to a folder to open the group and view the patterns inside it:
You can change the thumbnail size by clicking the menu icon:
And choosing a new size. I'll switch from Large Thumbnail to Small:
And to close a group, click again on the arrow:
Step 2: Click the Patterns panel menu icon
To load more new patterns from Photoshop 2020, plus all of the older patterns from earlier versions, click the Patterns panel menu icon:
Step 3: Choose
Legacy Patterns and More
And choose Legacy Patterns and More:
Legacy Patterns and More.
Step 4: Open the Legacy Patterns and More group
Then twirl open the new Legacy Patterns and More folder:
Step 5: Choose a new or legacy gradient
And inside are two more folders, one for 2019 Patterns and one for Legacy Patterns:
The 2019 patterns
2019 Patterns holds five more groups first added in Photoshop 2020 (which sounds confusing, but Photoshop 2020 was actually released in 2019):
The legacy patterns
And Legacy Patterns holds all of the classic pattern sets from earlier Photoshop versions:
Again, you can press and hold the Ctrl (Win) / Command (Mac) key on your keyboard while opening a pattern group to open all of them at once:
And that's how to load the missing patterns in Photoshop!
How to load Photoshop's missing shapes
We'll finish off this tutorial by learning how to load the missing shapes, and there are lots of shapes missing. To load them, we need the Shapes panel.
Step 1: Open the Shapes panel
Unlike the Gradients and Patterns panels, the Shapes panel is not part of Photoshop's default workspace. So to open it, go up to the Window menu and choose Shapes:
The Shapes panel opens in the secondary panel column to the left of Photoshop's main panels. You can show and hide the panel by clicking its icon:
Photoshop's default shapes
By default, only four shape groups (Leaf Trees, Wild Animals, Boats, and Flowers) are listed, all new from Photoshop 2020:
Again if we twirl a group open, we see the shapes inside it:
And if you click the panel's menu icon:
You can change the thumbnail size:
Step 2: Click the Shapes panel menu icon
But Photoshop actually includes hundreds of new shapes from 2020, plus all of the classic shapes from earlier versions. To load them, click the Shapes panel menu icon:
Step 3: Choose
Legacy Shapes and More
And choose Legacy Shapes and More:
Legacy Shapes and More.
Step 4: Open the Legacy Shapes and More group
Twirl open the new Legacy Shapes and More folder:
Step 5: Choose a new or legacy shape
And inside are two more folders, 2019 Shapes and All Legacy Default Shapes:
Unlike the 2019 Patterns folder which included only a few more groups from Photoshop 2020, the 2019 Shapes folder holds 30 more groups with hundreds more shapes in total. You'll find shapes of people, animals, vehicles, games, dinosaurs and more:
All Legacy Default Shapes
And the All Legacy Default Shapes folder holds all of the shapes from previous Photoshop versions:
Where to go next!
And there we have it! That's how to load the missing gradients, patterns and shapes in Photoshop! If you use Photoshop's brushes, you'll also want to learn how to load Photoshop's missing brushes and how to download over 1000 new brushes!