Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Creating an inverted color effect

From: Photoshop Curves Workshop

Video: Creating an inverted color effect

It might surprise you just how complicated an inverted effect for a photographic image can be. Sure there are very simple ways to invert the pixel values within an image, but using curves you can apply considerable control over the process. Let's take a look. I've added a curves adjustment layer and I'm going to start off by choosing a preset that creates an inverted effect. Specifically, the appearance of a color negative. Choosing that preset you can see the effect is quite dramatic. This is approximately what the color negative would have looked like, if I had taken this picture, with film. And of course, I can adjust the individual channels if I'd like to, in order to take the effect a little bit further.

Creating an inverted color effect

It might surprise you just how complicated an inverted effect for a photographic image can be. Sure there are very simple ways to invert the pixel values within an image, but using curves you can apply considerable control over the process. Let's take a look. I've added a curves adjustment layer and I'm going to start off by choosing a preset that creates an inverted effect. Specifically, the appearance of a color negative. Choosing that preset you can see the effect is quite dramatic. This is approximately what the color negative would have looked like, if I had taken this picture, with film. And of course, I can adjust the individual channels if I'd like to, in order to take the effect a little bit further.

Or, to tone it down. In this case, I'm actually going to apply a more simplistic inversion effect. So, I'll reset my curves adjustment. and then drag the black point up to the top left of the curve adjustment, and the white end point down to the bottom right of the curve adjustment. As you can see the effect is similar, but not quite as dramatic. I can continue to fine-tune the shape of the curve, to adjust the final affect for the image. The key is that to create inverted colors, you need to have the curve going downhill from top left to bottom right, rather than the default of from the bottom left to top right.

It can also be interesting to change the blend mode for the curve. For example, what if I were to invert luminocity without inverting the actual colors? I can accomplish that after inverting the image with curves by changing the blend mode for the curve to luminocity. This will cause the image to be inverted in terms of brightness values, but will leave the colors as they were. Of course they don't actually look the same since the tonality is changed but the base colour is the same. If I only want to change the colour without effecting luminosity, I can also choose the colour blend mode.

Here the colours have been inverted but the tonality has not. I think I will go with the Luminosity blend mode in this case becasue I like the effect that it's produced for this particular image. With curves the possibilities are truly limitless. By bending the curve in any number of ways you can achieve a wide variety of creative interpretations for your photographic images. The key is to feel free to experiment.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Curves Workshop
Photoshop Curves Workshop

30 video lessons · 1021 viewers

Tim Grey
Author

 

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Photoshop Curves Workshop.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.