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The solarization effect for photographic images has been around probably just about as long as photography has existed. I'm not entirely convinced that it was originally created intentionally, it may have very well been an accident. But it does indeed produce an interesting effect nevertheless. In Photoshop, we have a Solarization filter that makes it very easy to achieve this type of effect. Let's take a look at how we can apply that effect. I'll start off by creating a copy of the Background Image layer by dragging the thumbnail. For that Background layer down to the Create New Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel. I'll then go to the Filter menu and then choose Stylize, and then Solarize. Notice that there's no ellipsis after the Solarize item on the menu, and that's an indication that there are no options for this filter. When you choose this filter from the menu, it will simply apply to the image all by itself with no need for input from you.
I'll go ahead and choose that filter and you can see I have the solarization effect applied to the image. In many respects, you can think of this as an inversion of certain tonal values within the image. But the result can sometimes lead to posterization or in opalescence sort of a effect in certain areas of the photo. So, certainly very interesting. We can also use a variety of techniques to tinker with the result here. For example, we could change the Blend mode for the image. Oftentimes, I find the pin light produces an interesting results for the image.
You could also apply variety of different adjustments. So for example, I might add a Curve Adjustments layer. And then perhaps, add a little bit of contrast to the image or even create a more dramatic effect by really exaggerating contrast in the photo. The point is that we can play around with the effect. You might use this effect for just part of the image with a layer mask, for example. You can imagine looking at this photo, for example, that if you had a sky all by itself and you apply a strong solarization effect. Perhaps, with a few adjustments thrown in for good measure.
You could then use a layer mask to blend that very dramatic sky behind a different scene. Whatever you choose to do, starting off with solarization is very, very simple. It's just a one click filter, but I do encourage you to experiment around with different ways to change the effect of that solarization through various blend modes, adjustment layers and other techniques.
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