Flip a Photo to a Negative in Photoshop

There are times when it will be useful to use Photoshop negative filters to flip a photo into its negative colors. This can be useful if you ever scan a negative into your computer, or you just want to create an interesting effect by reversing the colors of a normal photograph. This might not be a technique that you use very often, however, it will be very useful to know.

Converting a photograph to a negative in Photoshop is actually very easy as long as you know a few basic techniques. It's certainly worth taking the time to learn how to convert a photo into a negative in Photoshop. The same technique can be used to turn a film negative into a full color image if you want.

Step 1: Muting the Colors

Before inverting the image, it will be helpful if you mute the tones of some of the colors. The easiest method of doing this will be to create a new adjustment layer so that you can adjust the saturation and color of the photograph. Select a new Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. Now, experiment with these settings so that you can get the best results.

The aim of this is to retain the original colors while making them much more subtle. If your photo contains a lot of blue, then you can desaturate blue and cyan to -100 and desaturate the master color to -35.

Step 2: Merging the Layer Down

Once you have finished with the adjustments and are happy with the finished result, you now need to merge the layer down so that the image is flattened. This can be done by clicking the button inside the layers palette or selecting the flatten layers option from the layers menu.

Step 3: Inverting the Image

Once you have done this, you now need to invert the colors of the image to create a negative looking photo. The easiest way to invert the colors of a photograph is to press Control (CTRL) and I together. This will create a negative looking image, but don't panic if the effect isn't quite perfected yet because there are other things you still need to do.

Step 4: Creating New Levels Adjustment Layer

Now it's time to create another new adjustment levels layer. This can be used to move the gray color so that it's closer to white for a much better effect. The adjustment layer will make it possible to adjust and refine the colors to get the best effect possible.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

The burn tool can be used to darken areas of the picture which were white in the original photo. This can be touched up manually and will make it very easy to manually touch up the photo.

As every photo is different, you will need to adjust and experiment with the different procedures outlined here to get the very best results. The most important thing is to refine the process so that you can make your photo look the best it possibly can. 

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