Invert Adjustment Layer – Photo Editing

February 13, 2014

Last week I wrote a blog post for theStudio on  Invert Adjustment Layers in Photoshop. I focused on using that technique on overlays, and touched briefly on one way to use it to get artsy results with your photographs. I was asked to expand on that technique, with more screen shots. So for those of you who are interested in having fun with your photos, this is for you!

Here is the photo I started with:1

I would like to keep the two people in the photo from being affected by the artistic effects, so I have selected them using the Magic Wand Tool.  Because the figures are so small, the selection doesn’t have to be very accurate.


Once the figures were selected, I hit Control+J to duplicate them.  My layer Panel now shows the original photo, and the layer with the duplicated. I have turned off the visibility of the photograph in the Layers Panel so you can see just the figures.


After making the photograph visible again, I next added an Invert Adjustment Layer right above the Photograph.  (If you aren’t sure where the Invert Adjustment Layer is, please see the original tutorial for screenshots in both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.)


Now the fun starts. Play around with the Blending Modes on the Invert Adjustment layer to get different looks.  Some Modes will definitely look better than others, depending on the type of photograph you start with.

If you would like to add a little more interest and creativity to your artsy photo, add other adjustment layers and just play.  Good ones to try are Levels Adjustments, Photo Filters, Selective Color Adjustments, Posterize, and Color Balance Adjustments.

Here is my original photo with just the Invert Adjustment and a Color Balance Adjustment added.


And here it is with an Invert Adjustment, a Photo Filter, a Color Balance, and a Levels Adjustment:


The image below includes the Layers Panel of the image above, so you can see what the Layers Panel looked like when I was finished.   I increased the Magenta in the Color Balance, but didn’t like how it affected the path.  I put a Mask on the Color Balance (which you can see in the Layers Panel), and brushed away some of the green on the path).    If you are unfamiliar with masks, be sure to visit theStudio’s blog on Saturday, where I will be talking about masks.)


This is a really fun technique to help you create artsy photos that work beautifully with art journaling pages!  I hope this helps those of you who requested more information on this technique!


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