Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Digital Art -3/4/15: "Going Negative"

The Digital Art meme hosted by Natures Footstep memes   now includes what was formerly the Abstract Photo meme.



 A few months ago I started to experiment with "going negative" ---that is, I took an image, either straight from the camera or one that I had already enhanced, then inverted the colors.

On some images the inverted colors look terrible. On some they look wonderful and then there are some that look OK, but need some adjustments. Sometimes I am surprised at what colors turn up in the inverted image.

I tend to like bold colors, so there are usually some dark colors in my images. Those turn white or almost white when colors are inverted, so sometimes I erase the white in the inverted image to leave the colors from the original image (on a layer below) show through or I select the light colors and replace them with darker ones. I often make additional adjustments as I normally would with any image.

If you want to try this in Photoshop, go to any image. Duplicate the image on a new layer (control +J ---or command +J on a Mac). Use control + I to invert it (or command instead of control on a Mac.)

Below find just a few before & after images I created over the past few months, with one step in-between.

Image 1a: "Silver and Blue"
If you remember this from several months ago,
 I took a photo of the top of a square wooden post
painted blue (notice the tree rings on the left) with some
duct tape on top.  I rearranged and worked with color
to come up with this abstract design.
Image 1b:
After inverting colors, before additional enhancement.
Image 1c: "Brown and Gold"
I upped the clarity and color saturation and made some
areas darker with the burn tool to increase the textures.
Image 2a: "White Hydrangea"
SOOC (Straight Out Of the Camera)
Image 2b: "Hydrangea in Negative"
After inverting colors, there seemed to be too much white,
so I added a blue-violet gradient to the white in the corners,
then upped the clarity and color saturation slightly.
Image 2c: "Hydrangea in Negative, Framed"
I copied the center of the inverted image (above) &
placed it on a new layer, then upped the saturation a bit.
On the layer with the complete image, I used the
cutout filter to simplify it, then added a violet layer in
color mode over that (under the center section layer.)
I selected the center section, expanded the selected area
added a new layer under it and filled it with a blue I took
from the image to create the small outline around it.

Negative colors with a difference:

I started with a photo of columbine flowers. When I inverted it, I didn't like the result. (The green flower bothered me.)

But then, I changed the inverted layer from normal to "difference" mode and WOW!  I loved the result.

After adjusting levels a bit, it was even better.

Image 3a: "Columbines"
Original photo of columbines after
normal enhancement.

Image 3b: Inverted image.
Image 3c: "Columbines in Technicolor"
Inverted image in "difference"
mode and levels adjustments.
I suggest trying this on an image that doesn't have a lot of white or very light colors and very little black or very dark colors. If you can't find something, try adjusting the contrast. Or choose the dark areas and add a lighter color and add a darker shade in the light areas.

Once you have your inverted/difference layer,  you can make additional changes on the layer(s) below it,. When you change the lower layer, the layer in difference mode will adjust accordingly.


Andrea @ From The Sol said...

Very cool and very informative. Another experiment for me to do ... I love it CJ ... My favorite would be the Columbine, but I love the treatment on the Hydrangea. I didn't see your link on NF DAM ... maybe you should resubmit it. Interesting and fun .... thanks, CJ

Andrea @ From The Sol

Anonymous said...

I love the intense colours in the final photo!

NatureFootstep said...

a fien collection of SOOC and negative. Very often I think the negative version has a very nice dreamy feel to them. I like that.

Lmkazmierczak said...

Your results are striking...will have to experiment more with negatives now♪

Su-sieee! Mac said...

Columbines in Technocolor is amazing! Thanks for the instructions. I'm learning so much tonight.
Take 25 to Hollister

Linda said...

Lovely images and informative post.

EG CameraGirl said...

I like playing with inverted images too and it's sometimes VERY surprising to see what you get. It's a great exercise in understanding the colour wheel.