How to Invert Colors in Photoshop Under 3 Seconds

How to Invert Colors in Photoshop

Photographers in the film era used negatives a lot, and even though it's the age of digital cameras today, making some negatives in Photoshop can still yield amazing results.

Color inversion is what makes black text on a white screen to be white text on a black screen. It also applies to different colors, as green turns purple and orange to blue. In images, the major objects are the ones mainly affected by inverted colors. However, the background also changes. Hence, you need to ensure you make the object the main target in your editing. You can use Photoshop to change your pictures to look like avatars and bring a film-like feeling with inverted colors.

What are Inverted Colors?


Let’s compare an original image with its color inverted image.

Invert colors help make hidden details stand out. As can be seen from the histogram, they are symmetric, indicating that they complement each other in color. In Photoshop, RGB Color Blend Mode is used to display the colors; we will randomly select an original color (100, 35, 200). If we reverse the color, we will get a color value (155, 229, 55). The new color is added to each of the values of the original color to 255. This is an inverted color.

invert colors

Here are some methods you can use to invert colors in Photoshop.

1. Hotkey Shortcut to invert colors

Step 1: Open the image that needs to be inverted in Photoshop.

Open the image

Step 2: I recommend that you copy one layer. In fact, for any photo manipulation, it is a good practice to copy one layer or duplicate it to protect the original image.

duplicate layer

duplicate to original

Step 3: Use the shortcut key Ctrl + I and click OK. The inversion is complete.

inversion to original

2. Photoshop Menu Bar to invert colors

Step 1: Open your Photoshop software. Choose the image you want to edit. Duplicate the image and work on it. Leave the original image.

Photoshop Menu Bar Duplicate the image

Step 2: On the top menu bar, click on Image > Adjustments. Click on Invert. It will invert the colors in the image.

Adjustments invert option

Invert with menu bar

Step 3: Save the image.

save image with menu bar

3. Curve to invert colors

You can invert colors to create a “negative” image. You can use the curve property in Photoshop to invert colors.

Step 1: Open your Photoshop software, open the image and duplicate it.

duplicate image

Step 2: Create a curve adjustment layer by clicking on the menu bar, Image > Adjustments > Curves.

curve adjustment layer

curve menu bar

Step 3: We can see that the curve goes from the bottom left corner to the top right corner. Now we need to reverse it to run from the bottom right corner to the top left corner. Do this by dragging the bottom left corner to the top left corner and the top right corner to the top left corner. Click OK. You will get the same results as the two methods above.

reverse the curve


What Can I Do with Invert Colors?

images original

Original Image

Avatar image

Inverted Color Image

The result of editing the image by inverting the colors is a ghost-like photo. After duplicating the original layer, placing the duplicated layer on the inverted layer, and changing the layer mode to “Luminosity” we obtained a picture similar to the effect of an Avatar.


Original Image

Inverted color FOREST

Inverted Color Image

In the second example, you can see that the inverted color of the forest is purple. Hence, the inverted color of green is purple. If you change the invert layer’s mode to color, you will find that the colors are soft. It is like you are in a magical world.

Creative Exploration

If you don’t want to invert the whole image, you can select a part using the rectangular marquee, lasso, or selection tool and edit it using any of the methods above. You don’t always have to invert the color of the image. If you use the selection tool, invert only a few areas of the image. In the case that you are working with pictures of different colors, after putting the inverted color add other styles to make it more attractive.


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