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How to Invert Colors on Photoshop

Published: 10/06/2021

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When you are editing or transforming the look of an image, you want it to be more aesthetically pleasing. One way of creating a unique and impressive image is by inverting its colors. Let’s learn how to invert colors in Photoshop. Here, I will explain different methods of producing different results with color inversion.

How To Invert Colors in Photoshop Using Different Techniques

Inverting colors can produce varied results so that you can create images according to your requirements. It can make your image more attractive, can make one part more prominent than the others, or show your image like it's taken from another dimension. 

When you invert the colors in an image, you take the original colors of that particular picture, and then apply the exact opposite colors. In other words, color inversion creates a negative of the image by taking the original color to the farthest spectrum possible.

Color inversion in Photoshop is very easy. A few simple clicks can give you a completely transformed image. It allows you to invert the colors of an entire image, a targeted area of an image, or even multiple images at once. Here, I will cover all three of these methods. 

Inverting Colors of an Entire Image

If you want to invert the colors of an entire image in Photoshop, then you can use any one of the following ways:

Through the Menu Bar

  1. Launch Photoshop and open up your image. To open the image, you can:
  • Open directly from the homepage,
  • Go to File > Open and select the image you want to use.
  • Press CTRL + O and then select the image you want to use.
  1. Once your image is opened in Photoshop, go to the menu bar present at the top of your Photoshop interface.
  2. From the menu bar, select ‘Image.’ This will open up a drop-down menu.
  3. From the drop-down menu, navigate to Adjustments > Invert. 
Inverting colors of a whole image through the Adjustments option
  1. For easy use, Photoshop also offers many accessible keyboard shortcuts. So, you can also press CTRL + I (for Windows) or Command + I (for Mac).
  2. You should now have the colors in your image inverted.
  3. Here, I would like to add a tip for you. Before you start inverting your colors, it is best to make a copy of the background layer. This way, your original image will remain safe in the locked background layer while you make the changes on the other layer. It will allow you to go back to the original image whenever you want.

Through the Layers Panel

  1. Go to the Layers Panel that is present at the bottom right corner of your photoshop interface. In case your Layers Panel is not visible, then go to Windows > Layers.
  2. Click on the ‘Create New Adjustment Layer’ icon present at the bottom of your Layers Panel. This icon looks like a half-filled circle.
  3. As you click on this icon, you will see a pop-up menu. From the menu, click on ‘Invert.’
Inverting colors through the Layers Panel
  1. This will invert the colors of your image immediately.

Inverting Colors of a Selected Area

Sometimes, you may want to invert the colors of only a selected area of your image instead of inverting the entire picture. Photoshop allows you to do that too. You can easily make the colors of one targeted area inverted while the rest of the image remains the same.

To do this in Photoshop, follow the steps below:

  1. Launch Photoshop and open up your image through any of the ways explained above.
  2. Now, go to the toolbar present on the left side of your Photoshop interface and pick up the ‘Quick Selection Tool.’ 
  3. With the selection tool in your hand, select the area of the image that you want to invert. In the picture below, you can see that I have selected the middle portion of my image.
Selecting an area in an image to invert colors
  1. Once you have highlighted the area, go to the menu bar at the top of your Photoshop interface and click on ‘Image.’ This will open up a drop-down menu for you. 
  2. From the drop-down menu, navigate to Adjustments>Invert.
  3. You should now see that the area you selected has inverted colors. The following picture shows the inverted colors in the area that I selected.
Selected area of an image with inverted colors

Inverting Colors of Multiple Images at Once

Photoshop also allows you to invert the colors of more than one image at the same time through its Action feature. This feature becomes really useful when you want to apply the same inverting effect on several images. To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Firstly, create a new folder, preferably on your desktop, and name it ‘Original Images.’
  2. Find all the photos that you want to invert, and copy them all into this folder.
  3. Now, create another folder in the same location and name it ‘Inverted Images.’ This folder will later have all your resulting images.
  4. Launch Photoshop and load the image you want to use.
  5. Now go to your Action panel, which is usually present on the top right side of your Photoshop interface. In case your Actions Panel is not visible, then go to your menu bar and navigate to Window > Actions to enable the Actions panel.
  6. In the Actions Panel, click on the ‘Create New Action’ icon. This looks like a sign of addition placed within a square.
Create New Action option in Photoshop
  1. As you click on the icon, you will see a dialog box. Here, enter a name for your action and then click record. Now, the next step you take will be recorded in the form of action into your Photoshop.
  2. Hover your cursor to the menu bar and navigate to Image > Adjustments > Invert.
  3. Once the colors are inverted, go to File > Save As. Instead of entering any name, just select your previously created ‘Inverted Photos’ folder. Click on Save.
  4. Now, click on the ‘Stop’ icon present at the bottom of your Actions Panel. This will stop the action recording.
  5. Now, go to File > Automate > Batch. This will open up a dialog box.
  6. In the Action field, pick your newly created action from the drop-down menu. In the Source field, select Folder, and then choose the ‘Original Images’ folder that you previously created. Click on OK.
Inverting colors of multiple images using the Batch option in Photoshop
  1. Now, Photoshop will start inverting the colors of all your photos in the ‘Original Images’ folder. All your resulting pictures will get saved in the “Inverted Images’ folder on your desktop.

In Conclusion

When it comes to editing or retouching your images, Photoshop is the undisputed champ. It has various powerful tools, allowing you to make remarkable modifications to photos. One of these features is color inversion. With all the methods explained above, you can turn your regular images into a masterpiece with a few simple clicks.


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