How to create a photo negative in Photoshop

by hannah 351 views5

How to create a photo negative in photoshop

For this tutorial I am going to work at actual size. If you want to create a larger than life photo negative, follow steps 1 to 14 which create the frame. Then re-size the frame to the size you want and drop in the photo at the larger size.

Step 1.
Start with a canvas of 400×400

create a new document
create a new document

Step 2.
Use the marquee tool at a fixed size of 174×160 pixels to highlight an area of pixels in the centre of the screen.

rectangular marquee
rectangular marquee
fixed size of 174 x 160px
fixed size of 174 x 160px
create a rectangle in the centre of the canvas
create a rectangle in the centre of the canvas

Step 3.
Draw the guides across from the top and left and place in line with the selected area. To do this you will need the rulers showing at the sides (Apple R / Ctrl R toggles this on and off).

draw the guides to meet the rectangle
draw the guides to meet the rectangle

Step 4.
Draw a rectangle with the rectangle shape tool to cover this area.

rectangle tool
rectangle tool
draw a rectangle
draw a rectangle

Step 5.
Use the marquee tool again to section off with guides the top and bottom 24 pixels and 4pixels on the left and 5pixels on the right.

section off areas with guides
section off areas with guides

Step 6.
With the rectangle vector mask thumbnail selected in the layers palette and the rectangle tool selected. Choose subtract from shape area from the shape options tool bar. Draw the smaller rectangle to the inside guide lines.

select the vector mask
select the vector mask
Subtract from shape
Subtract from shape
subtract from the outer rectangle
subtract from the outer rectangle

Step 7.
Use the marquee tool and guides to create a rounded rectangle at the size of 10px wide by 14px height the corner radius of the rectangle should be set to 3pixels.

use the marquee tool at a fixed size of 10 x 14px
use the marquee tool at a fixed size of 10 x 14px
draw the guides into position
draw the guides into position
rounded rectangle
rounded rectangle
corner radius of 3px
corner radius of 3px
draw rounded rectangle within new guide lines
draw rounded rectangle within new guide lines

Step 8.
Ctrl J / Apple J the rounded rectangle to duplicate the shape. Use the arrow keys to re-position the new shape. If you want to eventually create multiple slides that are is a strip together. The rectangles will need to be moved 22pixels across so that the combined slides will be seemless (12 pixels in between) To move the I use the arrow keys (Shift combined with the arrow key moves the shape 10pixels, single arrow key 1pixel). Continue to duplicate the rectangles until the top is full.

duplicate the rounded rectangle
duplicate the rounded rectangle
move the duplicate into position
move the duplicate into position
continue until the top row is full
continue until the top row is full

Step 9.
Select all the rounded rectangles in the layers palette. Right click and choose ‘duplicate’ from the menu. Whilst all the new rectangles are selected move the new set of rectangles to the bottom strip. It is important that they line up with the top rectangles, so either use the arrow keys or press shift as you drag them into a new position to keep them inline.

select all the rounded rectangles
select all the rounded rectangles
right click and choose duplicate layers
right click and choose duplicate layers
move the duplicates to form bottom row
move the duplicates to form bottom row

Step 10.
To make the rounded rectangles part of the slide background so they are cut out of the background rather than seperate. Select each rectangle one at a time and select the path points with the direct selection tool (if the vector mask thumbnail is selected in the layers palette and the direct selection tool is selected in the tool bar you will be able to click and drag over the selected shape to select all the points at once). Once the points are selected Ctrl C / Apple C and Ctrl X / Apple X (click ok to delete the shape if you are presented with a pop up). Choose the main slide background shape, select the pen tool and Ctrl V / Apple V and choose subtract from shape area from the options toolbar whilst the shape is still selected to subtract the rounded rectangles from the slide background shape. Repeat this process with all the rounded rectangles.

select layer mask
select layer mask
direct selection tool
direct selection tool
select all points
select all points
select the slide background
select the slide background
select the pen tool
select the pen tool
paste onto the rectangle shape
paste onto the rectangle shape
choose subtract from the option tool bar
choose subtract from the option tool bar

Step 11.
All elements should now be combined within 1 shape area.

all shapes combined in one shape layer
all shapes combined in one shape layer
combined shapes in one layer
combined shapes in one layer

Step 12.
Next for the text. At the top of the slide add some text to the slide. I have used Arial 8px bold CAPS with tracking of 130.

Add a new text layer
Add a new text layer
set the text size and weight
set the text size and weight
position on the top row
position on the top row

Step 13.
Add the number 24 to the bottom of the slide. (This is to represent how many slides are in the reel) For this I have used Arial Bold 10px tracking 130. Also add 23A to the left at 7px.

Add text to the bottom row
Add text to the bottom row

Step 14.
Using layer styles, set the layer opacity of the frame to 63% and apply a gradient to the shape to give a slight hint of shine.

set the slide opacity to 63%
set the slide opacity to 63%
set the slide gradient
set the slide gradient
set the gradient colours
set the gradient colours
use layer styles to change the colour and opacity
use layer styles to change the colour and opacity

The next steps will need to be completed in a seperate document before they are added to the slide background that we just created.

Step 15.
Open the photo that you want to use as the negative and desaturate the image. To do this select it in the layers palette and choose Image > Adjustments > Desaturate (Shift Ctrl U / Shift Apple U). (Remember not to save over your orignal!)

The original photo that I am using for this tutorial is by Jorge Royan and can be found here.

original image
original image
Choose Edit > Adjustments > Desaturate
desaturated image
desaturated image

Step 16.
Open the channels panel (Window > Channels) and hold Control / Apple whilst you click the top channel (Which should be labelled either RGB or CMYK dependant on which colour mode you are working in). This will select the black areas of the picture.

Open the chanels panel
Open the chanels panel
Channels panel
Channels panel
black areas selected
black areas selected

Step 17.
With the selection still active create a new layer in the layers palette (Ctrl Shift N / Apple Shift N) and fill the selected area with black. To do this go to Edit > Fill and choose black from the drop down menu.

create new layer
create new layer
Choose Edit > Fill
fill with black
fill with black

Step 18.
Delete or hide the original photo layer and you are left with your photo negative effect.

Hide original photo layer
Hide original photo layer
left with the layer filled with black
left with the layer filled with black

Step 19.
Drag the photo negative effect layer that you have just created on to the negative frame border that we first created and resize it to fit the inside rectangle. Use the transform tool and marquee tool to crop the image to the correct size if needed. You should now have your final photo negative.

photo negative within the frame
photo negative within the frame

Step 20.
To create a strip of negative frames simply copy and paste the frame layers and reposition on the end of the the first negative and add a new image.

duplicate the frame layers and position them next to each other
duplicate the frame layers and position them next to each other
select the shape mask of the other frame
select the shape mask of the other frame
choose add to shape area and paste frames together
choose add to shape area and paste frames together
a single layer style now covers both slides
a single layer style now covers both slides
4 combined slides
4 combined slides

The original photos used in the above slide are from Wikimedia commons. Image 1, 2, & 3 by Jorge Royan. 4 by Randy Oostdyk

Please note some of the effects below will rasterize the frame, so save the vector format as a psd before you continue so you can go back to it if you wish.

Step 21.
To make it look realistic try combining all the layers and adding a transparent gradient to the whole image to add a shine across the negatives. Use the transform wrap feature to slightly lift the middle of the negative at the top and bottom so that it doesn’t sit flat on the page. Also add a slight soft drop shadow. Below are the settings that I used to create the complete negative strip.

Combine all layers
Combine all layers
drop shadow settings
drop shadow settings
gradient settings
gradient settings
gradient colour & opacity settings
gradient colour & opacity settings
add gradient and drop shadow
add gradient and drop shadow
lift the middle section of the slide with the wrap tool
lift the middle section of the slide with the wrap tool
How to create a photo negative in photoshop
How to create a photo negative in photoshop

Comments (5)

  1. Hi there! I love this post!! I can’t wait to give this a try!!! I hope you don’t mind, but I have included this tutorial in a blog post: Top 10 photoshop tutorials, on my blog, “Cookies with Cronkite.” I have included a link to this post, a picture and a link to your blog homepage. Check it out.. please leave comments, I would LOVE your feed back!!

    Here’s a link to the post! Thanks again for a great tutorial!

    http://cookieswithcronkite.com/?p=1239

  2. Hi Lauren, You are welcome to share the tutorial so long as you provide a link back to my post. Thanks for letting me know 🙂

  3. Hi!

    I really like this tutorial! But i don’t really get the part in step 10.. You think you could try to explain that one to a dumbass as me? 🙂

    Thanks alot, great job!

  4. Hi Johanna, Step 10 is all about combining the shape layers to get all of your shapes onto one layer. Once they are combined you can then manipulate them all on one layer and apply transparencies and layer effects. To do this you have to select one shape layer at a time and copy and paste it onto another shape layer – in this case subtract the smaller shapes from the larger one. I hope that makes sense and is of some help! Thanks for your comment.

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