This is the effect I am looking for

Does anyone know the name of this effect? Or how I could reproduce it? I can use Adobe Photoshop CC.

  • Hi Victor,and welcome to Stack Exchange. To help get better answers and to help future visitors, please see PSA on “What's this effect?” questions and edit your question accordingly. Thanks!
    – mattdm
    Apr 5, 2015 at 19:13
  • 1
    You still need to be a little more descriptive in the text as to what the filter looks like to you.
    – Michael C
    Apr 5, 2015 at 19:18

3 Answers 3


tillinberlin comented this is solarization and he is basicly right in some degree, but if you use it on a positive image you get the wrong result:

So, you can use a negative image or use the curves the inverse way solarization works.

You can see the objetive of this step in the hair.

After this you could use a gradient map.

That would be a starting point. Play with it, play with layers, mask here, burn and dodge on other places.

  • The first half of each of two rolls of 35mm color film my mother shot one day back in the 1990s turned out yielded prints a lot like the first of your pictures above (the darker portions of the negatives appeared as positives). I'd guess something went wrong with the developing equipment, but I'm curious as to what. The brighter parts of the picture appeared pretty much normal, but the darker parts not, with a very sharp gradation between.
    – supercat
    Jun 3, 2016 at 17:50

AFAIK this effect is called Solarisation (or solarization) and it's a phenomenon known already in analogue photography where parts of the image are wholly or partially reversed in tone.

You could probably do some further search on the original phenomenon and try to reverse-engeneer it with the help of layers and transparency and the like.. There is also lot's of how-tos and video tutorials on this – shouldn't be too difficult to get it done in whatever photoshop version.

See also: the wikipedia page about Solarisation.

  • 1
    Thank you for the input, I just researched on this effect but I just feel really... betrayed? The effect on that video screenshot looks really classy while the solarisation effect pictures look like they were made by 12 year old who just cracked their photoshop. I don't think it's necessarily this effect. But thank you!
    – Victor
    Apr 5, 2015 at 19:49
  • tillinberlin is not that mistaken, but i'm posting a more deep answer.
    – Rafael
    Apr 6, 2015 at 8:47

My guess is that this was originally a scanned colour negative. I can achieve a very similar colour shift and 'surreal' contrast by scanning any colour neg and simply not applying colour correction as you would normally do. The rest of the effect appears (backlighting, harsh contrast) to be 'in camera', so to speak.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.