{Negative Effect} How To Invert Colors in GIMP

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Back in the good ‘ole days of film, the image was captured as a “negative.” The result was an image where the colors were reversed. During the printing process, the negative is reverted to a “positive” image. In other words, the colors are as they were when captured.

In our digital world, you can invert your image file’s colors to re-create this negative effect. This gives you another unique way to express yourself artistically!

With GIMP, the process is straightforward to create this effect. Let’s take a look at the steps to achieve this negative effect.

Table of Contents

Invert a Color Image With GIMP

Here are the step-by-step instructions…

Step 1: Open Image

First, open your image in GIMP.

Step 2: Duplicate the Original Layer

Duplicate the image layer, so you have the original and rename it “Color Invert.”

Step 3: Choose Invert via the Menu

Go to the menu and select, Colors > Invert. The colors in your image have now been inverted, creating a negative color effect!

Invert a B&W Image With GIMP

Step 1: Open image

Open a new image or use the previous one.

Step 2: Duplicate Image Layer

If using the same image as before, hide the inverted color layer first. Then, duplicate the original layer again and rename it “B&W Invert.”

Step 3: Convert to B&W

The next step is converting the image from color to B&W. Back to the menu again and go to, Colors > Components > Extract Component… and click OK.

Step 4: Invert the B&W Image

As before, go to, Colors > Invert to create a negative B&W effect.

Now What?

You may have noticed a couple of other options for inverting your images; Linear Invert + Value Invert. Each will transform your colors into a negative too. 

However, each will target the colors and luminosity differently vs. the one used throughout this tutorial. Try them both to see how they affect your images.

Now is the perfect time to expand your skills with more of my free GIMP tutorials. If you’re looking for a structured environment to learn how to use GIMP for graphic design and or editing your photos check this out.

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