Solarization is a technique that involves partially reversing the tones in an image, creating a unique, high-contrast look that is often associated with Surrealist art. The effect is created by overexposing a photograph during the developing process, causing some areas of the image to become completely black, while others are left unaffected or even lightened. In photo editing, the solarization effect can be achieved using software tools and techniques.
Open your photo in your photo editing software. In this tutorial, we will be using Adobe Photoshop, but the steps should be similar in other software as well.
Duplicate the background layer by going to Layer > Duplicate Layer, or by pressing Ctrl + J on your keyboard. This will create a copy of the original image that we can work on without altering the original.
Select the Curves tool from the Adjustments panel (Window > Adjustments). Alternatively, you can press Ctrl + M on your keyboard to bring up the Curves dialogue box.
In the Curves dialogue box, click on the middle of the diagonal line to create a new control point. This will allow us to adjust the midtones of the image.
Drag the control point downward to darken the midtones. The amount of darkening will depend on your personal preference and the characteristics of the image. You can also create additional control points to adjust the highlights and shadows separately if desired.
Invert the image by going to Image > Adjustments > Invert, or by pressing Ctrl + I on your keyboard. This will reverse the tones in the image, creating a negative effect.
Add a layer mask to the Curves adjustment layer by clicking on the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. This will allow us to selectively apply the solarization effect to certain areas of the image.
Select the Brush tool from the toolbar, and choose a soft-edged brush with a low opacity (around 20-30%).
Use the brush to paint over the areas of the image that you want to affect with the solarization effect. As you paint, the effect will be gradually applied, allowing you to blend it in with the rest of the image.
Continue adjusting the Curves and painting on the layer mask until you are satisfied with the solarization effect. You can also adjust the color balance and saturation to further fine-tune the look of the image.
When you are happy with the result, save the image by going to File > Save As, and choose a file format and location to save the image.
And that’s it! With just a few simple steps, you can create a stunning solarization effect in your photos using photo editing software. Remember to experiment with different settings and brush strokes to find the perfect look for your image. Happy editing!