Ice Cold

've called this recipe Ice Cold after the effect it has on the picture of the architecture, right. The effect works especially well when the picture has lots of blues and greens. The first ingredient is a blurred, inverted Luminosity layer that inverts the highlights and shadows, but tends to leave midtones unaffected. A Hard Mix layer at 10-50% fill opacity restores the image's shape and a Screen layer chills the final result. Experiment with inverting or desaturating any or all of the layers, and applying varying amounts of Gaussian Blur.

1 In the Layers palette, duplicate the original image by dragging the background layer onto the "Create a new layer" icon. Alternatively, just use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl/Cmd-J Name this layer "Luminosity"

2 With the Luminosity layer active, select Luminosity from the blending mode pull-down menu

3 Invert the Luminosity layer by selecting Image > Adjustments > Invert (Ctrl/Cmd-I)

4 Apply a Gaussian Blur radius value of between 3 and 4 to the Luminosity layer

5 Return to the original image, make another copy (Ctrl/Cmd-J), and call it "Hard Mix."

6 With the Hard Mix layer active, select Hard Mix from the blending mode pull-down menu

7 Drag the Hard Mix layer to the top of the Layers palette and set the fill opacity to around 40%

8 Return to the original image, make another copy (Ctrl/Cmd-J), and call it "Screen."

9 With the Screen layer active, select Screen from the blending mode pulldown menu, then drag the Screen layer to the top of the Layers palette

Blue steel

This Tokyo building's windows were a mid- to dark blue and become a powdery light blue when inverted in the Luminosity layer While this layer controls the overall color, it's the Hard Mix layer that has the most potential for fine-tuning the final result When you set its fll opacity to above 50%, this powerful blending mode dominates the image, but below 50%, the Hard Mix layer is much more subtle, and applies a gentle sharpening effect

Midtones are softened, while highlights and shadows are reversed.

Midtones are softened, while highlights and shadows are reversed.

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If the image doesn't contain many shadows or highlights, the resulting picture looks more natural and you don't get the obvious reversal that I achieved with the picture of the building The inverted, blurred Luminosity layer softens and lightens the midtones Again, Hard Mix restores some definition For an alternative, try inverting the Hard Mix layer—this will often bleach the image

Inverting the Hard Mix layer bleaches this image.

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Subtle posterization

Cool portraits

Something else to try is varying the amount of Gaussian Blur on the Luminosity layer Initially, I was happy with a blur amount of just 3 5, which made this replica of the Statue of Liberty appear slightly embossed One idea led to another—sliding the blur up to 30 resulted in an effect like a drop shadow or penumbra What's especially nice is that the Luminosity blend mode doesn't cause any color shift in the shadow area

Original image

Ice Cold seems best suited to blues and greens, and this is another good example This picture is pretty low-contrast and the inverted Luminosity layer reverses the islands' brownish shadows and turns them a pale pink Coupled with the other soft tones, a more posterized outcome is the result

Original image.

Original image.

A Gaussian Blur amount of 50 on the Luminosity layer makes this girl appear more natural.

Applying large Gaussian Blur values to a reversed layer can produce a penumbra.

Ice Cold produces unnatural results with people.

I'm less happy with Ice Cold's effects on pictures of people, but it's always worth trying out an effect This little girl's dark eyes and pale skin are reversed in tone, and while you can easily accept such inversion in other images, it's hard to see what it does for the subject In addition to adding a penumbra in sharply defined pictures, greatly increasing the amount of Gaussian Blur can restore some realism to this picture

Applying large Gaussian Blur values to a reversed layer can produce a penumbra.

Ice Cold produces unnatural results with people.

A Gaussian Blur amount of 50 on the Luminosity layer makes this girl appear more natural.

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