Making a solarization image

Figure 1 – Black and white image of a surfer in Maine

Figure 2 – Solarizing response curve or LUT for Figure 1

Recognize, that if we are prepared to play loosie goosie with the definition, the last image of yesterday’s post is indeed a solarization by virtue of the reversal in the tones at higher intensity.  The effect, is subtle, however.

Today I’d like to have a little fun and make a more dramatic solarization.  The steps are identical to what we did yesterday.  Let’s start with another high contrast image.  This is a silhouette that I took of a surfer last month in Kennebunport, ME.  Figure 1 shows this as a black and white image.  We again go to curves, see Figure 2 and apply a very non-linear, non-monotonic response curve or LUT.  The effect is a very surreal and solarized image.  It looks almost like a negative!

Figure 3 – Solarized variant of Figure 1 obtained by applying response curve or LUT of Figure 2

Figure 4 – Solarizing RGB response curves or LUTs

Now we can have some real fun by doing this in color.  We return to the colored version of Figure 1.  Then we apply a non-linear, non-monotonic response curve to each of the three color planes, Red, Green, and Blue.  This is shown in Figure 3.

I then cropped a bit and adjusted the brightness and contrast to make the image more pleasing and voila, we have a solarized color image.  Finally, note the way that the surfer is outlined brightly.  This effect is classic solarization.

Figure 5 – Final version – solarized color image of Maine surfer

This entry was posted in Technical Aspects of Photography.