Deke’s Techniques: Creating type in Photoshop that inverts everything behind it

Published by | Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

You’ve probably been there. You’re working with a high-contrast photo or composition, with lots of lights and darks, and it’s your job to lay text over it. Readable text. So, do you choose dark text or light? Either one risks becoming unreadable when it hits an object behind it that doesn’t provide enough contrast. And please, whatever you do, don’t compromise with that medium gray text that’s completely unsatisfying no matter where it lands.

Enter this week’s free technique from Deke that shows you how to conveniently set up your type so that it automatically inverts everything behind it. By setting up your text this way, you no longer have to make the compromised choice to leave the text in some state of questionable readability, or the tedious choice to stop and manually reset text color as you move it around. By using a blend mode and a couple of well-placed adjustment layers to mathematically tell Photoshop what you want it to do when, you’ll create automatically reversing yet entirely editable text.

Example of automatically-inverted Photoshop type

And for members of the Online Training Library®, Deke has an exclusive movie this week, Creating auto-inverting line art, in which he shows you how to do the same inverse effect with line art (in this case a signature). The steps in this technique are similar to those discussed in Deke’s free tutorial, but require you to additionally separate and invert the lines that make up the image.

Example of automatically-inverted Photoshop line art

We’ll be back next week with another free technique from Deke.

Interested in more?
• The entire Deke’s Techniques collection on
• Courses by Deke McClelland on
• All Photoshop courses on

Suggested courses to watch next:
• Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
• Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Advanced Blending
• Photoshop for Designers: Type Essentials

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