Recreating Solarization Effects

© Joe Farace

1/125 sec at f/4.5 and ISO 800

Although often confused with posterization, solarization is also sometimes called the Sabatier Effect although purists might disagree. In 1857 William L. Jackson noted that exposing a partially developed photographic plate to light, then continuing its development, would sometimes cause a reversal of tones, affecting the whole or part of the negative. It might have been christened the Blanchere Effect because it was not described by Sabatier until 1860.

The Solarization process produces unpredictable effects with tone reversal usually occurring in the lighter background areas. B&W SolarizationA distinct black outline is created around areas where the reversal of tone meets areas where it has not occurred. Usually this effect is applied to a black and white image but it can also be applied in color photography using different colored lights although in a traditional darkroom the results are even less predictable. This is not true, as you will see, for the digital darkroom.

The Solarization: Black and White filter that’s part of Nik Color Efex Pro emulates the darkroom process while offering more control over different methods of solarization and the amount of time the effect is applied to the image. The Solarization: Black and White filter provides unlimited control allowing you to emulate different paper emulsions as well as experimenting with the different variables in the application of the process to produce the end result.Solrization color

Nik’s Solarization: Color emulates the Solarization process with color photography but of the many options available I didn’t like any of the. To produce the image at left I created a duplicate layer (Layer > Duplicate Layer) then applied Nik’s Solarization: Color filter to that layer. Then using the Eraser tool set at a low (18%) opacity level I erased the effect layer around her eyes, nose and mouth, allowing them to show through. That I liked!



Author: Joe Farace

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