I have an image that was taken using a negative color filter long ago, but now I need the normal picture, is there a way to get a good quality of that picture with the actual colors? The current software I am using is GIMP.

  • 3
    Photoshop has Image > Adjustments > Invert, and I'm sure other raster editor have something similar.
    – Vincent
    Commented Jul 1, 2014 at 10:49
  • I have no clue, but a Google gives me this.
    – Vincent
    Commented Jul 1, 2014 at 12:01

2 Answers 2


We may be talking about a scanned color negative film stock widely used way before the invention of digital cameras.

These images had a yellow and a red mask for color absorption. Hence negatives had an orange rather than a white tint:

enter image description here

Image source: Wikipedia cc

To obtain a positve color image from these sources we have to

  1. Remove the orange mask

    • Colors > Pick white point: choose an area outside the image

    enter image description here

  2. Invert the colors

    • Colors > Invert

    enter image description here

  3. Adjust colors (many negatives will have a heavy blue tint):

    • Colors > Pick gray point: choose a gray area from the image

    enter image description here

Note: removing the orange mask will unfortunately lead to a reduced pixel information as compared to color scans.

  • 3
    This is an excellent answer! OP mentions "was created with negative filter", so I think he means an actual digital image. Still, if this doesn't answer it we should definitely open a new question about film negatives and migrate this answer to it!
    – Yisela
    Commented Jul 2, 2014 at 1:22
  • Yeah, I stumbled upon "long ago" but unless the OP clarifies this we probably wont't find out ;)
    – Takkat
    Commented Jul 2, 2014 at 7:19

GIMP has an invert command you can apply to RGB and Grayscale images:

enter image description here to enter image description here

You can acces it through ColorsInvert.

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