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So I downloaded this image to use in a Christmas flyer I'm making...

Christmas themed image

... but I really want to swap the colours around (to save on ink). So is there a way I can make what's red white, and what's white red?

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You'd be best off with using a Gradient Map.

  1. Using the eyedropper (I), sample a bright and a dark red and add them to your swatches. Adding white is a good idea, as well.
  2. Open your Layers palette (Window > Layers or F7) and click the black & white disc icon on the bottom: Add New Adjustment Layer.
  3. Choose Gradient Map and see a palette appear in which you can edit a gradient.
  4. Make the gradient start with white and end with dark red, with bright red somwhere in the middle. Add black on one end to taste, and move the stops around to achieve the effect you want. You might have to check the reverse box to actually invert the colours, instead of recreating what is already there.
  5. Click OK.

You can always review and edit the effect by double clicking the adjustment layer.

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  • Thanks for the help Vincent. I actually managed to do it by making the image black and white, then inverting the colours and changing the levels & curves until I had black borders on a white background. Then I used a Gradient Overlay to make it red. But your method gives me much easier control over the colours, so thanks for the reply.
    – Danny
    Nov 21 '14 at 15:03

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