Being able to make quick and dramatic adjustments to your colors is a huge perk of Procreate. With traditional materials, you’d have to completely redo your work to see color inversions. With Procreate, it only takes a few simple clicks to invert the colors of your entire piece of art.
To invert colors on Procreate, create a new layer at the top of your layers list. Fill this layer with white. Open the blend mode settings of this new layer and choose the Difference option. This will invert all of the colors on your canvas. To reverse it, uncheck or delete the white layer.
The great thing about this method of inverting your colors on Procreate is that it’s easily reversible. No need to make permanent changes to your art that you may regret later.
Like I said, being able to play around with colors on Procreate is a HUGE perk of this program, and digital art in general. No more time spent stressing over your colored pencil choices making sure that you pick the correct color scheme the first time.
Just a few clicks on Procreate and you have a whole new color experience.
There are a LOT of things you can do with Procreate’s Color Adjustments menu, but this is NOT what we’re going to use to invert our colors. This can be confusing, so I’m going to say it again.
We DO NOT use the Color Adjustments menu to invert our colors on Procreate. Ok, so then what DO we do?
Let’s dive in.
1. Add a new layer to your Procreate canvas
To invert our colors, we’ll need to start off with a new, blank layer that doesn’t have any design elements on it.
Open the Layers panel and click the plus symbol to add a new layer.
2. Add your new layer to the top of your layers list
If your new layer isn’t at the top of your layers list already, hold down on it and drag it to the top of your list.
This places it “on top” of all of your other layers. This ensures that your color inversion applies to all of the layers and design elements below it.
3. Choose white within the color wheel
Open the color wheel and choose white. If you have white saved in your palette, you can choose it there as well. Wherever your white color lives, you can choose it there. As long as you choose white.
Fun trick: if you ever need true white or true black, double tap in that area in the color wheel and it will snap to it. For example, if you want true white, double tap the color wheel near the white area. It will snap to true white.
It can be annoying to try to pick true white or true black manually, but end up with a color that is slightly navy or slight cream. This trick fixes that!
4. Open your layers panel and open the layer settings for your new layer
Now that we’ve chosen our white color, it’s time to head back to the layers panel. Open your layers panel and tap on the new layer you created in step one.
This will open the settings for this layer.
5. Click on the “Fill Layer” button.
Look at the list of options within the layer settings and click on the “Fill Layer” button.
You’ll see your screen flood with white.
Given that this new, white layer is on the top of everything else, all of your design elements will be hidden because this new layer is filled with color. Don’t worry, everything is still there; it’s just hidden behind your new layer.
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Now let's get back to the article!
5. Open your layers panel again and open the blend mode settings within your new layer
Once again, click on your layers panel to open it. Click on the “N” icon listed on the right hand side of your first layer. This is the layer that we filled with white.
The “N” stands for “Normal” within the blend modes. By default, all new layers are set to the Normal blend mode.
To invert our colors, we’ll need to change that.
6. Scroll through the blend modes and choose the “Difference” mode
There are a LOT of blend modes. It’s actually a lot of fun to hover on each of them and see how it changes your art. The colors you’ll get are really neat!
Once you’ve had fun experimenting, find the “Difference” mode and stick with that.
When applied to a white layer, this “Difference” blend mode will invert all of the colors underneath it.
7. Uncheck the layer to undo your color inversion
If you want to undo your color inversion, simply uncheck the white layer you created. This will make it invisible and, thereby, reverse the color inversion you’ve done.
It can be fun to compare the inverted vs. non-inverted versions by quickly turning the layer on and off using its checkmark.
If you decide that you permanently want to remove the color inversion, you can completely delete the white layer, which will remove all of the color inversion effects you’ve created…which brings up the best part about this method.
Nothing about this color inversion method is permanent!
Given that all of our adjustments were made to a new, separate layer, we didn’t change anything about your original piece of artwork. Hooray!
There isn’t even a need to go through a long stretch of undoing everything.
Just uncheck or delete your layer and you’ll be back where you started!
Even if you don’t plan to invert your colors permanently, given how easy it is to perform and reverse, it can be fun to invert your colors just to see what happens.
There have been times when I’ve inverted my colors and ended up having “aha” moments about my original colors that I wouldn’t have had without this different perspective. So, have fun inverting your colors on Procreate and see what discoveries you make!
Diana has been an artist for over 25 years and has training in drawing, painting, digital drawing and graphic design. Diana’s latest obsession is digitally drawing with Procreate and creating t-shirt designs with Canva. Diana has experience selling her art across a number of platforms and loves helping other artists learn how to make money from their art as well.