Go Back   RetouchPRO > Technique > Photo Retouching
Register Blogs FAQ Site Nav Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Photo Retouching "Improving" photos, post-production, correction, etc.

Effect of Blacklight on Colors?

Thread Tools
Old 11-20-2013, 03:01 AM
marcchristopher marcchristopher is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Vienna, Austria
Posts: 35
Question Effect of Blacklight on Colors?

Hi all,

I am currently trying to achieve a look similar to what is commonly called "black light effect". (And, yes, I agree, ideally this should have been done during the shooting. Unfortunately, however, for some reason this didn't work out and it's now my job to achieve this in post-production.)

So, I'm trying to understand what black light does to the colors of an image and I'm having a hard time to understand one pecularity:

As I have understood it, when most people refer to black light, they really mean "black light blue" (BLB) lamps. According to Wikipedia, "the lamp has a dark purple filter material [and] has a dim purple glow when operating". Why, then, do most colors (especially whites) turn into a darkish blue under black light, instead of purple? And why does it seem, as if this exact hue (between blue and purple) depends on luminance? (See, e.g.,

Or is there something I am missing? Can anyone explain to me what exactly is happening here? Has anyone ever tried to achieve a realistic "black light effect" in Photoshop (that did not look cheesy and amateurish)?

Thanks in advance!
Reply With Quote top
Old 11-22-2013, 05:08 PM
Redraw's Avatar
Redraw Redraw is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 22
Re: Effect of Blacklight on Colors?

This article might help you with the what is happening part.

The "how to" in PS I am at a loss as I never really thought about doing it before.
Reply With Quote top
Old 11-22-2013, 05:59 PM
0lBaldy's Avatar
0lBaldy 0lBaldy is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,528
Re: Effect of Blacklight on Colors?

Is there a picture you could share that you would like to achieve this effect on? want the bright colors also?
Reply With Quote top
Old 11-23-2013, 04:59 AM
marcchristopher marcchristopher is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Vienna, Austria
Posts: 35
Re: Effect of Blacklight on Colors?

Thank you both for your help.

Unfortunately, I cannot share the images that I am working on, as my client does not want the "before" versions to be published: Basically, the models are dressed in bright, bold colors and the backdrop is more or less black. As I see it, this should actually be a good starting point for the look we would like to achieve.

Also, thank you for the interesting link. Indeed, the explanations are pretty interesting. As I have understood it, "black light" actually doesn't have a color at all. When something glows under a light black this is due to the fact that many "modern detergents contain phosphors that convert UV light into white light".

But why, then, do many objects seem to glow in different colors (blue, cyan, purple), depending on how much light they receive?
Reply With Quote top
Old 11-28-2013, 04:51 PM
skoobey skoobey is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,184
Re: Effect of Blacklight on Colors?

Ah! The forum did something and my post went away. Anything with high density of right minerals glows under UV light.

Anyway, you mask out the lips, eyes, hair, everything but the skin itself, then you make skin black using a gradient map, refine it with curves to add that blue/pruple tint. Now, you want to apply some of the effect on the eyes, and teeth. You also might want to add extra purple to the eyes using a curve.

It's about black/purple skin and background being contrasted by bright colors that reflect.

Last edited by skoobey; 11-28-2013 at 08:51 PM.
Reply With Quote top

  RetouchPRO > Technique > Photo Retouching

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Text effect sillycrab Image Help 2 01-21-2013 12:10 PM
how can i separate colors from light ? mantra Photo Retouching 33 08-13-2012 08:52 AM
Making Fake Flare/Haze Effect PhotoHobo Photo Retouching 3 04-28-2012 11:39 AM
How to make colors like Jordan Voth shinphotography Photo Retouching 17 02-13-2012 08:22 PM
how to achieve the same colors and contrast? przemekb Photo Retouching 27 11-26-2010 04:17 PM

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:11 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.
Copyright © 2016 Doug Nelson. All Rights Reserved