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Turn your image into an x-ray without harmful side effects

Added on Thursday 26th of November 2009 01:51 am EST


Adobe Photoshop CS/CS2/CS3/CS4

Operating Systems:

Macintosh, Microsoft Windows


Is there an easy way to make an image look like an x-ray? I don’t need a real x-ray that lets people see the true inside of my image. I just want the image to have that x-ray look. I tried the Invert command, but my image still had a lot of crazy colors in it. I appreciate any help you can give.


Oooh, you were so close! The Invert command is the best way to achieve an x-ray look. However, you need to do more than just invert your image. As you discovered, a full-color image simply inverted just produces a dark and surreal image with crazy colors, as shown in Figure A. To get the look you want, you need to take it a few steps further.




Beam me up!

This technique won’t allow you to see the internal components of your image like a true x-ray. But just for fun, we’ll use an image of bones. To follow along with our example download the file from the URL given at the beginning of this article, extract the file bones.psd, launch Photoshop, and open the image shown in Figure B. (Images provided by PhotoSpin. Some images modified for educational purposes.)




To turn the image into an x-ray: 

1.       Choose Image > Adjustments > Channel Mixer to display the Channel Mixer dialog box.

2.      Select the Monochrome check box as shown in Figure C, and click OK.



3.      Press [command]L ([Ctrl]L in Windows) to open the Levels dialog box.



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