Now, what’s the purpose of this?
I like mixing it in so that my eyes can see something different from time to time.
Eyes get tired after a while and you can start to miss things because your eyes simply ignore them, after staring at the same photo for an hour.
Switching to Negative will suddenly enable me to see things I’ve missed before and after a while of working with the negative turned on, I switch back to normal and again see more things that I may have missed.
Apart from switching it up for the eyes, there is also another purpose for this feature.
Think of a dark shadow on the neck for example. It’s often hard to spot and work on issues in that area – in fact, dark areas get often overlooked entirely.
The Negative curve will invert this area and make it bright and a lot easier to see and work on. That way all the issues in the image can be fixed which is super important for consistency.
One IMPORTANT thing to note is that, when working with Dodge & Burn while having the Negative Help Layer switched on, you have to DODGE what you want to have darker (while Negative is on) and BURN what you want lighter (while Negative is on).
Since the luminosity is inverted, light spots will appear dark and dark spots will appear light. So be prepared when you start, otherwise it will get confusing and frustrating!
A perfect example of this is rubbing your belly with one hand and tapping your head with the other and then switching hands! It gets a bit tricky!
The Contrast Layer
This layer does not require too much explanation. It boosts the contrast and makes contrast issues more visible, which is sometimes useful for when an image needs to be very clean.