How do I invert the colors of an image using the ImageMagick convert tool, so that black becomes white and white becomes black?

In other words, I want to turn this:


into this:


2 Answers 2


Use the -negate option:

convert input.png -channel RGB -negate output.png

The -negate option replaces each pixel with its complementary color. The -channel RGB option is necessary as of ImageMagick 7 to prevent the alpha channel (if present) from being negated. (Thanks to @goto-bus-stop for this insight!)

See also the documentation for -negate.

  • 6
    this made my black and white png completely transparent... Jan 21, 2018 at 15:49
  • This worked for me
    – Shadi
    Mar 6, 2018 at 4:53
  • 8
    The transparency problem is because the alpha channel is also inverted. Use -channel RGB -negate to avoid that. Oct 7, 2018 at 13:48
  • 1
    That's interesting. The ImageMagick on my system (version 6.8.9) only negates the RGB channels, and not the alpha channel by default, so -channel RGB isn't necessary. It only inverts the alpha channel if I pass -channel RGBA -negate. I'm not sure what explains the different behavior.
    – Jo Liss
    Oct 18, 2018 at 15:57
  • It works for me, without negate. What I'm curious about though is: while identify sees the input as "8-bit sRGB", the output is "8-bit Grayscale Gray".
    – user74094
    Nov 26, 2018 at 0:25

ImageMagick 6.x can invert color intensities with -negate option only. ref) https://www.imagemagick.org/script/command-line-options.php#negate

convert input.png -negate output.png

ImageMagick 7.x requires the -channel option with -negate. ref) https://imagemagick.org/script/porting.php#cli Changed Options

convert input.png -channel RGB -negate output.png

This is because the default active channels contain transparency(opaque/alpha) in ImageMagick 7.x

ImageMagick6: DefaultChannels = ((AllChannels | SyncChannels) &~ OpacityChannel)
ImageMagick7: DefaultChannels = AllChannels

Most algorithms update the red, green, blue, black (for CMYK), and alpha channels. Usability of -negate seems to be sacrificed for overall consistency.

More detail for you. http://blog.awm.jp/2018/11/18/im7negate/

  • 2
    convert input.png -negate output.png works fine for me on ImageMagick 7.0.8 (ArchLinux)
    – msrd0
    Nov 23, 2018 at 16:38
  • There is no problem on RGB image without transparency. RGBA with transparency image cause problem, only ImageMagick7.
    – yoya
    Nov 28, 2018 at 5:42
  • You can check PNG file has transparency or not. identify -verbose input.png | grep Type It ouput TrueColor or TrueColorAlpha.
    – yoya
    Nov 28, 2018 at 5:48
  • Great answer, thanks! I went ahead and added -channel RGB to my answer.
    – Jo Liss
    Nov 29, 2018 at 18:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.