Cross Processing in Photoshop or Gimp


Today I've passed 100 000 page views since I started really taking care of that blog a few months ago. Thank you :)

Some while ago, photographers realized that by developing film in the wrong solution (for example, developing a negative in a solution for positive), you obtain a kind cool color effect, similar to what you get with a Lomo. 

Cross processing was born.

It also happens that the fashion industry, not satisfied of making women feel like shit for not being able to look like 2 hours of photoshop, also abused of cross processing, to the point that it became a standard way of treating color. 

There is a raging debate among photojournalists on whereas cross processing images is cheating : is making an image more eye catchy lying about reality? We can also argue that black and white is lying...

The result of all this is: you probably look at those nice pictures, and yours with their normal colors look boring compared to it. The fact is, our eyes have been educated to the catchiness of cross processing. 

Now I might sound like I find processing is cheap, but that's not what I mean at all. It's a technique like any other. Use it as you which. 

So how to do it in Photoshop or Gimp? 

The good news is: it's terribly simple. Open an image, let's say this one. I used an official D800 sample, pixels don't make a nicer image, but they allow a lot of quality editing.

JPEG out of the camera, not editing, Nikon D800

We'll turn it into this next picture. I'm not saying one is better, matter of taste. However I'll show you how to do it.

Cross processed as you can see in every magazine.

STEP 1: create a duplicate layer of your image

STEP 2: open the color curves windows

STEP 3: select the red channel, and do as follows

STEP 4: select the blue channel, and do as follows. Do green last because your fine tuning will be done with the green.

STEP 5: select the green channel and do as follows. Be gentle with the green. 

Ok so now the color job is nearly done. Fine tune to make sure the skin tone doesn't come up totally weird and click OK.

STEP 6: you now have 2 layers, the normal image and this one. If the color change didn't change luminosity to much, leave the layer mode to normal. If it did, select color as a layer mode, so that it only impact colors and not the light.

STEP 7 (Optional): in order to give that slightly washed away one and make it a little warmer, you can add (I did it on our example) a yellow layer. It really is a plain yellow layer, rather green yellow than orange yellow (a chick yellow would work). Just put it on top of all, and reduce opacity to around 5%. 

That's it ! You know digital cross processing. Told you was easy :) Up to you to make the little changes to adapt it to your photo. Remember: a catchy effect is not a nice picture, a nice picture is a great subject treated in a meaningful an impacting way, which you can do with your Iphone.

Last but not least, don't mix up cross processing and film: film can lead to totally normal colors if treated the right way. Having cool tones with film is a matter of film characteristics and developing. The next shot for example, it not edited at all. It's just how that film react in that light.

Fuji Pro 400H film. NO cross processing.

No comments:

Post a Comment