In this tutorial we’re going to look at digital cross processing in Photoshop. Cross processing in an effect that used to be achieved by deliberately processing various types of film with the ‘wrong’ chemical, in order to produce various types of creative colour effects.
For this tutorial I’m going to use an image I captured in Dungeness, England, one of my favourite locations for a shoot. The main settings for the shot were f/9, ISO 100, with 1/100 shutter speed, captured with a Canon 50D DSLR paired with a Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens.
Let’s have a look at the original image we’re going to work on:
Here’s the final cross processed image that we’re going to work towards:
First up we need to create a curves adjustment layer in Photoshop (the adjustment layer icon is located in the bottom of your layers palette), this will generate the curves dialogue box shown below:
We then need to go through and adjust each colour channel (red, green, blue), we can individually select these channels via the drop-down menu at the top of the curves dialogue box. We’ll start with the red channel, adjust the curve so we create a nice gentle ‘S’ shaped curve as illustrated below.
Then we work on the blue channel, this time we aren’t creating a curve, but just raising the bottom point a little, and lowering the top point a touch too, don’t go too far with this, you can see how far I dragged them in the image below:
We now move on to the green channel, creating another ‘S’ shaped curve, similar to the one we produced on the red channel:
Once the curve channels are complete we are pretty much there, but I want to increase the ‘bleached-out’ feel of the image, to do this I adjusted the brightness and contrast of the image. Go to the main menu at the top of Photoshop’s workspace, select Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast. You can see the settings I used below (+4 brightness, +10 contrast):
And that is a wrap, let’s have a look at the final image we’ve created:
This tutorial shows one path to cross process images in Photoshop, but you can be really creative with this and forge your own style, the colour possibilities are endless, so its always best to play around with different curve adjustment to get the mood that you want, and the mood that best suits your chosen image.Back to Top