If you’ve ever seen photos that have intense colours and high contrast or at least have colours that are out of the ordinary, then chances are it is the result of a famous technique called the Cross Processed style.
Here are some examples of crossed processed photos from Flickr:
Photo credit: laullon
Photo Credit: Sifter
Photo Credit: HKmPUA
Photo Credit: etrusia_uk(away)
Photo Credit: HKmPUA
Photo Credit: Erik J. Gustafson
Photo Credit: zzzack
When perfect photos are boring…enter cross processing.
Cross processing techniques have existed since the early 1960′s when it was discovered that processing film in the wrong chemicals produced pictures with unnatural colour and contrast shifts. A common technique was shooting with E6 (slide) film and then processing in C41 (negative) film chemicals. However, with the many combinations of film stock and processing techniques available, numerous types of effects were possible. The final results of cross processing were also quite unpredictable, which added to the excitement…you never knew what you were going to get.
Cross Process in fashion
Cross processed photos are often used in magazine and billboard advertising and were very much in vogue during the 1980′s and 90′s for fashion photography where the arty, surreal look with strong colours, high contrast and skin tones set them apart from regular photographic techniques.
Classic cross processed photos, based on the original photographic techniques tend to have high contrast highlights, with bluish shadows, reds appearing as magenta and highlights with a yellowy green tinge. These colour and contrast shifts are quite easily to replicate with Photofiltre.
Here’s how to do it…
Cross over into the cross processed zone with Photofiltre.
Though there are many ways to manipulate colour and contrast with Photofiltre, but I’ve found the Photofiltre plugin Histogram Editor to be an excellent way for creating cross processed style photos. Download the Histogram Editor plugin from the main Photofiltre website here:
1. Extract the file: histogramme.pfl
2. Copy it to the Photofiltre plugins folder (C:\Program Files\PhotoFiltre\Plugins)
3. Restart Photofiltre to make the plugin active
4. Histogram editor should appear in the Filter>>Plug-in menu.
Ready to roll.
Open up your picture…then…
Open the Histogram Editor Filter>>Plug-in>>Histogram…
Starting the Histogram Editor. Photo Credit: “Keep it Cool” by beX out loud
Histogram Editor box.
Start with the RED color.
Slide the lower triangle adjustments that control red highlights and shadows towards the centre. Click the PREVIEW button as you go to see the effect of the adjustment, you’ll want to increase the red saturation.
Next do the GREEN colour. Once again slide the bottom pointer towards the middle and Preview the result. Increase the green saturation
Lastly, do the BLUE colour. For this, adjust the side adjustments slightly towards the middle. Preview the result.
Click OK, when you’re satisfied with the result.
Principles of creating cross processed photos.
If anything, the driving principle behind cross processed photo’s is NOT to have perfect colours, perfect contrast and balance… but to have photos that stand out from the ordinary with bright colour shifts and high contrast. Thus, there is no right or wrong way to create a cross processed photo, but when people ask you how did you get those interesting colours, then you know you’re on the right track.
Using the Histogram Gamma control.
In addition to changing the position of input/output levels of the histogram, you can also try changing the straight line to more of a curve with the Gamma adjustment of each colour.
The procedure is much the same…start with the RED colour and turn up the intensity then to the GREEN turn up the intensity and finally the BLUE which needs to be reduced slightly.
Changing both Gamma and colour input/output controls produces interesting results.
Using the Equalisation setting.
Try swapping the Adjustment setting from Linear/Gamma to Equalization and see the effect. If you like what you see then keep it and click OK. If not, then change it back to Linear/Gamma.
Make multiple variations and choose the best.
It’s worth making multiple variations of the same photo… each with a slightly different style. This way you have a choice of many cross processed styles to select from when the time comes to choose.
Duplicate the image by using Image>>Duplicate to make a copy of the original, then work with the duplicate copy.
Six styles of cross processed photo made with Photofiltre histogram plugin. Which one do you like?
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on creating cross process style photos using Photofiltre..but wait there is more! coming in Part 2, more ways of creating cross processed style photos with Photofiltre.
Links to Cross Processing: