We have another Photo Premium tutorial exclusively available to Premium members today. In this tutorial, we are going to take in-depth look at transforming a high-end, high key fashion image into something more special by recreating a cross-processed look in Photoshop. Learn more at the jump!
What is Cross Processing?
You’re probably used to seeing this effect in fashion magazines since it’s often used in the field to create a sophisticated, glamourous look, however this effect is not originally digital and was really famous in the 60’s. In fact, this effect came from a mistake during the film process in which slide film was accidentally process in color negative film chemicals. Nowadays, we try to recreate this effect using digital color correction techniques, making the process much faster and easier to control. I like to use it to create some extra impact or even to give some more depth and feel to an image.
The secret of this tutorial is actually the way we’re going to color correct the image. Some people use different methods but I found this one to be the most effective one.
To create an effective cross processed look, we must know what’s behind it, meaning we need to understand what makes a cross processed image different than a regular one. The best way to do this is analyze some images and use them as reference. Examine their histograms and compare them to similar images. I encourage you to do this, but for this example, I’m here to show you the steps.
The first thing we need to do is create a new Curves adjustment layer and select the Red channel. We want to boost the reds on the highlights by pushing the top right point a little bit to the left.
You’re going to see a considerable increase in the amount of red in the general image and we only want it in the highlights zone, so create another point in the shadows are and push it down.
Now we have a new problem, when we pushed down the reds on the shadows we modified the entire curve, so let’s boost the reds on the highlights again by creating a new point in that are and pushing it up and a little bit to the left.
Let’s move on for another channel but we’re going to leave the green for the end since it’s going to be really important to fine tune the skin tone in the brighter areas. That’s something I like to do last since it really depends on the image we’re working on.
So let’s select the Blue Channel. The idea here is turn the lighter areas warmer and the darker areas cooler, by decreasing the blues in each area respectively. By doing that we’re creating more impact and a nice contrast on the image. Use the image below as a reference.
Now you might want to create more contrast in the image by turning the shadows darker and the lights brighter, if so select the RGB channel and play a little bit with the curve, however I don’t think it’s necessary for this image.
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