Saturday, 5 June 2010

Cross Processing effects

I love that cross-processed look that I see in so many old photos. You know that look? The oversaturated, high contrast, slightly "off colour" look? This look is a big feature in the "Lomo" movement, which uses"cross processing" to achieve this effect. Do you know why it's called cross processing? It's from the days when film was developed by using chemicals. Different chemicals were required for specific types of film, and if you used the "wrong" type, the result was some interesting effects. The effects can look pretty cool in my opinion, but then I like "arty" looking photos. I guess the look isn't for everyone though.

Here is a photo before and after I gave it a cross processed look.

Today I decided to make a Paint Shop action which would do it automatically for any photo that I wanted to use it on. I don't normally use actions, but thought I'd give it a try and, although it still needs some tweaking, the end result is getting closer to what I like. If you'd like to have a play with it, you can download my action here. 

How to use the action
Download it and install it in your PSP scripts folder
Open your photo in PSP and select the lomo effect script from the list
Select run
A resize box will pop up - resize your image to about 2000px wide for best effects
Next a levels box will pop up - take the mid tone slider and slide it to the right until the value in the middle box is about 190
In the curves pop up box move the points so you get a slanted "s" shape
In the blend mode pop up box, select the hue blend mode and set opacity to 40%
Next the unsharp mask box pops up - you can stop the script here if you don't want to sharpen, or alter the values to what you need.

I'd love to see what you come up with!
If you want to do it manually, here is how you can go about doing this in Paint Shop Pro. It will also work in Photoshop, but the command names might be different.

Step 1 - make a vignette
Use selection tool to draw a circle freehand in centre of your image
Set the feather to say 80 or 90px
Invert the selection
Make a new adjustment layer - levels
Take the mid tone slider and slide it to 190
Flatten the image

Step 2 - Create the cross processed effect
Create a new adjustment layer - curves
Adjust the sliders to give you a slanted s
Flatten the image
Make a new layer
Flood fill it with black
Merge it using HUE mode and opacity at 40%
Flatten the image

Step 3 - Sharpen (if desired) and save
Use the unsharp mask tool with settings radius 20, strength 40 and clipping 10

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