photoshop creative

How to distort colours for a cross-processing effect in Photoshop

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
June 20, 2012

A free tutorial on manipulating colour using the Curves adjustment layer for a cross-processing effect


Cross processing effect


Cross process effect

Step 1 – Apply red

Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Curves to edit colour. Select the Red channel and create an ‘S’ shape by dragging the line of the graph. The amount of red variation is personal preference.

Step 2 – Adjust green

Select the Green channel from inside Curves and apply a similar ‘S’ shape. The more the curve is bowed the more contrast and colour is added to your image.

Step 3 – Increase blue

Select the Blue channel and apply a reverse ‘S’ shape to the graph than what was done with the Red and Green channels. This gives shadows a tint of blue that’s distinctive with cross processing, but there are no rules to this effect.

Step 4 – Boost contrast

Add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer and increase the Contrast slider to 20. Set Brightness to 15 to strengthen the highlights. This gives your image the authenticity needed, with high-contrast tones and tinted shadows.