Photoshop Action: cross-process your images for stylised portraits

    Photoshop Action: cross-process your images for stylised portraits

    Create a Photoshop Action to create stylised portraits using the cross-processing technique.

    Our final image

    Our final image

    Cross-processing in film photography involved processing film in the wrong types of chemicals, which creates stylised images with different contrast and colours.

    Our starting image

    Our starting image

    This technique is still popular today and can be very easily achieved in the digital darkroom. Here we’ll show you how to create a Photoshop Action that enables you to cross-process your photographs in just the blink of an eye.


    Open the image ‘action_start.jpg’. In order to create our Action which will do all the hard work for us in the future, go to Window>Actions to view the Actions panel. Click the Create New Action icon on the bottom of the palette. Give it a name ‘Cross-processed’. Click the Record button.


    To give our portrait a cooler tonal range and a more cross-processed look, click on the Create New Adjustment Layer icon of the Layers panel and select Colour Balance. Set the Tone option to Midtones, move the Cyan/Red slider to -37 and the Magenta/Green slider to +66.


    Click the Create New Adjustment Layer icon and select Curves. There is a Cross-Processed option in the Curves Preset menu, but the effect is harsh. Instead, create a gentle S-Curve by moving points along the diagonal line until blacks are richer and highlights are brighter.


    Click Stop Recording in the Actions panel. To see how the Action works, drag both Adjustment Layers to Trash. In the Actions panel, select the Cross-Processed option then click the Play Selection button. Our portrait now has a vivid and distorted colour palette.

    This entry was posted on Saturday, April 20th, 2013 at 8:00 am and is filed under Tutorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a comment. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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    | Tutorials | 20/04/2013 08:00am
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