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Gimp Tutorial: Cross Processing

How to use Gimp to create the Cross Processing effect: the colors becomes bleached, dark tints become blueish, light tints turns yellowish.

Italian Web master: Bad English, but good tutorials.

Cross Processing is also known with the name X-Pro. It is a technique that has born in traditional photography. It has been discovered accidentally, by developing a positive film with a chemical solution for negative. It is possible to simulate a cross processing effect easily with Gimp and few steps. Cross Processing can give interesting results in street photography and give the better results with bright pictures with an high contrast. Traditional X-Pro give always an unpredictable result, that is impossible to obtain with digital manipualtion, so feel free to change any parameter of this Gimp Tutorial as you want, there is nothing wrong when you cross process a photo.

normal photo

Without Cross Processing

orton effect

With Cross Processing

I'll use a photo taken during the Cortina Snowkite Contest, but you can also have great results if you shoot in the city.

Open the photo in Gimp, than duplicate the layer. You have to move the mouse cursor over the actual layer on the Layers window, click Right Mouse button 🠞 Duplicate Layer.

fisrt step of cross processing, duplicate background

Be sure that you are working on the upper layer. In this step you will change color curves three times, one for each color channel. Each one of the following settings can be tuned as you like, as I said above Cross processing effect is really unpredictable. Anyway I suggest you to follow our parameters as a general rule: If a curve has a shape, you can do it more or less steep, but you should keep a similar shape.
Open Colors 🠞 Curves and setup all the three color channels before press OK. You must change the colors on the Channel dropdown menu.

Gimp curves for cross processing red green blue

The next step in this Cross Processing tutorial for Gimp is to merge down the upper layer, choosing HSL Color as blend mode, leaving the opacity 100%, then move the curson on the upper layer and click Right Mouse Button 🠞 Merge Down.

merge down Gimp's layer

Now you have to create a new blank layer: in the layer window click with Right mouse button 🠞 New Layer then press Ok.

new layer

Select the Bucket Fill Tool, then change Foreground Color as the following one.

add a yellow layer for better cross processing

Select the New layer and click anywhere with Bucket Fill Tool, the layer must be completely yellow, then choose Soft Light as Blend mode, set opacity to 10%, then Right Click 🠞 Merge Down.

merge down yellow layer

Open Colors 🠞 Curves and setup a curve like the following one:

curve for good cross processing

Create a new blank layer: in the layer window click with Right mouse button 🠞 New Layer then press Ok.

new layer

Select the Bucket Fill Tool, then change Foreground Color as the following one.

add blue layer for better cross processing

Select the New layer and click anywhere with Bucket Fill Tool, the layer must be completely blue, then choose Overlay as Blend mode, set opacity to 20%, then Right Click 🠞 Merge Down.

last step of cross processing with gimp, blue overlay level

Now the cross effect is finished, If you want a more oldschool effect, you can add an HSV Noise (Filters 🠞 Noise 🠞 HSV noise). If you like this effect you could also be interested in Two-Strip Technicolor effect for Gimp.

normal photo

Without Cross Processing

orton effect

With Cross Processing

If you liked this tutorial, you can press the back button down there, and you will find all the many other guides we wrote about photo editing with Gimp, or you can go there to take a look to our photography tutorials.

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