Introduction: Cross Processed Photos Using a Rainbow.

About: I can't think of a single thing to tell you about me. I'm a boring individual who stays busy to avoid being bored. Please feel free to follow me for the awesome things I sometimes create.

So I wanted to print out some pictures of my dog for my walls, but I didn't want them to just be normal looking. I was looking for something a bit more artistic.

One of my favorite techniques with colored photography was cross processing. Though to be honest most of my attempts prior to the digital world were just really blue images. In fact me and colored film development never got along. So I thought I'd try to recreate that general look without any idea of what I was doing.

So yeah I just sat down on gimp and played until I came up with an image that had the look I was after. A slightly vintage cross processed feel.

The process itself is super easy to accomplish. It only takes a few minutes to do. The result is an interesting and artistic looking photo, all using the colors of the rainbow.

Now cross processing was done initially by using the wrong chemicals to develop film. With the development of digital technology this is usually accomplished using filters in programs like gimp or photoshop. However I wanted something unique and this is what I came up with. Its kind of cross processed but not technically cross processed.

Step 1: Step 1 Duplication

So to begin, well it's always best to start at the beginning. So open an image in Gimp. Then Right click on the layer and duplicate it.

Like I said before. this is super easy. But you have to start some where and we start this with a duplication of our original layer.

Once you have 2 layers both containing your image. Then you can progress to the next step.

Step 2: Step 2: Apply Gradient Map

So the second step is to Apply a gradient map. First select your gradient. In this case I used full saturation spectrum CW. Which is quite literally a rainbow of colors. Once you have selected your gradient. Go to Colors, Then map, Then gradient map.

Always select your gradient first. That's the only suggestion I have when using gradient maps to change images. If you let it go as default it is set to foreground color to transparency. Which usually means you will get a black and transparent gradient mask. While this might have its uses, its not really very good for giving an image a unique look.

In general Gradient maps are useful in creating mood in images. Play around with gold and add gold to your images, or play with blues or make your own gradients and use those. The effects you get can be amazing and the process itself is simple enough.

What a gradient map does is: the left side of your gradient will be mapped to the darkest areas of your image, and the right most colors will be mapped to the lightest colors in your image, the colors in between are mapped from dark to light from left to right. This information is useful when creating your own gradients for use in coloring photos using this process.

Once you select gradient map, the image will become a veritable rainbow that sort of looks like your photo, just very colorfully.

Step 3: Step #: Soft Light

So the next step is simply changing the layer mode from normal to soft light.

I use soft light for gradient maps because it has the best look. Alternatively to get a somewhat more contrast heavy look you can use the mode overlay. But I didn't like how overlay worked with my images. The other layer options all look very unrealistic. Which is why I don;t use any of them.

So change the mode to soft light.

At this point the image still looks too surreal for my tastes, but will fix that simply enough in our last step.

Step 4: Step 4: Finishing the Image.

So this last step is very simple. Just adjust the opacity of the layer. I usually select somewhere between 20% and 60% when using a gradient map. It just depends on the image and the look that I am after. In this case I used 60% approximately.

Now you can right click on the layers, Either the top or bottom one, and select flatten image. Then go to file, export as and save this as a ,.jpg image. And voila, you have a unique photo to add to your wall, just print it and its done.

Now you might be wondering where I learnt to do this. Truth is I probably found a tutorial a long time ago that I watched or read. I usually read Photoshop tutorials and adapt them to GIMP. In this case, I don;t remember where I learnt it, I just did and occasionally I like to play with a photo and just go through steps and see what it looks like on the other end. if i like the result, I record it, if I dislike the result I just don;t save it.

During my normal photo editing process I usually adjust curves, then exposure, then saturation (Sometimes more sometimes less), If I want to bring out details at this point I add an overlay layer of the image in black and white. Then I add a purple gradient map on soft light at 20%.

So that is my editing process, normally, but this was a process to create something a little different. I like the look and its easy to accomplish. Hopefully someone out there can get some use out of my sharing it here.

Thank you for reading.

Step 5: Some Other Examples

Just a few other examples. And While this isn;t a true Cross processed effect its close enough for me.

Colors of the Rainbow Contest

Participated in the
Colors of the Rainbow Contest