Cross-processing is a popular technique in the film world, where film was deliberatively processed incorrectly. The results were unpredictable, but often included interesting unnatural colors and high contrast. You can simulate this popular technique with Lightroom's Split Toning controls.

Let's start with the photo shown on the left. I'll convert it to grayscale (right) and experiment with the Split Toning pane controls until I get the cross-processing look I'm after. The basic theory is this: You can control the tint and the saturation of the tint applied to the highlight areas of an image separately from those applied to the shadow areas. The Balance slider in the middle controls the range of each. You'll understand the Balance slider better after I show you some examples.

Figure 7-25

Getting It Right

First I'm going to show you how I got the cross-processing look I want, then I'll show you how the Balance slider works by going to the extreme.

To get what you see in Figure 7-26, I did the following:

Figure 7-26
  1. Adjusted the Highlight Hue slider until I got the aqua tint you see in the horses and clouds (the highlights). You can hold the Option (Alt) key while you adjust the slider to more easily determine the color tint.
  2. Adjusted the Shadows Hue slider until I got the magenta tint in the ground and mountains.
  3. Increased the Saturation settings for both the Highlight and Shadows controls to a desired level.

Going to the Extreme

Just so you can see how the Balance slider works, I'm going to crank up my Balance to +100. Now you see that the aqua tint, which before was specific only to the highlight area, has "spread" into the shadows as well. If I slide the slider toward negative values, less and less of the aqua tint will apply to the shadow areas.

Figure 7-27

Here, I cranked the Balance slider the other way, to −100. As you can see, the magenta has "spread" from the shadow areas into the highlights. Again, if I pull the slider the other way, toward the positive values, less and less of the magenta will spill over into the highlights.

Figure 7-28

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