Split-Toning & Cross-Processing

A couple of days ago I posted an image called “Love in the Mist“, which I’d been trying to simulate into a split-tone to the image. I wasn’t satisfied, even less so when I got a little interest from a follower telling me he’d given up with the process, too. So… I’ve been trawling my books and I’m going to try and write a down and dirty (read QUICK!) Lightroom 6.3 tutorial on how to go about both processes.

Cross-processing is for colour images and was popular, and still is, in fashion photography. This process is the easiest to explain:

  • Get the colour image you want to use and process as you think fit;
  • When you’re done open the SPILT TONING module in DEVELOP;
  • We’ll tackle the shadows first and a green-blue HUE. Play around until you’ve got a satisfactory result. Do the same with SATURATION;
  • When you’re happy with the tones you might want to adjust the BALANCE a tad;
  • Now repeat the process for the HIGHLIGHTS. This time you’re looking for a red-orange-yellow HUE;
  • And that’s it!

It all depends on your eye and/or personal preferences. Experimenting is the best option. Don’t forget to make a virtual copy of the file you’re working on before you start any processing!

Split-toning is for black & white; you’ll be using the same modules in Lightroom. There are three popular split-tone styles: SEPIA, SELENIUM and DUOTONE amongst many others. Let’s see how they work:

  • SEPIA and SELENIUM; yes, you can get lots of sepia presets but sometimes it’s nice to do it on your own;
  • Firstly, tap the V key to convert the image to mono;
  • You just need to use HUE and select a value of between 25 and 40;
  • Now set the SATURATION to your personal taste. The lower values between 20-25 are more subtle;
  • If you want the SELENIUM effect, set the HUE to either 0-10 or 340-360;
  • There’s no need to go over the top with SATURATIONAround 20-25 should suffice, if at all.

DUOTONE is our final stop where we’ll be using both HUE and SATURATION. Here we go:

  • It’s a good idea to “cool down” the shadows and “warm up” the highlights;
  • For WARM HIGHLIGHTS set HUE to 50 and SATURATION to 50, too;
  • For COOL SHADOWS set HUE for 220 and SATURATION to 50;
  • IF you think you need to bring out the HIGHLIGHTS more, try changing the Balance to 20

And that’s about it! Okay… there is a little more:

With all the processes above you may need to add punch to draw more character into the image you’re working on.

  • You’ll be using the three sliders in the BASIC section of DEVELOP module. These are:
  • CONTRAST – increase by as much as +30;
  • CLARITY – increase by +10 to increase grittiness and mid-tone contrast;
  • DEHAZE – if you have it on Lightroom CC v6.3 increase it to +16 otherwise see my note below

HOT TIP: This is the Fuji Freak blog so this ONLY applies to Fujifilm X-System users. If you want to slightly desaturate images in-camera then Olaf Sztaba, a Fujifilm X-System user suggests the following settings:

  1. SHARPENING +1
  2. COLOUR -2
  3. HIGHLIGHT -1
  4. SHADOWS 0 OR -1

This may just save you a little time when using colour  and enhance your cross-processed images. Use at your own discretion!

NOTE: If you haven’t got Lightroom CC then you’ve not got the DEHAZE function, which is very useful tool indeed! There are some clever people out there and there are at least a couple of workarounds and I’ll write about those another time.

I hope you find this informative and useful. I’ve tried to keep it simple and tried to provide suggested settings. There are other ways of doing cross-processing/split-toning and I’d recommend looking in your local library for a book that may go into the techniques in a little more detail. Do experiment and perhaps if you’re following this blog, post a few images for the benefit of other bloggers.

Have fun!

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4 thoughts on “Split-Toning & Cross-Processing

  1. I’m afraid this is a lot of information for me! I hardly ever edit my photos and I’m always overwhelmed. But I’ve seen your pics and they are great!

    Liked by 1 person

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