Bleeding Shadows or Highlights

A effect beloved of wedding photographers of old was to use a soft focus filter either on the camera or over the enlarger lens in the darkroom. When a diffusion filter is added to the lens when taking a picture, the highlights bleed into the shadows, lightening them and blurring the edges somewhat. If that same filter is used in the darkroom when printing a negative, the shadows bleed into the highlights. The technique also works well with images of flowers.

These effects can both be recreated in Photoshop.

The effect is rather dependent on image size. This tutorial is based on an image at 300 dpi.
  1. Make any cosmetic adjustments to your image, Levels, Curves etc.
  2. Duplicate the Background layer
  3. Select Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur and set radius to 5.
  4. Immediately go to Edit> Fade Gaussian Blur and adjust the amount of Blur to suit.
  5. Change the Blend Mode to either Lighten or Darken dependant upon which effect you want.
Tip: If you are using this effect on portraits it can look a bit spooky if the eyes and teeth are blurred. To remove the blur from these areas add a layer mask ( the rectangle with circle in at the bottom of the layers palette) with a small soft brush paint over the eyes and teeth with black selected .
[Click image to enlarge]


Cross Processing

[Click image to enlarge]
Cross processing is the creation of false colours in an image. Traditionally this was created by processing a slide film in negative film chemistry or less commonly vica versa.

The result is high contrast images with blown highlights and their colour balance completely skewed, with a strong green/yellow cast to highlights, blue shadows and magenta reds. Having said that cross-processing can also produce a low-contrast pastel look.

There are numerous ways of producing a cross processed effect in Photoshop. One of the most flexible and none destructive methods is to use the Curves tool to process the individual RGB channels. The secret of success of using this technique is to select the correct blend modes.

1. Open your image and make normal Levels and Curves adjustments.

2. Make sure you have the Layers Palette open

3. Select, Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Curves, a New Layer dialog box opens, now change the blend Mode to Color and click OK. The Curves adjustment Palette opens.

a. Click the Channel selector and choose RED Channel, Apply a shallow ” S” curve.

b. Select GREEN Channel and click on the centre of the diagonal line and push up to create a very shallow curve.

c. Select BLUE channel , drag the right hand end of the diagonal like down 1 square, drag the lower lefthand end up 1 square.

4. The image can be tweaked by opening a further Curves adjustment layer this time set the Blend Mode to Luminosity, select Layers>New Adjustment Layer>Curves, now change the Blend Mode to Luminosity. Introduce an S curve to adjust contrast if required.

5. Select Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color>Mode=Color, click OK. When the Color Picker opens enter the # “e5ec0c” this is a lime green colour, click OK. Reduce opacity to about 10 - 25% or to suite

6. All these adjustments can be tweaked to produce the effect you find most pleasing, don’t be afraid to experiment.