Happy Birthday, America

In my effort to better understand photography, film, and color, I wanted to dissect Paint Shop Pro X5’s filters used to create these photos.  This seems as good a day as any to go exploring.

The effect shown above was easier to do than I’d remembered.  I used the Instant Effects palette (new in PSP X5, and rather cool).  From the palette, I selected “Film Styles” from the drop-down menu, and then “Instant film.”  Interestingly, “Film Styles” has several options that aren’t available from the “Effects > Photo Effects” menu.

I attempted to replicate the effect through various Film Look, Creative Filter, and Retro Lab options; increasing saturation and making depth of field adjustments; and adding a picture frame—all to no avail.  Turns out you can get the Instant Film effect by choosing Effects > Photo Effects > Time Machine > Cross Process.  Even the frame is added.

The next question is, what is Cross Process?  From Corel/PSP:

Cross-processing is a modern photography technique that creates unique color effects by mismatching the film and the chemicals used to develop the film. For example, you can achieve this effect by processing slide film in chemicals designed for color negative film. Cross-processed photos are often characterized by skewed colors, high saturation, and extreme highlights.

Since I’m drawn to photos with high saturation, it’s no wonder I like this effect.  Still, I’m not sure how instant film equates to mismatched film and chemicals, but there you have it.  The instant film I remember was created by the old Polaroid cameras.  I don’t recall the pictures being overly saturated, although the colors were often skewed.  Somehow, I doubt color skewing was a purposeful effect.

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