Authentic film grain with Photoshop


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StreetShooter

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#1
After falling in love with the beautiful film grain obtained using Ilford Delta 3200 film, I decided I had better learn how to do it in Photoshop, or I would be at high risk of starting to mess with smelly chemicals.

(See http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=38982)

My usual method of simulating film grain was simply to add Gaussian Noise to the image. This proved VERY unsatisfactory at reproducing the look and feel of the Ilford film. So I had to find another way. The problem was that the noise was too fine and too evenly distributed. I needed to create bigger grains, and have them selectively appear more in the darker areas.

Browsing through the options revealed that PS has an Artistic filter called (duh!) Film Grain *slaps forehead*. OK Let's try this out.

First you choose a nice closeup shot, taken at high ISO:



Then you convert to B&W using the LAB mode method:



Oops, Auto Levels overdid it. Adjust the curves a bit:

 

StreetShooter

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#2
OK, let's try applying the Film Grain filter, using the default settings:



Yucks. Film does not look like that.

OK, let's create a new layer and work on the new layer. We'll try changing the settings. Bump the Grain to 20 (maximum). We want golfball grain, remember. Reduce Highlight Area to 0, and Intensity to 0. OK, let's see what we get:



Aaaaaaahhhhh! What happened to my picture? OK let's use the opacity slider to reduce the effect. Ahhh, that's slightly better, but not quite there:

 

StreetShooter

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#3
Now, let's see... what else can we try? OK we can try changing the blending mode (default Normal). Let's change that and see... After much experimentation, turns out "Soft Light" gives the best result:



Yeah. Beautiful grain. Phew... no need to learn how to develop and print B&W photos.... not yet anyway.

OK Summary:

1. Convert picture to B&W (suggest using this action).

2. Create a new layer.

3. Use Filter > Artistic > Film Grain. Recommended setting: Grain 20, Highlight Area 0, Intensity 0.

4. Set Blending mode to "Soft Light".

5. Set Opacity to 25% - 50% (depending on taste).

6. Flatten Layers.

That's it!
 

Gunjack

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#4
Great attempt, quite close but I am not totally convinced, somehow lacks something(greater perceived grain sharpness?/3-dimensionality etc). Will still be developing my B&W film for the real thing, haha... not that hard too, actually.
 

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#10
thanks for sharing... hopefully we'll go try and revert if we find better methods!

cheerios
 

ed9119

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#12
yeah, thanks for the valuable sharing SS. So how do i get to the BW conversion after downloading it....sorri PS idiot....couldnt find it under image or filters
 

StreetShooter

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#13
Open Photoshop.

In the upper right corner of the Actions palette, there is a small right arrow. Click on it and there will be a dropdown menu, of which one of the choices would be to "Load Action". Click on that, and navigate to the folder where the .ATN file is. Click on that and you're done.

Now, with any picture, just click on the action, and it will convert the picture to B&W.

BTW, you can double click on the action to edit its properties, and assign a function key to it. I use F2.
 

coke21

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#14
ed9119 said:
yeah, thanks for the valuable sharing SS. So how do i get to the BW conversion after downloading it....sorri PS idiot....couldnt find it under image or filters
Try this, after downloading the .atn file, open your photoshop folder.
Look for presets and then photoshop actions.

So it should be c:/.../photoshop7.0/presets/photoshop actions.

Copy the downloaded file and paste here.

Then under the tools bar, activate your action tab. There is a triangle in the circle icon on the top left of that tab. Press it and a new tab comes up. choose load action.

After that you can use the preset action. Hope this helps.
 

roygoh

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#15
Do you think this would work:

Select the high speed film that has your favourite grain structure.
Shoot a grey card with this film.
Scan the film and use that as the basis for blending the grain onto your digital photos, using the steps outlined by streetshooter.
 

tsdh

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#16
Streetshooter, excellent attempt. Altough not as good as the real one, but still usable. Until today, I have never seen any successful method of imitating film-grain using Photoshop.
Real film grain has certain characteristic, i.e.:
- the grain size gradually varied from hi-light to shadows.
- the grain density gradually changes from hi-light to shadows.
At shadows the grain is bigger and more dense than that on the hi-light part.
While using Photoshop, we can only get an evenly distributed grain, non-variable grain size and density.
 

Neo

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#17
Thanks for sharing, StreetShooter! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
 

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