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Adding A More Realistic Film Grain Effect

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  #1  
Old 03-14-2009, 04:56 PM
gmitchel gmitchel is offline
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Adding A More Realistic Film Grain Effect

I wrote a recent blog entry on simulating digital film grain. This action set builds on that discussion.

http://www.thelightsright.com/Creati...ilmGrainEffect

I just posted a Photoshop action set that implements some of the ideas from that blog entry.

http://www.thelightsright.com/TLRFilmGrainEffects

The film grain effects start with the basic Add Noise filter. This keeps the action set compatible with older versions of Photoshop. This is applied to a layer with an Overlay blend that's filled with 50% gray. You can intensify the film grain effect by changing the blend to Hard Light or reduce the effect with a Soft Light blend. You can also adjust the layer's opacity.

With an RGB photo, the Add Noise filter is applied separately to the Blue, Green, and Red channels (from bottom to top in the Layers stack). Different settings are used, with the Blue channel receiving the strongest grain effect and the Red channel the lightest. With a Grayscale photo, there is only one channel. The noise in this step has a Gaussian distribution.

The noise is then manipulated to make it clumpier. This is done by applying in turn a Gaussian Blur and the Median filter.

Another pass of Add Noise is applied. This one uses a Uniform distribution for a different pattern. This also helps ensure that there will be noise elements of differing size. This noise is sharpened with USM sharpening instead of being blurred. Sharpening the noise also helps to ensure there is some negative film grain.

The effect of the noise is "rolled off" from the deepest shadows and the brightest highlights. This is done with the layer's Blend If sliders.

This is the first version of the TLR Film Grain Effects action set. Comments about the technique and the results are welcome.

Cheers,

Mitch
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Old 03-14-2009, 06:14 PM
Tareq Tareq is offline
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Re: Adding A More Realistic Film Grain Effect

Thank you very much!

Not sure about that, but i don't see something different or amazing here, unless i don't understand what is film grain or so, but i got some grainy shots from my digital photos that making me to feel they are by film not digital using different ways or filters/actions.
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Old 03-14-2009, 06:48 PM
gmitchel gmitchel is offline
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Re: Adding A More Realistic Film Grain Effect

Most digital film grain ffects tend to be overdone. I have the feeling ost were created by people who never shot film.

Some B&W film was grainy. For example, Kodak Tri-X. Did you try the high grain actions? They'll give you a very grainy look. Especiallyof you adjust the opacity or change the layer blend to Hard Light.

Some B&W film had almost no visible grain. Kodak Panotomic-X, for example. Or the very low ISO Agfa films.

I made the actions with three different settiings to provide varying intensity to the grain effects. Plus, with Photoshop CS3/CS4, you can adjust all of the settings easily, since the actions will use Smart Filters. For earlier versions, you can adjust the action sets.

I was not comfortable using high grain as the default for the samples. When I used to shoot film and process in the darkroom, I avoided Tri-X and other grainy films unless I needed them for a particular effect. I preferred a film like Kodak Plus-X or Ilford for my B&W work because the film grain was more moderate and really only noticeable on bigger enlargements.

I'll think more on your comment, Tareq. Thanks.

Cheers,

Mitch
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Old 03-14-2009, 09:06 PM
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Markzebra Markzebra is offline
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Re: Adding A More Realistic Film Grain Effect

Gmitchel thats actually a fairly good attempt at film grain you've got there in those actions. In terms of Texture and colour, and the way it breaks apart. Its a little uniform maybe? One of the most difficult things to simulate in real film grain, is how the grain responds to different tonal densities in the image. And some form of image filtration is really necessary for this.
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Old 03-15-2009, 01:39 PM
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Salomon Salomon is offline
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Re: Adding A More Realistic Film Grain Effect

what about alien skin ? im quite happy with it but im not an expert in film grain.
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Old 03-15-2009, 02:15 PM
gmitchel gmitchel is offline
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Re: Adding A More Realistic Film Grain Effect

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Originally Posted by Markzebra View Post
Gmitchel thats actually a fairly good attempt at film grain you've got there in those actions. In terms of Texture and colour, and the way it breaks apart. Its a little uniform maybe? One of the most difficult things to simulate in real film grain, is how the grain responds to different tonal densities in the image. And some form of image filtration is really necessary for this.
I agree about the effect of grain in different tonalities in an image.

I use the Blend If sliders to reduce the grain in the shadows and in the highlights. You can adjust them for different effects.

Cheers,

Mitch
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Old 03-15-2009, 05:18 PM
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Markzebra Markzebra is offline
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Re: Adding A More Realistic Film Grain Effect

nah blend-if creates a blurred transition between the different tonal areas - you need a filtration process.

Alien Skin Exposure as Solomon says does OK film grain. But the grain preview in the dialog is completely inaccurate, so you have to take time to run it several times to get it right, and there are other ways.
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Old 03-15-2009, 06:05 PM
Tareq Tareq is offline
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Re: Adding A More Realistic Film Grain Effect

Yes, there are many ways to do that, i even like some shots i have taken at ISO 1600 and 3200 which shows noise no doubt, so i can add grain more if i want to mix with noise and then i can get more realistic film grain.
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Old 03-24-2009, 08:26 AM
ftp-Jeff ftp-Jeff is offline
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Re: Adding A More Realistic Film Grain Effect

I have to do it sometimes for the photographic big boys, that are forced by the agencies to shoot digitally rather than on film.... They also tell me what film grain they want! ie Kodachrome, vericolour, pan x, tri x, all bloody sorts!

What I do is simple! Output the digital file onto the requested emulsion, using my LVT at 10 x 8, res 40 or 30. Process, then onto the drum scanner and scan. Fantastic results!

Photographer happy, agency happy and client happy. Oh, and me happy too.
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Old 03-24-2009, 09:11 AM
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Markzebra Markzebra is offline
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Re: Adding A More Realistic Film Grain Effect

Most people CHOOSE to shoot digital. This is because its more economical on material, the RAW negative gives you more flexibility, you have limitless captures, and sorting images is made so much easier. Photographers are businessmen too. The image out of a Phase One annihilates film in some respects. Although film is unique in the way the analog surface responds to light, and its a pity to have to 'cheat' it. As a comparison one or two musicians, and producers still prefer analog recording equipment, apparently because of its unique warmth and character - even though the end product in both media is now always digital.

I personally think Jeff's method of putting the negative onto an emulsion and then scanning is an interesting, if somewhat long winded, lossy way to do what could be simulated with purely digital processes. Lossy in terms of sharpness, additional spotting and colour accuracy.

It's important to recognise that with all digital capture, introducing some kind of grain structure is important. Many smart Printers do this automatically as part of their process, so many people in the retouching industry only notice when it 'goes wrong'. How ACCURATE this is to the old film grain structure, is not as important as all that, its the fairly non destructive break apart of solid tones and gradations that's the point.

Last edited by Markzebra; 03-24-2009 at 09:18 AM.
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