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If you're one of the many photographers who started out with film photography before transitioning to digital. You can surely appreciate the great effort many photographers would go to in order to reduce the appearance of film grain in their photos, choosing films with the smallest grain structure in order to minimize that effect. Of course now in the digital age I guess we've become more nostalgic about that film grain. And so sometimes you might actually want to add a film grain effect into a photo. Let's take a look at how we can do this in Lightroom.
On the right panel in the Develop module I'll scroll down to the effects section, and that's where we can find the film grain effect. The controls are pretty straightforward. We can increase the Amount slider in order to increase the appearance of film grain. I'll go ahead and zoom the image to a one to one view so that we can better see the effect. I can then adjust the size of that film grain, essentially the grain structure, moving to the left we'll have a smaller grain structure and to the right a larger grain structure. And we can also adjust the roughness, this is sort of like clustering or like contrast in that film grain structure.
I lower setting will have a more even, and smaller structure. Whereas a higher setting will have more irregular, and larger structure. And of course once we've decided on the fine tuned effect that we want in terms of size and roughness, we can fine tune the amount. As you can well appreciate, having too strong an effect can be a bit distracting. I'll zoom out here for example and we can see that the image just looks horribly noisy. But if I tone down the amount using a relatively small amount setting, then we can actually get a nice textured effect in the photo.
I'll go ahead and zoom in again to a one-to-one setting at a 100% zoom. And you can see now we just have an interesting texture, a film grain texture, in that photo. Naturally you might not want to add film grain to every photo. In fact you might want to avoid film grain for most photos, but in some cases I think you'll find that whether for nostalgic purposes or just creating an interesting texture. Adding a film grain effect can actually be very nice for certain photos.
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