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In Photoshop CS5 Essential Training, author Michael Ninness demonstrates how to produce the highest quality images with fantastic detail in the shortest amount of time, using a combination of Photoshop CS5, Adobe Bridge, and Camera Raw. This course shows the most efficient ways to perform common editing tasks, including noise reduction, shadow and highlight detail recovery, retouching, and combining multiple images. Along the way, Michael shares the secrets of non-destructive editing, utilizing and mastering Adobe Bridge, Camera Raw, layers, adjustment layers, blending modes, layer masks, and much more. Exercise files are included with the course.
One of my favorite visual effects especially when working with black and white images is to add a little bit of grain or film grain back into the image. Typically in Photoshop you would use something called the Add Noise filter on a separate layer and then play with blending modes and so forth. Camera Raw especially in the new version of Photoshop has made this much easier to accomplish. There's actually an Effects panel over here on the right. We'll go ahead and click on the fx icon. You'll see they've added this new Grain effect. Now to see this in best results, we're going to go ahead and zoom up to 100%. I'll just do Command++ or Ctrl++ a couple of times, or 50% is fine.
Just enough to be able to see the grain pattern at a particular nice zoom level. Now what's nice about the grain effect too, you can see here we haven't done any retouching for skin, and if we add some grain back in, it can actually lower the contrast of the acne issues that we're seeing here. So I'm going to take that Amount slider and just really crank it up, quite a bit. I'm going to start with an Amount of 50 and you can see it's like using old standard film, each brand of film in the old days. The film had a signature grain pattern and so with these three sliders you can actually recreate a lot of those different film patterns or grain patterns that you may have been used to, if you used to shoot film.
Of course, it certainly has a lot of creative effect and power as well. So I can adjust the Size of the Grain and of course the Roughness of the Grain as well. So you really have a lot of creative control here. It's really no right or wrong setting. It just depends on what effect you are trying to achieve. So I kind of like using a lower size and roughen it up a little bit and then making the Amount as pretty high. Now if I zoom up a little bit more, let's go ahead and click the Plus button here, to 100%, you can see getting a nice really cool, noisy gritty look and I kind of like that.
Again, this is all nondestructive, you can go back and change the values at any time and then I'll give you kind of a bonus tip. I actually like combining this with a Graduated Filter Effect to give it something, what some people call a high key glow effect where the highlights are kind of glowy but you still have this grittiness in the mid tones and the shadows. So let's do that. Let's go back to Fit in Window by double-clicking on the Hand tool. I'm going to switch to the Graduated Filter tool and I'm going to take the Clarity all the way down to -100. I'm just going to go ahead and drag down from the top, holding down the Shift key and dragging out the Gradient all the way to the length of the image.
You can see what that did is it really soften the highlights and smooth them out and gave it kind of a nice glow effect. Well it really looks like the light is being diffused, coming in here from the upper left hand corner. I'll turn the Overlay off so we could able to see the little gradient, drawing of the chrome there. We'll turn the Preview checkbox off. Here's before and there's after. So again, just a nice way to add a nice subtle highlight key glow effect and combined with the grain, the new feature in the Effects panel there, it gets some really interesting creative effects very quickly without a lot of work.
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