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I am going to show you a really interesting use for the Add Noise filter. It's a way to add some texture, or graininess, or grittiness to an image, Maybe you want to create the look of an infra- red black-and-white conversion on this particular color photo. So, let's get started. Let's begin by zooming up to 100%. I am going to Command+1 or Ctrl+1 and take that up to 100% view. Let me get the Hand tool by pressing letter H. I am just going to move that image right around there, so I can view a good overview of the subject matter here. The first thing we are going to do is we are going to add an Adjustment layer to convert this to a Black & White image.
First, let's go to the Adjustments panel and click the Black & White adjustment. There is the Default adjustment. It turns out there's a preset in the Black & White list of presets here called infrared, which is a really good start to get us kind of close to what I am thinking about. I think the Yellows are a little bit too hot. It's blowing out the detail of these leaves here. So, I am just going to take that Yellow slider down a little bit to just bring back some detail there, and I want the Magenta flowers here to pop a little bit more, so I'll open that up a little bit. Okay that's a good starting place here.
Now let's go add that grittiness, or that grain. To do that, we are going to go back to the original Background layer, right. This is just an adjustment that convert to the Black & White. It's non-destructive, so it can be turned on and off. We want to do the same type of style treatment to the filter that we are going to apply to the Background layer, so we want to run it as a Smart Filter. We'll go to Filter > Convert for Smart Filters first. That converts it into a Smart Object layer and gives it a little badge there to let you know it's a Smart Object. Let's now go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise, and this is where we get that graininess.
Now how much you add is up to you, and the higher the amount, the less you'll see the original image. So, we want to dial this down until we don't cover up too much of the detail of the image there. And again, the amount you are going to use is depending on not only the resolution of the file but the levels of detail in your particular image, like the big solid areas of similar tone, you can get away with higher noise. Here, if the Noise value is too high, you are going to lose all of the little details of the stems, and the leaves, and so forth. So, I am going to choose, let's say, 15. That's a really nice kind of value for this image, give this a nice texture.
Gaussian, so it's a little bit randomized and then Monochromatic, so it's grayscale. In this case, since it's a Black & White conversion happening because the Adjustment layer won't really matter for the end result. But if you look at the preview here, if we had turned off the Black & White Adjustment layer, this is what the noise would look like. It look colorized. If I turn on Monochromatic, it gets rid of that random color noise. Okay, let's click the OK button. And then last but not least, you still have the option to change how that filter gets blended back into the original image. To do that, you click on the little Blending Options icon for the Add Noise filter here.
We will double-click and what I like to do is change the Blend mode to say Soft Light. It gives you a nice punchy high contrast black & white image, but gives you that grittiness of the grain. You might also try Overlay, one of the two gives you a slightly different look but same idea. And then if it's too intense, too strong in the shadow areas, you can use the Scrubby sliders by placing your cursor over the word Opacity and just clicking and dragging to the left a little bit to lower the overall opacity of the Add noise effect. So, here we are only seeing in the highlight areas and not necessarily in the shadow areas.
So, point being, you have got a lot of flexibility and a lot of control to create this cool effect here, and then I will go back to Soft Light and click OK. So, here's without the Smart Filter. We will turn off Add Noise. And there it is with it. And it just gives you that nice, gritty, grungy feel, as if you've been shooting with high speed film back in the film camera days.
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