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Now that we know a few different filters that we can use in order to create the film grain effect, here what I want to do is dig a bit deeper. I want to take a look at how we can create a more realistic grain effect by working with multiple layers, masks in blending modes. So with this portrait here let's go ahead and zoom in on it so that we can focus in on the detail that we've and then let's start off by copying our Background layer. To do that press Command+J on a Mac or Ctrl+J on Windows, we'll go ahead and name this layer grain.
Next, before we actually add the grain to this layer, what we're going to do is create a Mask which is based on the Red Channel in our Channels panel. In order to do that we can either click to the Channels panel and then hold down Command on a Mac, or Ctrl on Windows, and then we can click on the Red Channel, that will activate that channel as a selection. Or, if you want to do that by way of a shortcut what you can do is if you're in the Layers panel you can just press the keys Command+Option+3 on a Mac, or Ctrl+Alt+3 on Windows, that will do the exact same thing.
All right, well now that we've leave activated that Red Channel as a Mask we're going to go ahead and click on the Add Layer Mask icon. At this point I'm sure you're thinking, okay well, why are we doing this, why does this matter? Well, you'll see in a moment, so stick with me. Well, now that we've created this Mask we're going to then click back into the image into the pixels here. So click on the image thumbnail in the Layers panel, next, go to the Filter pulldown menu, here we're going to choose one of our options. Let's try Noise, we'll go to Noise, and then select Add Noise.
Here we can bring up a little bit of our amount of our Noise. We want to bring this up just a touch higher than we're comfortable with. In this case it looks like for this photograph at least on my monitor right around 5 looks pretty good, 5%. We'll apply Gaussian and also Monochromatic, these settings here, and then click OK. So why do we use this Mask, why does this help or why does it matter? Well, if you hold down the Shift key and click on the Mask, you can temporarily disable it, and if I zoom in on the picture you can see that we have the face here and the grain is applied evenly everywhere, that isn't very realistic.
Yet if we Shift-click the Mask again in order to turn it off, you notice that the grain, it isn't applied like back here in the shadows, it's not quite as even, also notice over the eyes that it looks much better. And essentially what this Mask does for us is it limits where this grain is going to come through onto this photograph. Another way to see that is to turn off the visibility of the Background layer. By doing that you can see how the grain here is kind of subtly applied based on the Brightness value of the photograph to different areas of the picture.
When it comes to adding Film Grain, this technique is awesome. It helps out in huge ways. Sometimes what you might have to do is click in your Mask and then press Command+I on a Mac, or Ctrl+I on Windows, to invert it. So you'll want to experiment with that with certain images, with this image we don't need to do that. All right, well next what I want do is I want to copy this layer, disable the Mask, and then change the blending mode. To do that we'll press Command+J on a Mac, Ctrl+J on Windows.
We'll go ahead and rename this layer, Soft Light, because we're going to be using some Soft Light blending here. In this time we're going to hold down the Shift key and click on the Mask to disable it, the Grain is currently applied everywhere. But this time rather than using a Mask to kind of limit or blend the grain in, we're going to use a Blending mode. So if you navigate to the Blending mode pulldown menu here and choose Soft Light, you'll see that what this will do for us is it'll bring this grain in, but it will do so by creating nice contrast and color.
Here, we'll decrease the opacity because it's a bit too high, and then if we click on this Eye icon you can see the before and after. Now a lot of these effects are going to be subtle so they may be difficult to kind of see or to pick up on as you're watching this movie. Yet you'll want to experiment with these techniques on your own photographs because these can really help out to create a more realistic and interesting film grain look. If we click on the Eye icons here you can see here is our before, and then now here is our after. There is a completely different mood with this photograph.
Last but not least what I like to do here is to group these two layers together so that I can control the opacity of both layers at once inside of this group. To do that click on one layer, then hold down the Shift key and click on another, then press Command+G on a Mac, or Ctrl+G on Windows, and let's name this group here, grain. Next, as I mentioned previously we could go to the Opacity slider, and we could experiment with this a little bit. And in this case it might be nice just to take that down there a little bit, this also gives me some flexibility when it comes to printing my photographs.
Because if you have a high grain amount say with a soft paper like a watercolor or matte paper, it will look really good. Yet if you're going to print on a glossy paper you may need to reduce the grain amount in order for that print to look really nice. So by having these two layers in a group it just gives me that extra flexibility. Well, here I'm going to go head and zoom out just to make sure the whole image looks good. I think this is looking great, there it is our overall before and after, and then I'll zoom back in so you can see some of the details here, before and after.
And we've now picked up a few more techniques about how we can add film grain to our photographs.
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