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Creating a more realistic grain effect

From: Photoshop for Photographers: Creative Effects

Video: Creating a more realistic grain effect

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.

Creating a more realistic grain effect

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop for Photographers: Creative Effects
Photoshop for Photographers: Creative Effects

67 video lessons · 19325 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
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  1. 3m 0s
    1. Welcome
      59s
    2. Using the exercise files
      53s
    3. What you need to know before watching this course
      1m 8s
  2. 23m 0s
    1. Using Color Balance and Curves to create vivid color
      5m 16s
    2. Creating vibrant and exciting color: part 1
      5m 7s
    3. Creating vibrant and exciting color: part 2
      5m 57s
    4. Increasing color, saturation, and glow with blending modes and filters
      3m 28s
    5. Using Apply Image to enhance color
      3m 12s
  3. 31m 38s
    1. Creating Instagram-like effects with actions
      4m 46s
    2. Improving the impact of color with curves and color balance
      3m 36s
    3. Advanced color toning
      7m 29s
    4. Creating a more uniform color palette
      5m 4s
    5. Setting yourself apart with artistic color
      4m 28s
    6. Creating an edgy, muted, high-contrast look
      6m 15s
  4. 21m 25s
    1. Adding light for emphasis
      5m 26s
    2. Using adjustment layers to brighten and add color
      4m 31s
    3. Using the Lighting Effects filter
      5m 31s
    4. Removing an object from its environment
      2m 37s
    5. Creating a realistic shadow for an object
      3m 20s
  5. 22m 43s
    1. Understanding why blur matters
      1m 38s
    2. Using Field Blur in a traditional way
      2m 23s
    3. Creating "impossible" focus and blur with Field Blur
      4m 35s
    4. Creating Iris Blur effects
      6m 3s
    5. Adding Tilt-Shift Blur effects
      3m 24s
    6. Adding Tilt-Shift to a cityscape
      4m 40s
  6. 19m 46s
    1. Adding pan motion to a photograph
      3m 57s
    2. Creating a radial spin effect
      5m 17s
    3. Adding a radial zoom blur
      5m 12s
    4. Using selections and masks to create a zoom effect
      5m 20s
  7. 14m 9s
    1. Creating a subtle and realistic lens flare
      6m 1s
    2. Increasing drama by using multiple lens flare adjustments
      4m 20s
    3. Enhancing color and tone to make the Lens Flare effect come to life
      3m 48s
  8. 22m 57s
    1. Building creative effects with HDR toning
      6m 10s
    2. HDR toning and layer blending
      5m 33s
    3. Masking HDR toning into specific areas of a photo
      7m 29s
    4. Adding texture and snap to black-and-white images with HDR toning
      3m 45s
  9. 16m 44s
    1. Building a dynamic digital infrared effect
      4m 54s
    2. Combining infrared and HDR toning
      5m 23s
    3. Creating infrared with contrast and sharpness
      6m 27s
  10. 14m 53s
    1. Using the Film Grain and Noise filters
      4m 26s
    2. Creating a more realistic grain effect
      5m 44s
    3. Adding grain to a Smart Object
      4m 43s
  11. 30m 7s
    1. Adding grain and creating a sepia tone
      4m 38s
    2. Burning and dodging a sepia-toned image
      4m 53s
    3. Blending back some original color and adding a border
      4m 23s
    4. Creating a sepia tone and blending in texture
      3m 55s
    5. Adding film grain and more texture
      4m 44s
    6. Creating a distinct color and tone
      3m 36s
    7. Burning and dodging a vintage photo
      3m 58s
  12. 22m 43s
    1. Adding a prebuilt edge
      4m 40s
    2. Hand-painting a border or edge
      5m 44s
    3. Adding borders using custom shapes
      4m 48s
    4. Working with a real film edge
      3m 12s
    5. Adding external frames and borders
      4m 19s
  13. 17m 32s
    1. Building a creative effect with blending and adjustments
      5m 40s
    2. Combining clouds with a portrait for an imaginative effect
      7m 22s
    3. Blending images and graphics together to add visual interest
      4m 30s
  14. 13m 16s
    1. Finding and installing custom brushes
      4m 50s
    2. Using and modifying custom brushes
      5m 23s
    3. Experimenting with custom brushes
      3m 3s
  15. 22m 53s
    1. Why use Photoshop plug-ins?
      1m 4s
    2. Adding borders with PhotoFrame from onOne
      6m 9s
    3. Creating effects with Exposure by Alien Skin
      6m 9s
    4. Enhancing color with Color Efex Pro by Nik
      4m 49s
    5. Using Topaz Adjust to improve colors
      2m 55s
    6. Using VSCO Film with Camera Raw
      1m 47s
  16. 40s
    1. Goodbye
      40s

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