Heresy--adding grain to digital images

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Pieter12

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I am looking for the best way to add some grain to color digital images, to take off some of the digital curse when making larger prints. I don't need to simulate any particular film look, just want to add convincing color film grain. I have used DXO Filmpack in the past, but the version I have no longer works on my current computer. Buying the current version seems like a bit of overkill just for grain. Is there any other software or technique in photoshop that might work for color?
 

sruddy

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If you have PS I assume you have LRC. The effects panel has a grain slider and you may find presets for film grain as well.
 

markjwyatt

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Grain in digital prints is not always as effective as real grain. Because in digital prints, grain is noise (random), while in film images, grain IS the image (and thus not random noise). The Fujifilm ACROS simulation processed on-camera is said to generate a more realistic grain pattern based on the image, but I am not sure of the extent of its effectiveness.
 

sruddy

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Last time I looked, which may have been three years ago LRC had generic film grain in addition to the generic grain in the effects panel. I us a plugin called NIK by DXO. It has film specific grain simulations.
 
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Pieter12

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Last time I looked, which may have been three years ago LRC had generic film grain in addition to the generic grain in the effects panel. I us a plugin called NIK by DXO. It has film specific grain simulations.

The NIK plug-in is only for black and white, I believe. The lightroom grain is OK, a bit generic. I will compare it to what DXO's film effects and do for grain only as I have downloaded their software as a trial.
 

amam

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What kind of grain are you looking for ? Do you have any "film" with that grain? The easiest way to get color film grain for your own use is to cross process rolls of color film in black and white developer and sample that.
 
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Pieter12

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What kind of grain are you looking for ? Do you have any "film" with that grain? The easiest way to get color film grain for your own use is to cross process rolls of color film in black and white developer and sample that.

Good idea. I have some older Portra 160--I wonder what the concentration and development time would be in Rodinal? I guess I'll need to do some research.
 

MattKing

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If you want emulate colour film grain, most likely it is the de cloud "grain" you are wanting to emulate, not the grain you see when developing the film as black and white.
 

amam

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Good idea. I have some older Portra 160--I wonder what the concentration and development time would be in Rodinal? I guess I'll need to do some research.

You might considering push developing and doing a regular dilution of Rodinal (forgive me I have never used Rodinal so I do not have even a suggestion).
If you want emulate colour film grain, most likely it is the de cloud "grain" you are wanting to emulate, not the grain you see when developing the film as black and white.
Grain is grain, the dude wants grain. Grain is "film" I don't think anyone inspecting the grain of his DIGITAL HOAX is going to remove the magnifying glass and say
"Pieter12, you have deceived us this isn't dye cloud grain this is grain grain." Maybe I am wrong, Pieter12 have fun with your DIGITAL HOAX! and be careful who you show your photographs to.
 

MattKing

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Actually, if you want to try emulating a particular grain, try it both ways - sample the dye clouds, and sample the black and white developed film grain.
The dye cloud sampling will probably look more like what you expect from colour Portra 160, but you might just prefer the different grain from the black and white version.
 

LolaColor

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I've been working very hard recently on emulating the film look for digital cameras and have settled on a grain method that's very close. First let's take a look at some film grain, shot at one stop intervals, scanned at 24MP and presented here at 100% magnification. Top row is the "digital" version, the average RGB values of the extracted film scans in the row below:

01.jpg



I think that most methods of simulating film grain involve taking a grain scan that's been normalised to an average of 128 RGB and then applying an Overlay blend mode. When we do that we get this, and it's very apparent that them middle grey patch is bang on but the amount of grain in the shadows and highlights is not:

02.jpg



Now, here's my method using a grain scan and a PS action. The amount of grain in the shadows and highlights of the digital row (top) is much closer to the film scan (bottom):

03.jpg



Here's how I do it in sRGB colour space in Photoshop:

Acquire a scan of film grain and make sure that it averages out at 128, 128, 128 RGB
Convert this and digital file to sRGB
Place grain layer over the digital file and resize if necessary
Change blending mode to Soft Light
Duplicate grain layer twice so now there are three Soft Light grain layers (the first two of these will take care of midtones and highlights)
Select the last grain layer which will deal with shadows and apply the following effects (not adjustment layers, we only want to alter this third grain layer)
Add HSL effect: Saturation +50
Add Color Balance effect: Yellow midtones -30
This gives use a highly saturated, and slightly warmed grain layer for the shadows
Then double click to bring up Layer Style menu
We're looking for Blend If
Leave "This Layer" at its default but set "Underlying Layer" to 0 0/85. So you're bringing the white slider down to 85, then Alt click to split that slider and bring the left portion all the way down to 0
Depending on the sharpness and resolution of the grain scan and the resolution of the digital image you might want to slightly blur the digital file. None of the fine details in the digital should be smaller/sharper than the actual grain.

That's it, all done! If you record the above as an action (use File>Place Embedded to import grain file) then you can batch apply this to folder of images. Duplicate it and double click the Place command in the action when you want to use different grain.

Let's have a look at a real world example.

Digital file with Portra 160 film emulation:

04 LolaColor emulated.jpg



The same file with Portra 160 grain added as per the instructions above:

05 LolaColor emulated grain.jpg



Kodak Portra 160 film scan:

05 LolaColor Kodak Portra 160.jpg
 

amam

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I've been working very hard recently on emulating the film look for digital cameras and have settled on a grain method that's very close. First let's take a look at some film grain, shot at one stop intervals, scanned at 24MP and presented here at 100% magnification. Top row is the "digital" version, the average RGB values of the extracted film scans in the row below:

View attachment 305532


I think that most methods of simulating film grain involve taking a grain scan that's been normalised to an average of 128 RGB and then applying an Overlay blend mode. When we do that we get this, and it's very apparent that them middle grey patch is bang on but the amount of grain in the shadows and highlights is not:

View attachment 305533


Now, here's my method using a grain scan and a PS action. The amount of grain in the shadows and highlights of the digital row (top) is much closer to the film scan (bottom):

View attachment 305534


Here's how I do it in sRGB colour space in Photoshop:

Acquire a scan of film grain and make sure that it averages out at 128, 128, 128 RGB
Convert this and digital file to sRGB
Place grain layer over the digital file and resize if necessary
Change blending mode to Soft Light
Duplicate grain layer twice so now there are three Soft Light grain layers (the first two of these will take care of midtones and highlights)
Select the last grain layer which will deal with shadows and apply the following effects (not adjustment layers, we only want to alter this third grain layer)
Add HSL effect: Saturation +50
Add Color Balance effect: Yellow midtones -30
This gives use a highly saturated, and slightly warmed grain layer for the shadows
Then double click to bring up Layer Style menu
We're looking for Blend If
Leave "This Layer" at its default but set "Underlying Layer" to 0 0/85. So you're bringing the white slider down to 85, then Alt click to split that slider and bring the left portion all the way down to 0
Depending on the sharpness and resolution of the grain scan and the resolution of the digital image you might want to slightly blur the digital file. None of the fine details in the digital should be smaller/sharper than the actual grain.

That's it, all done! If you record the above as an action (use File>Place Embedded to import grain file) then you can batch apply this to folder of images. Duplicate it and double click the Place command in the action when you want to use different grain.

Let's have a look at a real world example.

Digital file with Portra 160 film emulation:

View attachment 305546


The same file with Portra 160 grain added as per the instructions above:

View attachment 305547


Kodak Portra 160 film scan:

View attachment 305548

FANTASTIC!! thank you for this post !
 

LolaColor

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Here's a grain file if anyone wants to give it a go:



35mm Portra 400 exposed at +1

EDIT: click through to Google Drive to download the 24MP original
 
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