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how to create "film grain" in digital pictures?


Hartmut-2
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Thanks a lot for the examples of my picture with some "grain" - this is something I had not expected to see.

To be honest, I like most the one made with the Alien Skin software. It has for me the most natural look - the grain is not so obvious, but it is available - very natural I think.

Again thanks for the thoughts in regards to not adding grain to digital pictures ... Yes I understand the arguments and I think I will follow such arguments as well in many cases .... But I think, one can and should use the full potential of the new techology; including simulating the more traditiohnal look ... why not. Finally it was interesting for me and hopefully as well for some other people in this forum to see so many different ideas, thoughts and as well some different examples to such a subject. Nevertheless - to know how to simulate some older film look even with modern digital cameras is not too bad. I'm sure I will use such technique for some selected pictures where I think it fits to the picture and the content.

Before I can do this, I have to find out more about the different tools, techniques and options I learned from you in this thread ! But all this are very good starting points!

... a lot of experiment and learning ahead of me ... most likely including some photoshop knowledge .

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Hello Rob, let me ask you one additional question: You mentioned explicitely that you used 640 ASA and - 240 dpi ! Is this as well some kind of key for the look in this picture? I used for the picture of the car as well 640 ASA, but for printing I use always 300 dpi and for pictures I held on th PC , just 72 dpi.( because I thought monitors cannot show more than 72 )

Why 240 dpi? Wheat is the special effect of this? or is it just by chance? and has not a specific background or relation to the very soft and natural look of the picture. ?

Thanks ,

Hartmut

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  • 4 years later...
IMHO, you cannot create film grain in digital photographs.

 

You can get close, by using software such as Alien Skin Exposure, but it's not the same as using film. And never will be.

 

 

Hello, I disagree with that information. In the past was true, because the only way to simulate film grain digitally was using Photoshop native noise, and it really sucks!

But today many companies offer "real" scanned film grain, applied by patterns usually in overlay mode, and believe me, the final result is so authentic.

I prefer those from Imagenomic RealGrain and EyesMeal Film-Effect-Photoshop, both offer so convincing film grain.

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Hello, I disagree with that information. In the past was true, because the only way to simulate film grain digitally was using Photoshop native noise, and it really sucks!

But today many companies offer "real" scanned film grain, applied by patterns usually in overlay mode, and believe me, the final result is so authentic.

I prefer those from Imagenomic RealGrain and EyesMeal Film-Effect-Photoshop, both offer so convincing film grain.

 

You also have to consider this thread is from 5 years ago.

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Hello, I disagree with that information. In the past was true, because the only way to simulate film grain digitally was using Photoshop native noise, and it really sucks!

But today many companies offer "real" scanned film grain, applied by patterns usually in overlay mode, and believe me, the final result is so authentic.

I prefer those from Imagenomic RealGrain and EyesMeal Film-Effect-Photoshop, both offer so convincing film grain.

 

But it is still a digital image made to look like film - more or less...If you want film effect,shoot film.

Edited by jaapv
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This has become easier and better in the past 5 years. Some options include:

- Lightroom 4 or 5 (grain slider)

- Nik Color Efex Pro & Silver Efex Pro

- VSCO Film LR4 Toolkit

- Totally Rad RadLab (Grainstorm)

- DxO Filmpack

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It has, but it beats me why one woyld wan to do it, except for special effects. I mean, I am not going to try to make an oil painting look like an aquarel, would I?

 

While the recent post on this old thread is a bit cheeky, given it is five years old and we all know things have moved on, the use of grain is still a reasonable proposition.

 

What the 'new' digital grain can't do is moderate the grain as the density of the image increases, so there is no variation where grains falls off into the denser highlights, it is a uniform veil over the image. But it whether it is accurate or not, with certain types of photograph the eye still wants something to latch onto, a texture to relieve the boredom of endless smooth tone, or a texture to recreate the sense of a rawer image, or even get just a bit closer to a film image that is preferred. Even close is better than not at all.

 

So I think the snooty attitude towards using digital grain ignores the creative nature of simply using a structure in the image to convey expression, to remove the image from the illusion of strict reality and make it your own interpretation of the subject. It can be the difference between pressing the shutter as a technician, or as an artist.

 

Steve

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Seems a fine line to distinguish adding a 'grain' effect after-the-fact versus, say, deliberately using high ISO on a Monochrom to create a more textured result.

 

Neither approach requires a film comparison; rather these are among numerous creative decisions one can make on a pic by pic basis.. I think the use of the term 'film grain' is problematic, not the effect itself, which could just as easily have another description.

 

There are myriad 'looks' and actions shared between film and digital, sometimes just with different names, including variations on 'dodging' and 'burning', toning, tonal shifts, vignetting, use of baryta papers, etc.

 

It's all about the final result IMO, regardless the approach. I ignore the film/digital comparisons and use any tool necessary to create the print I want.

 

Jeff

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While the recent post on this old thread is a bit cheeky, given it is five years old and we all know things have moved on, the use of grain is still a reasonable proposition.

 

What the 'new' digital grain can't do is moderate the grain as the density of the image increases, so there is no variation where grains falls off into the denser highlights, it is a uniform veil over the image. But it whether it is accurate or not, with certain types of photograph the eye still wants something to latch onto, a texture to relieve the boredom of endless smooth tone, or a texture to recreate the sense of a rawer image, or even get just a bit closer to a film image that is preferred. Even close is better than not at all.

 

So I think the snooty attitude towards using digital grain ignores the creative nature of simply using a structure in the image to convey expression, to remove the image from the illusion of strict reality and make it your own interpretation of the subject. It can be the difference between pressing the shutter as a technician, or as an artist.

 

Steve

So you are talking about adding texture, on which I quite agree. I am talking about imitating film, which is quite a different proposition. Which is what the old OP was about.
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We spent years trying to minimise grain ...

 

Case by case for me. That's one of many reasons I used different formats (and film/developers) from 35mm to LF, and even within a given format, each pic (or series) required its own treatment.

 

I know some folks who hated grain and routinely did what you said, but I liked it for some images, and not for others.

 

Not much has changed for me, other than the tools (and terminology) to get there.

 

Jeff

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