Recipe 6.3. Adding film grain

In traditional film photography, films of a faster speed, or higher light sensitivity, produce visible "grain" within the final printed image. Although this is often viewed as a shortcoming of fast films, it is also something which can be deliberately exploited with some truly artistic results. It's true that digital cameras, used at a higher ISO setting, produce their own kind of grain, something known as noise. However, in-camera, we have very little control over this phenomenon, and digital noise created with the camera is not as pleasing an effect as the careful exploitation of film grain. Adding the effect of film grain after the event and applying it to a near noiseless image gives us a far greater degree of control over the effect.

1 It's important to apply the Film Grain filter on a duplicate layer, so that layer blending modes can be used to modify the effect. Duplicate the original Background layer by dragging it to the "Create a new layer" icon at the base of the Layers palette (or hit Ctrl/Cmd+J).

2 The Film Grain filter works best on a grayscale layer, so go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate. To experiment with the grain, we're going to use a Smart Filter, so, on the desaturated layer, go to Filter > Convert For Smart Filters. To ...

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