Simulating Film Grain

There’s a big difference between digital noise and film grain. Digital noise (those red, green, and blue dots that appear when shooting at high ISOs) is what we want to avoid (or, at the very least, make less noticeable), because it ruins the image. However, simulating the look of traditional film grain (which doesn’t have those colored dots) is really becoming a popular effect. In fact, there are third-party plug-ins you can buy that specialize in recreating it, but I still do it myself, right in Elements (but I don’t use the lame Film Grain filter, which to me never actually looks like film grain). Here’s what I do:

Step One:

Open the photo that you want to add a film grain look to. Go to the Layers palette and Alt-click ...

Get The Photoshop® Elements 10 Book for Digital Photographers now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.