PSC13: Adding Real Grain
The goal for many digital photographers is to get images that are technically as perfect as possible, images that are sharp, in focus and have as little noise as possible. But that's not necessarily what it's about when it comes to photography. For me it's mainly about the feeling that an image conveys, and technical superiority sometimes gets in the way of feeling. Back in tips from the top floor #19 I already talked about how adding grain to a digital black-and-white picture can add a lot of feeling and belieavability to the shot.
There are many ways to add grain to a picture, you can add noise, or you can simply shoot with a high ISO, but the best and most convincing way that I found is to add real grain from a scanned piece of film. So today I'll share one of my secret tools with you.
Here is the grain file for you to download (11MB, 4679x3119px).
Adding the grain to your image is really simple. Just open both, your image and the grain file in Photoshop. Then with the move tool, just drag the grain onto your picture. This will create a new layer on top of your image that contains the grain.
Now change the blending mode for the grain layer to either Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light or Vivid Light. If the grain is too coarse, you can add a bit of blur to the file, or you can resize the grain layer to make the overall grain smaller.
And last but not least, you can also play with the opacity of the grain layer and dial in as much or as little grain as you like.
Give it a try on your next black-and-white images, and you'll see what a difference a bit of grain can make.