How To Add Grain On Lightroom

By | 28/08/2022

The problem with Lightroom’s picture show grain (and how to ready information technology)

Film photography is all the rage at the minute. Information technology has a nostalgic effect that’south been condign incredibly pop all over Instagram. Unfortunately, shooting on moving-picture show is more expensive than ever. Since digital photography came to the mainstream, motion picture stock companies and development houses have been forced to drive their prices up just to stay in business concern. Information technology’s an expensive hobby.

Luckily, there are some things nosotros can do to emulate the look of 35mm picture in digital post-production. I of the easiest means you lot can requite your digital images that ‘picture expect’ without breaking the bank is with a unproblematic moving picture grain outcome. Luckily, Lightroom has this very effect built-in — but information technology’s missing one crucial detail.

For those of us who were inducted into the world of photography after the digital revolution came almost, you might be forgiven for thinking that film grain is more than or less the same every bit digital noise. While they definitely take sure similarities, there are a few pocket-size differences.

Digital racket is a outcome of the individual pixels on a digital camera sensor receiving different amounts of light to their neighbouring pixels. When exposures are low, lite particles (known as photons) are sparse and the camera has to compensate by amplifying this scattered signal.

With film grain, what you’re seeing is individual particles of the chemic crystals spread across the film’s surface. These crystals react to lite, changing color and opacity and recreating the image seen through the lens. For this reason, digital noise is much more than uniform than motion-picture show grain, which is somewhat random and organic-looking.

Regardless of which method you use — analogue or digital — ane thing remains true: the level of noise or ‘grain’ you see corresponds directly to the level of light. Brighter areas are noisier than darker areas, highlights grainier than shadows.

And this is where Lightroom’southward film grain consequence falls short. When you apply a picture grain in Lightroom, it’s applied uniformly across the prototype regardless of exposure. This means your highlights are just as grainy as your shadows, which — when you understand the scientific discipline behind it – makes no sense.

At present nosotros understand the problem, it’s actually surprisingly simple to fix and can be washed in a few easy steps. Before nosotros begin, I recommend applying this event at the end of your editing process, as it requires your RAW file to be converted to TIFF which has less information bachelor should you make up one’s mind to make any changes retroactively.

Begin by applying your film grain to the epitome in Lightroom as normal, then follow the steps below.

Creating a virtual copy in Lightroom

Now, we want to create a 2nd version of the image with the grain removed and so we can blend it with the original. To practice this, select your epitome thumbnail in the bottom panel of Lightroom’south ‘Develop’ interface, right-click, and select ‘Create Virtual Re-create’.

Removing grain from the virtual re-create

You lot should now have two copies of this paradigm in your paradigm ringlet. Select the second image, and then go to the ‘Effects’ panel and slide the grain
back down to zero.

Opening the two images every bit layers in Photoshop

Now we want to open these two images together as layers in Photoshop. To practise this, select both images past selecting one, holding
on Mac) and selecting the 2nd. Then right-click on one of the images and select
‘Edit In’ > ‘Open every bit Layers in Photoshop’.

Renaming and reordering layers in Photoshop

Once Photoshop has loaded the project, check to see which layer is which and name them appropriately. Then make sure that the ‘Clean’ layer (the 1 without grain added) is above the grain layer in your layer stack.

Adding a luminosity mask to the make clean layer

At present, all we need to practise is create a luminosity mask that isolates the highlights so we can show just the brightest areas of the ‘clean’ layer and the ‘grain’ layer everywhere else.

To do this, go to the ‘Channels’ panel and agree
whilst clicking on the ‘RGB’ channel. This volition select all of the pixels with a brightness of higher up 50%.

Now yous can go back to your ‘Layers’ panel, select the ‘clean’ layer and apply a mask. All yous need to practice is click the icon at the bottom of the panel that looks like a rectangle with a circumvolve cut out of it. If you want, you can also reduce the opacity of the clean layer slightly to introduce a tiny bit of film grain back in.

And voila! Y’all know have an authentic grain effect that looks style ameliorate than the standard effect that Lightroom churns out. Just click
‘File’ > ‘Relieve’
(or use the shortcut
CTRL/CMD + S) and your rendered image will load back into Lightroom ready to export.

I promise yous’ve found this quick guide useful and that y’all manage to create better-looking and impressive filmic images in the near future. If yous want to share your results with me, feel free to follow me on Instagram and send me a message. I’k e’er upwards for chatting with other creatives!