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Thread: Simulating grain

  1. #1
    Member Hank Graber's Avatar
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    Simulating grain

    A test of 3 film look software programs. All 3 were conversions for Tri-X 400.

    I am not so much interested in simulating a film look as I am in giving a little tooth to the micro detail and dithering any trace of smeary, painterly edge artifacts from the raw converter. It makes for a much better looking print or even on screen image.

    Attachment 771


    Attachment 772

  2. #2
    Member Hank Graber's Avatar
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    Re: Simulating grain

    One more - here is Alien Skin Tri-X 400 but with the grain set to 120 (6x6) film size. It's just enough to accomplish the task without actually making the grain really visible.

    Alien Skin seems to have the most subtle grain.

    Left Tri-X conversion grain applied - right straight desaturate no grain:

    Attachment 773

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    Subscriber robsteve's Avatar
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    Re: Simulating grain

    Hank:

    What are you using for a RAW converter and what settings? If it was shot with a M8, the files should look better than what you are showing.

    I agree that the grain looks adds to this picture. The grain programs must also do some sharpening. The grained photos look quite a bit sharper than the initial.

    Robert

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    Member Hank Graber's Avatar
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    Re: Simulating grain

    Quote Originally Posted by robsteve View Post
    Hank:

    What are you using for a RAW converter and what settings? If it was shot with a M8, the files should look better than what you are showing.

    I agree that the grain looks adds to this picture. The grain programs must also do some sharpening. The grained photos look quite a bit sharper than the initial.

    Robert
    The shot is hand held in low light so it is not critically sharp. The B&W conversions generally increase contrast to simulate the tone curve of the film being mimicked so the conversions will have more pop then just desaturating a color file (the grainless image is just desaturated). I picked this file because of the transitions to the highlight which is more interesting to me for this test then a lot of high contrast detail.

    The raw converter is C1 on this file I believe. I have switched to Raw Developer for most conversions as RW does not have the borderline digital look that C1 never quite manages to lose in very fine detail.

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    Re: Simulating grain

    To me the Alien skin fersion looks the best. Just wondering if you have Photokit sharpener. It has the ability to add grain as well but I haven't tried it.

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    Re: Simulating grain

    I have applied grain to Canon and Nikon files in the past just using the Add Noise filter in Photoshop. Amount at about 2-3%, uniform, monochromatic. This technique worked especially well in portraits with the Canon, where the fine details of the skin were smeared/blurred due to the strong AA filter. Sharpening only sharpens edges, leaving smooth areas unsharp. Adding grain adds texture, which imparts a sense of sharpness, as Hank was stating.

    On Leica files, I really don't need to do this step. The converted DNG files from C1 have a nice film-like texture to them.

    From what I see here, the AlienSkin does seem to be the most visually appealling. I'd be curious to see how my good 'ol PS noise filter holds up in this image...

    David

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Simulating grain

    I prefer the AS package myself as I felt the grain was the most pleasing. I've tried all methods of adding noise in CS, and felt the best is adding it to a 50% gray layer set to the soft light or overlay blend mode --- and it's tunable. But as good as that does, I still prefer the AS kit.

    Cheers,
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    home: www.getdpi.com

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    Member Hank Graber's Avatar
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    Re: Simulating grain

    Quote Originally Posted by dfarkas View Post
    I have applied grain to Canon and Nikon files in the past just using the Add Noise filter in Photoshop. Amount at about 2-3%, uniform, monochromatic. This technique worked especially well in portraits with the Canon, where the fine details of the skin were smeared/blurred due to the strong AA filter. Sharpening only sharpens edges, leaving smooth areas unsharp. Adding grain adds texture, which imparts a sense of sharpness, as Hank was stating.

    On Leica files, I really don't need to do this step. The converted DNG files from C1 have a nice film-like texture to them.

    From what I see here, the AlienSkin does seem to be the most visually appealling. I'd be curious to see how my good 'ol PS noise filter holds up in this image...

    David
    I have been using PS noise for a fine grain up until now. Here are some Alien Skin alternatives. The second from left is PS noise filter

    Attachment 774

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    Member Hank Graber's Avatar
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    Re: Simulating grain

    Quote Originally Posted by TimWright View Post
    To me the Alien skin fersion looks the best. Just wondering if you have Photokit sharpener. It has the ability to add grain as well but I haven't tried it.
    There are lots of grain simulaters but these are some of the most flexible and sophisticated. The Photokit stuff didn't look like it had enough controls.

  10. #10
    Member Hank Graber's Avatar
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    Re: Simulating grain

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    I prefer the AS package myself as I felt the grain was the most pleasing. I've tried all methods of adding noise in CS, and felt the best is adding it to a 50% gray layer set to the soft light or overlay blend mode --- and it's tunable. But as good as that does, I still prefer the AS kit.

    Cheers,
    That is what I have found after trying these and a few others.

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    Re: Simulating grain

    The AS version of HP5 is also very very nice in print and I like it more than TX. I always find the effects look more aggressive on screen than print.

    In the new AS to be able to pick the format size is also nice and of course you can adjust everything in the defaults too so there is no shortage of choices.

    TM3200 is really course compared to Ilford 3200 which was never the case in "real life" but here it is nice to have another choice.

    I need to try the Rodinal choices more.

    I use HP5 the most followed by Agfa100 for a little scuffing up of the image and Ilford 3200 last.

    Neil

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    Deceased, but remembered fondly here... johnastovall's Avatar
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    Re: Simulating grain

    Which version of Alien Skin are you using? I've got the older version and have thought about upgrading to the newer but wasn't sure if it was such a major change.

    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
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  13. #13
    Member Hank Graber's Avatar
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    Re: Simulating grain

    I downloaded demos of the latest versions of all the software tested.

    I think for AS I would use one of the faster films but set it for 120 format unless I wanted the grain to really show in the print. The rodinal and the sharp version of Kodachrome 25 I find I have to back off the sharpening but you have total control over all the parameters. I wish they would add yellow, orange, red filters as a choice for each B&W film rather then having to use the RGB sliders but maybe I just need to learn how to use the tool better.

    All in all Alien Skin is pricey but it really delivers. I always found color film looks useless but in AS I could see actually using them.

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    Re: Simulating grain

    Quote Originally Posted by johnastovall View Post
    Which version of Alien Skin are you using? I've got the older version and have thought about upgrading to the newer but wasn't sure if it was such a major change.
    The newer version has substantially more options. I use it for both B&W and color.

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    Deceased, but remembered fondly here... johnastovall's Avatar
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    Re: Simulating grain

    Looks like I'll be upgrading soon...

    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
    Mike Johnston


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    Re: Simulating grain

    I'm using the latest version of AS. I don't really like the color setting either.

    One thing about the color filters/settings, You don't have to use them to use the grain. You can open a color image, use the neutral setting at the very top of the list of "looks" and then add only grain w/o doing anything to the color.

    If you like the AS version of TX you can take the grain settings for TX and then use them as a guide on the color image. Open that color image as neutral and then open the grain palette and set the grain for the TX settings. I've saved 3 variations of HP5 grain settings I sometimes use on a color image.

    I don't AS for any sharpening. I have too many ways to sharpen now with Nikon NX,ACR and CS3. And then there is is Photokit Sharpener in CS3. I don't want another choice. I should settle on one.

    Neil







    Works great.

  17. #17
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    Re: Simulating grain

    Damn, AS Exposure 2 looks nice... I really want.

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    Re: Simulating grain

    Maybe a little OT but I've used AS to add a little "scruff" to a few images from my Nikon D3. The 3200 ISO images can sometimes be a little to clean. Yes I know that sounds a little crazy doesn't it, too clean at ISO 3200.

    I also have some images from the M8 I had as a rental for a week that really like some AS so there you go, back on topic.

    Neil

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