Episode 083: Getting Grain in

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83A lot of people miss “film grain” in digital images. I show how to add it (the exmple on the left is a bit over the top…). You can extract the grain from a scanned analog image or make your own digital grain with the HSV noise filter.

I found these links useful: Gimp Guru and Petteri’s Pontifications. The last one is a very rich ressource.

The end of the video is quite abrupt. I didn’t want to start the recording again, you can read the rest here: “These 1000 Danish Crowns cover half a year of the server costs and the domain fees for this year. A big thank you!And there is more nice stuff in the pipeline. Perhaps we will have a challenge soon – with a real price from a sponsor. 🙂 Good Bye up to next week!”


00:30 Film grain – then and now
02:20 What’s film grain?
03:00 Anaylsing grain in photographs
05:05 Getting digital grain
05:30 Extracting from a scanned image
09:05 Sythetic grain
10:00 Make artificial grain
13:10 Apply grain to an image
13:15 Scale to the final size first
15:00 Tiling and adding the grain layer
18:00 Layer mask for grain in the midtones only
21:00 Comparing real and artificial grain
22:50 Good bye!

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16 thoughts on “Episode 083: Getting Grain in

  1. You almost brought tears to my eyes as I could smell the familiar odour of chemicals in the dark room, (not really). Ilford FP4 fine grain film, developed with a slow edge reacting developer in the attempt to get maximum enlargement with minimum grain. Then along came Kodak with TriX, a relatively fast film which could be pushed but what grain! So, the artistic photographer looked for ways to utilise this grain to bring about certain effects. I seem to remember portraits of pop stars like The Rolling Stones and others enhanced this way. However, grain was not for me and I struggled to get as little grain as possible.

  2. Great, great! Already in darkroom times I couldn’t get enough of grain (my camera was very often fed with HP5 instead of Pan-F). In digital times I casually tried to imitate grain, but I never achieved credebility. Quite smart to steal real grain from analogous images! I will directly search the web for high-resolution scanned analogous pictures (my own ancient scanner might be too crummy, I’m afraid). Thank you for the show! Along the way again I learned something about interesting unknown Gimp-details.

  3. Ray, if you have still got any of your grainy old negatives, you could photograph them with your digital camera and then extract the grain. I have an attachment for my camera which I use to copy old colour slides and colour negatives. If you would like me to copy some negatives for you contact me at my email address.

  4. Norman, I would love to have such shots!. We could make a collection of different grains, the ones that are in the light, midtones and darker areas.

    I have lost all my old negatives 20 years ago, but I have some very old stuff from the 30s. I’ll try to get grain from there.

    Grain is EVIL, bu this is fun! 🙂

  5. Excellent idea, Norman. I don’t have any device to duplicate negatives but perhaps this is a good opportunity to get my old magnifier from the stack to give him a last job. I will try to photograph the projections. I’m excited on the results of this way of digitalisation. If I won’t have success, I would be happy to accept your nice offer! 🙂

    It might be very exciting to do the EVIL. 😉

  6. Happy new year to all of you!

    In tigions blog ( http://blog.tigion.de/ ) I stumbled across a BW pictured I liked and in the caption it said something about GEGL and the operation c2g. I played around with it — there are a lot of parameters and I do not exactly know what it does, but it produces interesting B&W images with grain. Understanding what is going on certainly would help to have some more control over the output 😉

    I put an (rather overdone) example in the photogroup ( http://www.23hq.com/photogroup/meetthegimp/photo/3812618 ).

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Anything to add from your side of the computer?