Lightroom 3 film grain

To continue our look into some of the new features with Lightroom 3 we are going to check out the new Film Grain feature. This is one addition I have really been looking forward to. One reason why I still shoot some film, yes I said film… that old stuff you wind through your camera was I LOVE grain. With digital you can go into photoshop and try and recreate grain but it really never gives you the same effect. Some high speed films like T-Max 3200 has always been a favorite of mine and you really can’t get the same effect in the post production. With Lightroom 3 Adobe has claimed to produce an effect that replicates the feel of film. Here is a little test of what the new Film Grain filter in Lightroom 3 looks like compared to adding noise in Photoshop.

First here is the shot without any grain. This was converted to Black and White in bridge and saved as a jpeg file. We are going to use this as the base file to add some film grain into the image.
no film grain

Here is the image in photoshop by adding noise
photoshop add noise

And the image processed in Lightroom 3 adding film grain
lightroom 3 Film Grain

It’s hard to tell when you resize for the web the real true difference but the Lightroom 3 images do have more depth to the image. The sharpness is retained while the photoshop version is softer. Here are a few cropped versions so you can see some of the detail.

First the photoshop version:

and the Lightroom 3 version:

Overall I have to say I am pretty pleased with the new film grain addition to Lightroom 3. It still doesn’t give the same look and feel as shooting with high speed black and white film does but does a decent job. Now time to create a few new Lightroom presets that have grain in them!

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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  1. Thanks Mike!


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