Grain is in fashion

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by mauro_franic, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. As photographers, many of us have been asked to produce images with obvious and tangible grain.
    This request seems to be in fashion more so nowadays - at least around photographers friends of mine. The request is easy to fulfilled when prints can be large 24x32 (and larger) It does become tricky when the target print is 16x20 (or even smaller).
    TMZ (Tmax 3200) shot at 12,800, and pushed to the point the midtones polarize to black or white, and then scanned at 8000 dpi, creates the most striking combination I found. (Attachment)
    Also using small film like 35mm and squeezing the composition in a fraction of the frame helps.
    Let's share our techniques:
    00V0uX-190871684.jpg
     
  2. for several years i would use Fuji Neopan iso 1600 film only exactly because i could not get proper grain/noise out of digital. this photo http://mooostudios.com/Peru2007/2img_bw202_gold_digger.jpg was takan with that film pushed to 3200 (disregard the border, it's for background purposes). same story here http://mooostudios.com/Peru2007/2img_bw198Lima_ocean.jpg .
    since then i stopped pushing it and meter for 1600 - it has beautiful grain without me trying to force it.
     
  3. Very nice. Can you post a 50% or 100% crop?
     
  4. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    i could not get proper grain/noise out of digital​
    Try Nik Silver Efex.
     
  5. Jeff, can you post a sample with Silver Efex?
     
  6. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    This one is fairly heavy on the grain.
    [​IMG]
    Dia de las Muertas San Francisco 2009
     
  7. Cool shot Jeff! Now I've got dig around and find some of mine...of course scanning tends to exaggerate B&W film grain....but it still looks so much better than digital Noise.
     
  8. That is very nice Jeff - and thank you. Can you post a closeup crop so I can see the shape of the grain?
     
  9. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    This one is a little lighter on the grain.
    [​IMG]
    Helios Creed, Copyright 2009 Jeff Spirer
     
  10. sure Mauro, here are the crops http://mooostudios.com/2img_bw198crop.jpg and
    http://mooostudios.com/2img_bw202crop.jpg
    the Neopan 1600 was scanned on epson v500 at 2400dpi i think.
    Jeff, my last DSLR was stolen 1.5 years ago but once i get a new one, sometime next year, i'll try Nik Silver Fx.
     
  11. Those look very good Kostya. Thank you.
     
  12. And then there is pushing film 3 stops in Litho A&B developer.
    [​IMG]
     
  13. I can only think of one time when I tried to add grain to a photograph so I don't have much experience with this. I would like to understand why digital filters don't produce a film look. Let me ask a question for understanding. I know that with B&W, the grain increases with density in the negative. The standard Photoshop filters add noise regardless of level. Is this why they don't look right?
     
  14. Larry, that is fantastic.
     
  15. Ron, it is not that simple.
    There are multiple factors in play. The topography of the film is such that there is detail captured within the visible grain.
    Grain added to a digital capture is just like an effect in photoshop. It removes detail from the original capture.
     
  16. Mauro Thanks
     
  17. Yes, grain added from any source will obscure some detail. There may still be some detail that is smaller than the structure of the grain. This can happen with film or digital.
     
  18. And I want to thank all who refuse to call it "noise."
     
  19. Here's one. Shot on Ilford Delta 3200 and shot in daylight with a #25 red filter. Not a large scan but there is plenty of grain in the 8x10 analog print. Rodnal Developer has always been the grain king for me. I really like it with Tri-X 1:50.
    00V1C8-191059684.jpg
     
  20. That is very nice. Was that a red 25 or lower? Strange the contrast is not higher.
    Nice job using the filter to pale-up the skin without creating zombie eyes. red 25 is very dangerous on that.
     
  21. I like grain. I'll take grain over pixel any day! I hate when people add grain to digital photos in Photoshop!
     
  22. Yes it is I use it mostly for buildings and bridges... but a Yellow 14 is perfect for people when needed. You got that #25 to work there.
     
  23. Particularly attractive in high key portraits:
    00V1DG-191071584.jpg
     
  24. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Grain added to a digital capture is just like an effect in photoshop. It removes detail from the original capture.​
    It's additive, especially if it's done as a layer properly. It does not remove detail. Maybe you can give a source for your information.
     
  25. I think he was trusting his eyes.
     
  26. Jeff,
    You are adding a pattern to an image that has no relation to the subject of the capture. You are overlaying a texture that was not formed from an imprint of the subject, thus reducing detail. Same as sharpening...
     
  27. This link, on the other hand, is similar to how grain is imprinted by the subject:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/28451156@N04/2654230407/sizes/l/
     
  28. Larry,
    It is all semantics. Graininess is visual noise, but not all noise is created equal. Photographic grain has particular qualities that are not replicated with simple noise algorithms. I'm convinced that if you get the right frequency pattern of the noise and the correct amplitude variations with density, it will look something like photographic grain. There are probably some additional subtleties. That is partly why film users still exist.
     
  29. Ron I know that is why we still exist. :) Grain is both visual and a feeling. Noise is a sound that some think they see.
     
  30. I'm only happy when it grains.
    00V1Qw-191243884.jpg
     
  31. There are some pretty advanced free actions for adding film grain taking into account shadows, highlights and midtones. One is the Nikos Kantarakias action which incorporates the Russel Brown layers action for B&W conversion.
     
  32. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    You are adding a pattern to an image that has no relation to the subject of the capture. You are overlaying a texture that was not formed from an imprint of the subject, thus reducing detail.​
    If you look at how it is done, you can understand that this is not true. Which tools have you tested? It sounds like you need to get a better understanding of how layer modes can work and take into account details of the subject.
    BTW, film grain reduces detail.
     
  33. Panasonic LX3 and Olympus E-P1 all have some kind of " art filters" to add grains to the JPEG images. Have you guys tried them yet?
    For example (EP1): http://www.stevehuffphotos.com/Steve_Huff_Photos/OLYMPUS_EP-1_REVIEW_2.html
     
  34. Maura that is a lovely grainy pic of the woman. I also love how the light wraps and flares around her. I used a red 25 filter for my Delta 3200 shot. It was open shade so that's why the contrast is low. Also, the model has very pale skin to begin with...always more photogenic!
     
  35. If I wanted lots of grain then I'd shoot with my Mamiya 16 or Minolta 16 and fast cheap B&W film pushed. Starting with a 10X14mm negative helps in the grain department!
     
  36. if you want grain from film: push tri-x to 800 or 1600, develop in straight dektol, 5 min @ 68 d--lots of very nice grain.
     
  37. 35mm Ilford 3200 rated at 1600 in HC-110.
    00V1YF-191325784.jpg
     
  38. Film grain is an integral function of the emulsion and is dependent upon many factors, including emulsion structure, age, developer used, time, temp, and agitation during physical development. It also has a feature called "acutance". Film grain CAN degrade fine detail, yet at the same time enhance edge sharpness. It is a RANDOM analog pattern.
    I have nothing against digital photography or the images a good DSLR can produce. However to say that digital noise, which is an ordered pattern of electromagnetic interference in relation to the usable digital signal is simply ill informed. Adding it later in Photoshop does not replicate an analog grain image. Do you guys even print your work?? If you did you'd see the difference. A Merlot wine is not a Sangiovese, no matter how hard you wish it to be so. Wasn't this thread closed down over on the Nikon forum?
     
  39. Jeff Spirer [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG], Nov 16, 2009; 11:02 a.m.
    BTW, film grain reduces detail.​
    That's not entirely accurate Jeff. On B&W emulsions, the image is made up of grain....fine or course. Overlaying a digital image with artificial grain, be it in PS or with something like Nik Silver Efex, is not the same. I can easily tell the difference. That is not to say the digital file isn't nice in it's own way....but it is different.
     
  40. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Let me put it a different way. As grain increases, detail decreases.
     
  41. Yes Jeff, but so does Acutance, AKA edge sharpness....as digital noise increases acutance does not. Sharpening can increase the illusion of acutance in a digital or scanned file. Let me post a couple more examples. An overall shot, and then a close crop from that shot. In small jpegs the acutance effect is not always visible. You'll see the random grain pattern in the crop. The close up will show you the acutance. A lot of what we call "grain" and "Noise" changes with viewing distance. With digital screen images it's as if you were permanently Frozen into one viewing position. The only way to simulate print viewing online is with multiple crops. Bear with me....
    00V1ZM-191339584.jpg
     
  42. OK here's the close crop. Note the random pattern... and the dust spots I need to re-touch!
    00V1ZR-191339684.jpg
     
  43. I'll get some examples later, but I have to say between work I've done digitally and with film, people tend to lean towards the flim stuff with grain, even if they aren't aware which is which. There's just something less "sterile" and more photographic about images with grain. Digital is great in a lot of cases, ie HD video, but people seem to prefer a little edginess to my photographs in the form of grain, which none of the digital stuff will ever have.
    Just figured I'd throw in my .02 cents.
    JRMM
     
  44. ndj

    ndj

    How about this grain folks?
    00V1go-191409784.jpg
     
  45. And then we have grain and contrast.
    [​IMG]
     
  46. Ilford Delta pushed to somewhere approaching 12,800 ASA yields nice grain:
    00V1p4-191483584.jpg
     
  47. Larry, I still love that cemetery shot!
     
  48. The purpose of this conversation is to share experiences, techniques and results. Those using digital cameras don't need to feel alienated. If they have had good results mimicking the look of film grain via software, everyone would appreciate to see examples as well as the technique employed.
     
  49. Thanks Simone.
     
  50. I like using Tri-X in Diafine, pushed to 1250 or 1600. A lot of people don't like Diafine, but Tri-X developed in Diafine scans well and gives nice grain. It also prints decently, and an 8x10 from a 35mm neg looks great.
    00V38W-192383584.jpg
     

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