I've spent the morning playing with noise in both illustrator and photoshop, blending layers and testing various grain textures - trying to get close to this type of superbly fine but crisp noise but it ain't working - the black noise in many places (see the teeth and lips) boggles me. Is anyone here that knows how this was done?

enter image description here https://i.stack.imgur.com/8tXwZ.jpg

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    have you tried regular monochromatic noise layered over regular photo? Jan 31, 2019 at 11:46
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    There's no way to tell how it was done or even what application was used. The EXIF data has been removed, so I can't even tell which, if any, image editor was used. It could potentially be real film grain. You can add a film grain effect in Photoshop using the Camera RAW filter. Have you tried that?
    – Billy Kerr
    Jan 31, 2019 at 11:52

3 Answers 3


It looks like either real film grain, or simulated film grain. There's no way to tell how it was done, since there's no EXIF data present to tell even which application was used.

One of the easiest ways to add film grain in Photoshop is to use the Camera RAW filter.

Open an image in Photoshop, right click the image layer, and convert to a Smart Object.

Click Filter > Camera RAW filter. Then when the filter dialog opens, click on the "Fx" tab, and add some grain.

The good thing about this functionality is that it's non-destructive. You can edit the filter and change the amount of grain without destroying the original image.


Actually, this looks more like Photoshop added noise than film grain. The texture is too sharp for film, where the grain is usually smoother. To replicate this in Photoshop, go to 'Filter → Noise → Add noise' and make sure 'Monochromatic' is ticked.


To copy the effect I made a snippet of the image. It has at left a slice of the original and the rest has been cleaned with noise reduction, actually median filtering a few times.

enter image description here

The cleaned version has an adjustment layer (with. full white layer mask) It's adjusted to darken the image as much as the grains do, but affecting to the colorfulness quite little (=straight line, nearly 45 degrees) It can be readjusted later if needed.

Then, the layer mask of the adjustment layer got grain:

enter image description here

The result after tweaking the curve a little and lifting a little the contrast of the cleaned image to compensate the darkness caused by the original grain (see, the histogram is a little stretched to the right):

enter image description here

Unfortunately the details of the cleaned image cannot be restored to same glossines than the original, noise reduction removed details, only compensating the darkness of the original grain was possible.

  • Ohhh in the name of zeus would you be willing to share that psd file ? Jan 31, 2019 at 13:25
  • @SunnevaJoh It has nothing that's not shown. It's here dropbox.com/s/pq2gazmi3h2590d/Grainjoy.psd?dl=0 The link stays valid 2 days
    – user82991
    Jan 31, 2019 at 13:32
  • I know but I'm an anal idiot and need things in front of me to study them - thank you for taking the time to do this and for being so detailed!!! Jan 31, 2019 at 13:52

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