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Get gritty with Photoshop's Noise effect (CS/CS2/CS3)

Added on Thursday 15th of January 2009 01:45 am EST


Adobe Photoshop CS/CS2/CS3

Operating Systems:

Macintosh, Microsoft Windows


That edgy, gritty, grainy photojournalism look of the late ‘60s is super, but it’s hard to capture with today’s digital equipment. So, what do you do when you want to add a little edge to your photos? You turn to Photoshop’s Noise filter.

The grainy appearance of older, film-processed photographs results partially because photographers captured the photos on black-and-white film and partially because of the high contrast in the photo prints. To mimic that appearance, convert your image to grayscale mode and then increase your image’s contrast. Then apply the Noise filter to add the graininess.


To convert the image to grayscale and bump up the contrast:

1.   Open the image to which you want to apply the effect, as shown in Figure A.

2.   Choose Image > Adjustments > Channel Mixer.

3.   Select the Monochrome check box and click OK.

4.   Duplicate the Background layer, and rename the Background copy layer Noise.

5.   Click on the Create New Fill Or Adjustment Layer button located at the base of the Layers palette and select Brightness/Contrast to display the Brightness/Contrast dialog box. Photoshop CS3 users select the Use Legacy check box.

6.   Move both the Brightness slider and the Contrast slider to the right until the highlights just begin to blow out, as shown in Figure B.