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How to Create a Typical Film Grain Effect with the Effects Panel in Lightroom 4

By Pye Jirsa on April 24th 2013

Introduction

In this video from our Lightroom 4 A to Z Workshop on DVD, we will demonstrate how to create a typical film grain effect with the Effects Panel in Lightroom 4. In our “How to Correct Distortion and Lens Vignette with the Lens Corrections Panel in Lightroom 4” tutorial, we mentioned that there are 2 different types of Lens Vignette adjustments. The first is the Lens Corrections effect, which we can control in the Lens Corrections Panel. The second type of Lens Vignette adjustment is the Post-Crop Vignette, which we will discuss in this article. In addition, we will also go over the 3 different Post-Crop Vignette styles in the Effects Panel.

Watch the video or continue reading the article below!

Watch the Video

Lens Corrections Vignetting vs. Post-Crop Vignetting

First, to expand and collapse the Effects Panel, press “Ctrl + 7.” As mentioned earlier, the Post-Crop Vignette is another type of Lens Vignette adjustment. With the Lens Corrections Vignetting that we discussed in our “How to Correct Distortion and Lens Vignette with the Lens Corrections Panel in Lightroom 4” tutorial, we are trying to adjust the natural lens vignetting that occurs from any camera lens. This Lens Corrections Vignetting in the Lens Corrections Panel is a much more subtle effect. However, with Post-Crop Vignetting in the Effects Panel, it is all about artistic vignetting, so we will be creating heavier vignetting for our images.

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Post-Crop Vignetting: Paint Overlay

Since Lightroom 3, Adobe has significantly improved the vignetting effect. Previously, there was only one option for Post-Crop Vignetting: Paint Overlay. In Lightroom 4, we now have 3 options (including Paint Overlay) for Post-Crop Vignetting. To choose a specific vignette style, click on the dropdown menu next to “Style” in the Effects Panel.

First, we will discuss the Paint Overlay effect in the Effects Panel. Paint Overlay creates an overlay effect that just darkens or lightens the edges of the image. This effect puts a dark overlay over the natural colors of an image instead of darkening the actual natural colors.

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Amount of Paint Overlay
Dragging the Amount slider to -100 will paint the edges of your image black while dragging the Amount slider to +100 will paint the edges of your image white.

For our image below, the Amount slider is at +100.

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Midpoint of Paint Overlay
Midpoint controls how far this vignetting effect goes into our image. The further left we drag the Midpoint slider, the more it pulls the Midpoint effect into the image. If we pull the Midpoint slider all the way to the right, we are only affecting the outermost corners of our image.

Roundness of Paint Overlay
Roundness is the actual shape of the vignetting effect. Pulling the Roundness slider to the right will make the vignetting effect more circular while pulling the Roundness slider to the left will make the vignetting effect more of a square. You can also create borders around your images by adjusting the Roundness of the vignetting effect.

Feather of Paint Overlay
Feather is the graduation from the image over to the edge of the vignetting effect. Pulling the Feather slider to the left will decrease the strength of the Feather while pulling the Feather slider to the right will increase the strength of the Feather. You can also create a strong edge around the image by adjusting the Feather slider all the way to the left. A strong edge combined with adjustments made to the Amount, Midpoint and Roundness can create a print border around your image.

In our image below, we have Amount set to +100, Midpoint set to zero, Roundness set to -97 and Feather set to zero.

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Reset Paint Overlay Settings
Now that we understand how each slider works in Paint Overlay, we need to reset these settings before discussing the next Post-Crop Vignetting style. Simply hold down “Alt” on your keyboard and click on “Reset Post-Crop Vignetting” in the Effects Panel.

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Post-Crop Vignetting: Highlight Priority

The next option we have for Post-Crop Vignetting is Highlight Priority. This option adjusts the colors that are already in our image, similar to how the Lens Corrections Vignetting works, as opposed to the Paint Overlay, which paints a black or white vignette over our images. Highlight Priority adjusts the exposures and colors of an image instead of adding black or white to the edges of the image. This effect is great for images with strong highlights as Highlight Priority will not vignette the whites in the highlights since it is more focused on the highlights.

For our image below, we have pulled the Amount slider to the left. Instead of only affecting the edges of the image, the vignetting effect affects the image as a whole.

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Post-Crop Vignetting: Color Priority

The last Post-Crop Vignette option we have is Color Priority. Typically, we will use Color Priority for the majority of our images. The exception would be for images that have strong highlights, in which we would use Highlight Priority instead. Color Priority is more focused on the colors of the image and, like Highlight Priority, Color Priority will adjust the colors already in the image.

For our image below, we pulled the Amount slider down to -22 and the Midpoint slider to 25.

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Grain Effect

The Grain Effect is great for creating vintage film effects on your image. First, we will explain each slider in the Grain settings. Then, we will go over how to create a typical film grain effect for our images.

Amount of Grain
Amount is the total amount of Grain that will be added to your image. The higher you bring up the Amount slider, the more detail you will lose in your image.

Size of Grain
When you pull the Size slider to the left, the grain is much finer since the grain is smaller. When we pull the Size slider to the right, it makes the grain blockier. When the Size of the grain is smaller, we can still see some of the detail in the image.

Roughness of Grain
Roughness deals with the shape of the grain. If you want more consistently shaped grain in your image, pull the Roughness slider to the left. If you want uneven grain in your image, then pull the Roughness slider to the right.

How to Create a Typical Film Grain Effect

To create a typical film grain effect for your images, set the Amount in the 30s. Bring the Size down to around 28 and take the Roughness down to about 40-50. These settings will give us a nice subtle film grain look that we get when shooting with film.

Below are the settings we used to create a typical film grain effect.

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In our image below, we have zoomed in 1:1 to see the film grain effect more clearly.

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Conclusion & Learn More!

The Post-Crop Vignette effect in the Effects Panel (“Ctrl + 7”) is used for more artistic purposes while the Lens Corrections effect in the Lens Corrections Panel (“Ctrl + 6”) is mostly used for correcting natural vignetting that occurs from a camera lens. With the Effects Panel, you can create many different vignetting effects to your images. In addition, you can also create film grain effects and borders around your images.

We hope you enjoyed this article and video excerpt from the Lightroom 4 A to Z Workshop on DVD. Stay tuned for our next article and episode!

The Lightroom 4 A to Z Workshop on DVD is a 14 hour video workshop turning any Lightroom novice into a complete master of Lightroom 4 in no time! The Lightroom 4 A to Z Workshop can be purchased by itself, or within the Lightroom 4 Workshop Collection which also contains our award winning and industry standard Lightroom 4 Preset System, as well as the Lightroom 4 Workflow System.

Terms: #Graininess
About

Founding Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography and SLR Lounge.

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Thanks.

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