Hands on

December 20, 2021

No more pain with grain

I recently wrote about the fact that grain in photos has an indefinable effect. Somehow we find a structure in photos to be pleasant. It gives the photo character and feels good. In this article I also described that I somehow don't get really warm with the technical application of grain. That has now changed and I am happy to pass on my knowledge.

There are so many different ways to put grain on photos. Capture One has integrated this function with a slider. But of course I don't want to have any grain on my photos before retouching skin. And switching back and forth between Photoshop and Capture One doesn't correspond to the way I work either.

So the grain has to be applied as the last step in post production. The easiest way to do this is with a pattern adjustment layer. You basically apply a grainy pattern as endless tiles on your image.

How it works

I created a 1000 x 1000px grainy area which works as an endless pattern. You can download it here.

To apply this pattern, follow these basic steps:

  • Open grain.tif in Photoshop and go to Edit > Define Pattern
  • Add an Adjustment Layer > Pattern and choose the latest pattern at the bottom of the list
  • Add adjustment layer
  • Go to Layer > Layer Style > Blending Options. Set to Linear Light and reduce the effect from being applied to the white areas of your photo and create asmooth transition (Alt + Click on the left slider).
  • Set blending options
  • If necessary, reduce the opacity of the pattern layer to make the select more subtle


No grain


With subtle grain


The advantage of doing it this way: The pattern is automatically scaled when you change the size of your image. But scaling can be adjusted at any time by double-clicking on the pattern by simply entering the desired value. For a rougher grain, you can also upscale the pattern, e.g. to 200%.

And the best part is that the pattern automatically adapts to the whole area of your photograph. Even if you enlarge the canvas.



Simon Bolz, Frankfurt
Tel.: +49 (69) 95 82 02 12
Mob.: +49 (172) 620 55 18


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