Nov 1, 2007

Grain in Digital Photography

Grain in Digital Photography

Originally uploaded by RickBlythe. click to view larger image.

I love black and white photography.

One of its key traits is how it represents grain. In the old days of film processing grain was a byproduct of the chemical process and the physical traits of the media involved. Today with digital, grain no longer exists in the same sense, but has been replaced by noise. Noise is a byproduct of the electronics involved. Noise in digital cameras is not even close to film in the way it can add a sense of age or grittiness. Noise basically sucks.

This image however is the result not of digital noise, but of a piece of software know as Exposure from the folks at Alien skin. I did a review here of an older version. I think they do a great job of simulating old film style grain in the digital world. Don't you agree?

Alien Skin's new Exposure 2 lets digital photographers and graphic artists enhance any digital photo by simulating the rich, organic look of film. Exposure 2 features more than 200 presets that emulate the warmth, softness, and realistic grains of film. Beyond the ability to reproduce the look and feel of film, Exposure 2 also offers a range of effects previously available only in darkrooms and photo labs, such as push and cross processing and glamour portrait softening.