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In this Photoshop tutorial, we will learn how to create imitations of grit, like in a photo from a film. Any version of Photoshop will do, but if you are working with Photoshop CS3 or a later version (we have Photoshop CS5), thanks to the smart filters that first appeared in Photoshop CS3, you will have the opportunity to adjust any special effect parameter at any time. If you have a version of Photoshop CS2 or earlier, just skip the steps related to smart filters, and you will succeed.

In today’s lesson we will use this frame:
Since the grain is very small, it may be difficult to look at it in the screenshot, but at least approximately what you get in the end (we enlarged a part of the image so that we could see it better). Your photo will be larger, and the grain will be more noticeable. We will tell you how you can adjust the special effect at the end of the lesson:

Let’s start!
Step 1: Add a new layer, fill it with 50% gray, and set the Overlay mode
First of all let’s create a new layer in our Photoshop document, in which there will be a grain simulating a film in order not to damage the original image. Usually, for this purpose, we simply click on the New Layer icon at the bottom of the layers panel, and Photoshop creates a new empty layer, but in this case we need to fill it with gray and change the blending mode, so we will do it all at the same time using the New Layer dialog box . Click on the New Layer icon while holding down Alt (Win) / Option (Mac):

Photoshop displays a dialog box with options for creating a new layer before adding it. In the upper part of the window, set the name of the new Film grain layer, then change the blending mode to Overlay and select the option Fill with Overlay – neutral color (50% gray) a bit lower, by ticking the box:

When finished, click OK, and the dialog box closes. It seems to you that nothing has changed, but in the layers panel you will notice that Photoshop has added a new Film grain layer, placing it above the original Background Layer layer. The Overlay blend mode is selected, on the thumbnail of the layer that is to the left of its name, you can see that it is filled with 50% gray (this shade of gray is exactly halfway between black and white). We do not see this gray in the document, because thanks to the Overlay blending mode, this gray color is now transparent:

Step 2: Transform the New Layer layer into a smart object
If you are working in Photoshop CS2 or earlier, you can skip this step. If you have Photoshop CS3 or later, click on the small menu icon located in the upper right corner of the layers panel:

Again, it seems that nothing has changed, but an icon appears in the lower right corner of the thumbnail of the Film grain layer, symbolizing that the layer is now a smart object. This means that all the filters of this layer will become smart filters, and, as we will see later, until the very end of the work we will be able to make adjustments to them:
An icon appeared on the film grain grain thumbnail that this is a smart object.

Step 3: Add Noise Using the Add Noise Filter
In the menu at the top of the screen, select Filter, then Noise, then Add Noise:

Open Filter> Noise> Add Noise
The Add Noise filter dialog box appears. The noise that we add will become grain. To increase the amount of noise, slide the Amount slider. Usually, a value of 10% turns out to be suitable, but still it is better to follow the image in order to choose the best indicator for your photo. Check whether the Gaussian and Monochromatic options are selected at the bottom of the dialog box:

Adjust the noise level with the Amount slider
When finished, click OK, and the Add Noise dialog box closes. We increased the area of ​​our image so that the added noise was better visible:

Photo after noise
If in Step 2 you turned the Film grain layer into a smart object, in the layers panel below it you will see the Add Noise filter in the list of smart filters. Soon we will return to this.

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