Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Layering Noise

Part 2 in a series on

This Article Features Photo Zoom

1) A Noise Layer In A Layer Stack
You can further customize any noise pattern in Photoshop using layers. When adding noise to digital files, keep noise separate from the image so you can control both independently of one another. This allows extraordinary control and flexibility. When noise is placed on its own layer, you can eliminate or change it at any time, reduce its opacity, localize it, desaturate it, target it into specific channels, move it, scale it, blur it and much more. Here’s how to do it in Photoshop.

Create a new layer (Layer > New Layer) set to an Overlay Blend Mode filled with 50% gray.

Filter the layer with noise (Filter > Noise > Add Noise or Filter > Texture > Grain).

Add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer clipped to the noise layer to re-duce the saturation of the effect only.

Optionally, double-click the layer to activate Layer Styles. Uncheck specific Channels to remove the noise from them. Use the This Layer sliders to reduce the amount of the dark and/or light noise. Use the Underlying Layer sliders to remove the effect from shadows and/or highlights.

Optionally, add a Layer Mask to the noise layer to localize the effect using either a selection, brush or gradient.

Optionally, use Edit > Free Trans-form to resize the effect.

2) Gaussian Blur Softens Any Noise Structure
3) Hue/Saturation Allows You To Control The Color Of Noise
Optionally, use Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur to soften the effect. (Or use any other blur filter, like Motion Blur, to add unique distortion effects.)

You have a lot of options. That’s the point. You’ve never had so much control over noise—until now. What’s more, you can modify the effect at any time in the future without compromising the original image information. You’ve never had so much flexibility—until now. Let’s go into some of the finer points.

Make Noise Layer-Specific
You can clip noise effects layers to a single image layer. Simply press the Option/Alt key and click the line separating the two layers in the Layers palette. Photoshop automatically will apply it to only existing pixels on that layer, and you’ll see the effect only on the visible pixels of a layer. When a layer has transparency, like a retouching layer, no masking will be necessary once the noise layer is clipped to it.


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