Blur+Grain action with 16-bit images

By Oleg Ti,   April 13, 2015,   Views: 2776,   Comments:

Two years ago I posted on this website an article with action Blur + Grain, which allowed you to make fast retouching of the skin through a very simple procedure: at first to blur the skin and then to add a layer with a grain texture very similar to the texture of the skin. Now using brush over the mask and showing the necessary places on the model's face, I mixed grain texture of new layer with own texture of the model's skin. It made the skin more smooth and beauty and at the same time not "plastic".

However, this action didn't allow to work with 16-bit images. The reason is quite banal - Photoshop doesn't allow to use Grain Filter with 16-bit images. Next, I ran into another difficulty: Photoshop CS6 excluded Grain Filter from the list of basic filters, completely eliminating the possibility of using my action.

I got a lot of letters on this issue and wishing to respond to them, as well as to anticipate the questions the new readers of Photoindustry website, I want to offer an easy way to cope with this situation.

What do we need for that?

We need to create 16-bit tiff image, place it on the desktop of our computer, call it Retouching.tiff. I have prepared jpeg image Retouching.jpg (click right button of mouse to "save as") that has size 7000 to 7000 pixels. It is enough to totally cover an image from any modern camera. After saving you have to open this jpg image, change mode to 16-bit and save it as Retouching.tiff to your desktop. That's it! Now this file is ready for work. I put jpg image, not 16-bit tiff file on my server in order to not overload the server - downloading of 400 MB file will a hard work both for you computer and my server.

You can also prepare this image by yourself. For that it is necessary to make an image with the size of 7000 to 7000 pixels, fill it with 50% gray, apply the necessary grain filter and then desaturate it. Sometimes It could be necessary to adjust parameters of the grain (type, intensity and contrast) for you camera. I chose parameters for my 31 MPixels medium-format camera. You camera could require different type and amount of grain. Moreover, you can make actions for different types of photography. You understand that portrait, half body and full body pictures will require different type, intensity and contrast of the grain. I cannot give you recommendations, you should find necessary parameters in experiments.

The next step you should do is downloading of new action Blur + Grain 16 bit (click right button of mouse to "save as"). Then click over this action .atn file and insert this action in your Photoshop actions panel. This action will open Retouching.tiff file, copy it into your project and close it. You will not even see how it happens. Modern computers are very fast!

So you can click this action and get the necessary result either working with 16-bit images or working with Photoshop CS6.

Also this action got some little additions.

Blur+Grain Portrait retouching 16 bit

If you click on the Grain layer, you'll see that the slider of "This Layer" bar (highlighted by red oval) is divided into two parts. Moving both sliders to the right, you will reduce the amount of grain in the dark parts of the portrait, thereby making the process less noticeable in those areas.

Also would like to add that the Grain layer also has a mask, which allows you to slightly decrease amount of grain in areas that lays out of focus. Big amount of grain in such areas will reveal the artificiality of retouching.

Enjoy now successful work with 16-bit images and in Photoshop CS6!

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