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Who has the best film grain emulation?
Old 12-20-2016   #1
mabelsound
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Who has the best film grain emulation?

Just curious, what's the current state of the art in software film grain emulation? I'm not just talking about adding noise to photos, but algorithms that actually try to replicate how grain behaves according to exposure, how it handles transitions, etc. I'm also curious if there are any grain emus that attempt to emulate the differing character of grain from film to film.

Please don't tell me to shoot film and scan it. I do that, too, often.
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Old 12-20-2016   #2
narsuitus
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Silver Efex Pro 2
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Old 12-20-2016   #3
kxl
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Silver Efex Pro 2
Yup.

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Old 12-20-2016   #4
benmacphoto
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I'll second Eilver Efex Pro 2.
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Old 12-20-2016   #5
jbielikowski
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next vote for SEP2.






and ACR is absolute garbage.
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Old 12-20-2016   #6
johnwolf
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It looks unanimous. I'm a SEP2 user as well, but this week I've been testing DXO Filmpack 5 and I like it. The trial is worth a look.

John
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Silver EFX
Old 12-20-2016   #7
jasonhupe
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Silver EFX

Silver EFX Pro, love it.
Its early, just got a Fuji Xpro2, but I dare say I am truly in love with the camera and the files!
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Old 12-20-2016   #8
mabelsound
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Thanks, all—can't beat the price! Is Color EFX Pro its equivalent for color, including grain?

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Silver EFX Pro, love it.
Its early, just got a Fuji Xpro2, but I dare say I am truly in love with the camera and the files!
Curious how you like the Acros simulation. I'm using an X-E2 for now but hope to get an XP2 one of these days...
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Old 12-20-2016   #9
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Thanks, all—can't beat the price! Is Color EFX Pro its equivalent for color, including grain?...
Yes, Color Efex is the color counterpart. As I recall it has separate grain capability.

Funny, you mentioned "grain" and everyone assumed black and white.

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Old 12-20-2016   #10
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Capture One has by far the most realistic looking and behaving grain I've seen in an emulation.

5 different grain patterns, all are based on the tones in the picture and all are tweakable with sliders in "Impact" and "Granularity"

100% view:
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Old 12-20-2016   #12
Keith
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I was just looking at the cost of capture one pro ... close to four hundred dollars AUD.
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Old 12-20-2016   #13
Keith
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The grain simulator in SPP (Sigma Photo Pro) has always impressed me ... at least as good as what silver efex offers in my opinion.
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Old 12-20-2016   #14
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I don't mind using SPP at all. Gives decent results and easy to use. I don't even know if ACR supports the Merrill DP's because I just clicked with SPP. Might not help if you use Fujis...
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Old 12-20-2016   #15
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It's obviously a personal thing, but some time back I did some comparisons in an attempt to determine a software and workflow I wanted for digital B&W conversions. The three tools I considered at the time were Photoshop's grain filter | Nik Sfx | DxO Labs Filmpack. My view at the time was that DxO Lab's Filmpack gave the best results (especially how it handled close to blown highlights). Even now, images I process through Nik Efx get grain subsequently applied with Filmpack. I do use Capture One (v9) as a RAW converter and DAM but have not made any comparisons with its grain engine, so no thoughts there.
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Old 12-20-2016   #16
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I was just looking at the cost of capture one pro ... close to four hundred dollars AUD.
One time buy though, IIRC.
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Old 12-20-2016   #17
shawn
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I like DXO Filmpack for post processing.

In camera Fuji's ACROS simulation works well. Control the amount of grain by changing your ISO.

Shawn
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Old 12-20-2016   #18
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The NIK software is now available for free from Google.
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Old 12-20-2016   #19
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can't beat the price!
Well, I see you know that already
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Old 12-21-2016   #20
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Quote:
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I was just looking at the cost of capture one pro ... close to four hundred dollars AUD.
But you don't buy it for the film grain. You buy it as a replacement for Lightroom with the much better raw processor.

Still a lot of money though.
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Old 12-21-2016   #21
tom.w.bn
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Whenever I use a film simulation for a digital image, I dial the grain to almost 0 because I'm doing digital and don't want that stuff in my image.
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Old 12-21-2016   #22
Alfonso B
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Whenever I use a film simulation for a digital image, I dial the grain to almost 0 because I'm doing digital and don't want that stuff in my image.
It's because modern film is so good you can't get the film look on film and your film mates laugh at you when you post IG photos of film canisters not shot on film because of film.

Sure, I like looking at grainy old images or some new ones that also replicate the subject matter. But grainy B/W photos of somebody's -04 corolla with scrape marks and sprocket holes running 90 degrees wrong way?

My 2004-2008 cell phone camera noise generator is about to hit kickstarter soon. Be sure to back up
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Old 12-21-2016   #23
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Sure, I like looking at grainy old images or some new ones that also replicate the subject matter. But grainy B/W photos of somebody's -04 corolla with scrape marks and sprocket holes running 90 degrees wrong way?
Ok, i see. You have never really used a film emulation software.
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Old 12-21-2016   #24
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I once used DxO's software to emulate Acros 100 on a set of images shot with a 5Dii. The results were great but unfortunately I can't offer you any comparison against the alternatives as I have no experience with them. DxO always had a 30 day free trial offer, which allowed access to a surprising number of features including export, so that could be a useful option to give it a try before purchasing.

Apologies I don't have a link to embed an image here for you but the work I mentioned is viewable at this link if it is of any use as reference. www.lukebanks.com/DUNE
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Old 12-21-2016   #25
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I'm surprised no one mentioned Alien Skin Exposure. I like it better than Nik and Siver Fx.

Another tip, for 'realism,' i often add a layer of a scan of real film grain, to get those random variations in grains, grain clumps, etc. Just scan a blank frame of a gray field, and adjust the levels so that it looks like it's very close to 50% black. Layer it with Overlay transparency setting, and then adjust to taste.
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Old 01-04-2017   #26
Ted Witcher
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Silver Fx hasn't been updated in a hundred years. It was fine for its time, but that has passed.

I will second two ideas already mentioned: in my experience, the most realistic grain emulation comes from the built-in grain engine of Capture One Pro (from 9) and also Exposure X2. Both programs offer a lot of customization/flexibility, and both re-interpolate the image to fit the "grain" desired. In other words, you get less visible grain in highlights, and more grain in the shadow area, as you would with film, and further mid-tone customization as well. If you use either one carefully and then make a print, the final output would be just about indistinguishable from an enlargement made from a negative.
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