Aperture Grain Effect


The Film Grain Effect for Aperture is a preset that non-destructively adds film-like grain to a photograph.

The effect emulates the grain from Ilford HP5 Plus 400 black and white film without the need for external editors like Photoshop or plugins like SilverEfex Pro or Perfect B&W.

There are several benefits to applying grain directly within Aperture:

  • Like all adjustments in Aperture, it's non-destructive.

  • It won't create a new file that uses up hard drive space.

  • It's easy and quick to add since it doesn't need to open a plugin and round-trip.

  • You can apply to multiple photographs at once.

  • You can vary the intensity and even brush it in selectively.

  • You don't need to purchase additional software.


How the Aperture Grain Effect works

The Grain Effect adds a dodge brick and a burn brick with the grain as a mask. The amount is set to 0.65 as default. During my testing, this amount gave me the most natural looking grain. Varying the amount will change the intensity of the grain to suit your taste or the particular photograph.

The effect works on photographs up to 36.3MP in resolution. I tested it with files from these cameras: Fujifilm x100s, Nikon D3, D600 and D800, Leica M9, Panasonic GF1, and iPhone 5s. 

To keep it at such a high resolution, the grain masks are large files. The download is almost 80MB, so keep that in mind when downloading. It may take a while if you're on a slow connection.

Here's a close up of the photograph above. You can also click on any of the images here to see the effect in full screen.


How to apply the Aperture Grain Effect

Applying the effect is as easy as selecting it from the Effects drop down menu in Aperture. However, here are a few things to keep in mind for best results:

  • Apply the grain effect last. The grain masks are large files and once applied, Aperture needs to recalculate every time you make another adjustment, which may impact performance on slower computers. It's best to apply this effect as the last thing you do, except for Dodge & Burn...

  • Use Dodge & Burn brick after applying the Grain Effect. When you apply a preset, Aperture replaces the bricks used by the effect. To get around this, just add a new dodge/burn adjustment after you've applied the grain.

  • Start with an amount between .50 and 1, and the same for both bricks. This will give you the most natural grain, but every image is different so experiment.



Share to download the free Aperture Grain Effect

Please support the site! The effect is free, all I ask is that you share the page in Twitter or Facebook to help me spread the word. Just click on the button below, share it, and the free download will start automatically.


Check out my other free Aperture Effects:

Aperture Presets Black and White v1.0

A set of three Aperture presets designed for under exposed photograhs. They lighten, add contrast, and preserve the shadows as much as possible.

Black and White v1.0 ›

Aperture Presets Black and White v2.0

This set of three Aperture presets is designed for well exposed photographs, especially portraits. They add contrast and add a faded effect to shadows.

Black and White v2.0 ›