**Note: To get a better feel of some of the effects of the adjustments, click on each image to see an enlarged version.

 What is it?

According to their literature:

Realgrain features versatile methods for simulating the grain patterns, the color and the tonal response of different films and different scan resolutions to convey a truly film-like image effect.

So basically, it manipulates image tone, color, and grain to mimic film.


Download and Installation

In a word – easy. Just like their Noiseware software, the directions are clear, and the process is very quick and simple. To activate it, all you have to do once you’ve opened up Photoshop is go to Filters –> Imagenomics –> Realgrain.

Boom. Ready to go.

Using the Program

Once it’s fired up, this is what you’re looking at:

realgrain-panelYou have easy to navigate tabs on the left, and a preview of the image in the center with a thumbnail view in the bottom right.

The program also has a whole bunch of built-in film presets too, which shows you a thumbnail preview of what each preset would look like on the current image:


And if the presets are what you’re looking for, that’s awesome. But the program gives you greater control over each preset, or let’s you create your own custom mix.

Grain,Tone, and Color Tabs

This is where you add the grain to the images (grain tab), control brightness of shadows, highlights, etc. (tone tab), as well as adjust hue, saturation, and brightness in each color channel (color tab).

In the grain tab, you can control how much grain you add, the size of the grain, how much is dispersed within the highlights, midtones, and shadows, and even add flecks of color to the grain if you so choose. You can even choose to give the grain a color tint using the grain balance panel within the grain tab.

For example, in the image below, I added grain, increased the amount of grain present in the shadows tone, added color to the grain (you can see little flecks of yellow, green, red, etc. within the grain), and gave the grain an overall yellow tint (you’ll notice more yellow flecks and more of a yellow cast in this image than the original).

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 6.28.39 PM

The tone tab isn’t too much to discuss, since the controls within that panel behave similarly as they do in Lightroom, Photoshop, etc. and allow you to adjust the contrast and brightness of the shadows, midtones, and highlights. This is also where you’ll find the tone curve as well.

Same with the color tab – it’s very similar to the Hue, Saturation, and Luminance (HSL) panel you have in both Photoshop and Lightroom.

B&W Tab

This tab is where you adjust the specific look of an image if you choose to turn it – you guessed it – black and white. It gives you the option to adjust specific color channels to help give you control of the B&W look of your image.

For example – In the below image, I just told the program to show the picture in black and white, with no color channel adjustments:


Whereas in the next image, I added a green color lens filter and increased the color balance and color response in the green channel. You’ll notice how that affected the luminosity of various parts of the image and skin tones:

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 1.32.11 PMAnd since the program allows you to adjust all six color channels, it gives you pretty good control over the black and white mix of your images.

Tint/Toning Tab

If you work in Lightroom regularly and have played around with the Split Toning panel, you’ll have a pretty good understanding of what this tab does.

For those of you that don’t, it’s a pretty simple concept. Split Toning allows you to change the tint/color of the highlights tone and the shadows tone separately. So if you wanted to give the highlights in your image a warm, orange-ish tint and give the shadows a blue, cooler tint (or vice versa), Split Toning is where you’d do it.

The Tint/Toning tab in Realgrain behaves the same way. You can either choose a predefined toner (like Copper, Palladium, or one of the six color channels like Red), or create your own by adjusting the blue/yellow and green/red color channels, and then adjusting the intensity of the tint by using the strength slider. And you can make adjustments to any of the predefined toners as well by using the same color and strength sliders.

The balance slider then allows you to balance the shadows and highlights and whether or not you want the image do display stronger highlight tones or stronger shadows tones.

So to give you a taste of how that applies to an image, for the below image I added a Cyanotope Toner to the highlights (and left the shadows alone). And you’ll notice it gives the image a blue tint/tone:

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 2.34.58 PM

And if I adjust the shadows and add a Platinum Palladium tint, you’ll see it adds more yellow/warmer tones into the image and adds a bit more temperature balance to the image:

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 2.36.49 PMOverall this above image is a bit cool, so if I wanted to balance it out a bit I would use the Balance slider at the bottom of the Tint/Toning adjustments panel and slide it more towards the Platinum Palladium  to bring more warm tones into the image:

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 2.38.25 PMAnd you’ll notice that the image looks a bit warmer with only little hints of blue.

Using a Combination of Settings…

If you were to adjust a combination of settings from each of the tabs, you’d have a significant amount of control over your image, and be able to replicate some of the old-fashioned film affects or create your own unique color and grain mix.

And if you create a mix that you like (or adjust one of the presets just the way you want it), the software allows you to save and name your own preset to use in the future for quicker editing.


If you’re looking to give your digital images a filmier look, I highly suggest this software. The film presets it comes with are already fantastic, and the adjustment tabs give you the ability to tweak it just the way you want and more or less gives you endless combination options.

Plus since it’s a Photoshop plug-in, you can create an action for it and quickly and easily apply any preset you like (or your own) to your images once you’re done with the basic RAW edits. So you get the advantage of getting a customized film look to your images without having to go in and apply it to each image individually.

(Or, if you’re like me, you spend a whole afternoon playing with all the options and customizations because it’s sort of like being a kid in a candy shop….)

Pretty cool, huh?

To read more about it or check out a free trial, head over to Imagenomics’ website.

Happy Editing!

P.S. A shout-out and thank you to Christine Buckler for use of her (adorable) newborn image!



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Published by Beth Teutschmann

A big fan of food, chaos, and all things fun, Beth is the owner of Starboard Editing, LLC - a photography post-production company focusing on anything from editing to blogging and SEO. When she's required to leave the confines of her dark room, she enjoys martial arts, eating, tattoos, cooking, ice cream, sillyness, eating, and traveling. You should probably say hi.

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