Noise on Files
So noise, in the old, this was when I did my first digital comp, it had a noise filter to it, and it what it did right away was, you made the whole piece uniform. I had cut and paste from all these different actors on the background, and this noise just made it look like everything washed over it, and it was now a cohesive singular piece. And that continues on to this day.
But now we can use it in more ways than just that. So there's a number of different ways noise, I still use the pull-down menu to noise.
Yeah, so let's talk about noise and Gaussian noise and why we do it. We're gonna run through this for a second. So, first of all, let's talk about why are we adding noise at the end of a piece? So what Simon just alluded to is it hides your mistakes. It kinda, we kinda talk about this like stepping on. It kinda just steps on the piece. And so cut lines, mass lines, aren't quite as evident. It gives the illusion of sharpness.
eck this out you guys, put a noise layer on. So, make a brand-new layer, fill it with the color 50% gray, go under your filter menu, noise, and add noise.
And turn that 50% gray layer to an overlay.
To overlay mode. It's really basic. Most people I think understand the noise function, but I don't know if they know why they're doing it. And that's kind of what I wanna talk about right now. So, aside from stepping on your piece, it also gives the illusion of sharpness, a little bit of sharpness, and if you look at it you'll see it. But otherwise, there's this thing, I call it reference and resonance. So some of you young 'uns aren't gonna remember this, but there were soap operas on TV that were videotaped. And you'd watch it and they looked cheap. There was just this thing. And what does film have that video doesn't have, it's grain. And there's something about it that for our visual memory and history, it means something to us. And so it's a tactile thing. So I don't think there's a job that goes out without grain on it.
I said it, there's not a job that goes out without grain. I said grain, but it's noise. That's what I mean. Film has grain. So we're using it like film grain. So that's really, I think it's an important point. How you do it is, there's filters, there's artistic filter with grain, there's 100 ways to get there. I want you not so much to get a step-by-step here from us, I want you to understand why we're doing it.
But that goes, when I get gaming jobs, when I get computer-generated jobs, and I'll go and fix a bunch of things and I'll make things more contrasty and all that, and they're like, "Here, this is fantastic, everyone digs it, just make it better." I'll put a grain layer, a noise layer on at the end, and they don't know why they're reactin' to it, but they're like, "It looks better now that Raible had it." And it's just that simple.
Make yourself an action for that baby, 'cause you'll be just grainin' all day long.
Cool, and I wanna talk about two different points regarding the grain that's problematic for me. So, most people do Gaussian noise, and there's monochromatic. I have a thing that really makes me crazy. On a lotta posters, you will see a monochromatic grain noise put over the top. That is basically black and white, on top. Well, if you put black over flesh colored, it turns green. It turns green. And so I look at one-sheets, movie posters, that have a monochromatic grain, and I'm like, ugh, it looks green. And the saturated, the regular full-color grain that you can get from Photoshop, sometimes looks like it's just too sunshiney, too sparkly. So I do a minus 50% saturation on all my grain layers. So it's somewhere between the two. I wanna be really clear, this is my opinion, because you can go out there and look at any poster and there's a gazillion grayscale monochromatic noise. So I'm not, I'm not the leader in the universe on this opinion, but take a look at it, the skin tones will turn green with a gray noise.
Another little trick with the grain stuff is once you have that, you grain this 50% layer on overlay, if it's too teeny, and you try to get more, you can add more noise, but that's just contrasting these little baby pixels.
If you take that layer and transform it, actually make it bigger, you'll make those little pixels bigger. So it actually, you get bigger and bigger chunkier noise to it.
Yeah, you can--
So if it's overpowering, just bring down the opacity. But instead of just making it more contrasty, and that's not what you want, you want blobbier, chunkier, bigger bits.
Yeah, enlarge the grain.
You can enlarge the grain.
And the one thing I wanna state that we do a lot is because imagine with our one-sheets, we have some kinda small unit scene, and then we've got these beautiful gallery shots, you've gotta make these images look like they're cohesive. And that's what the grain does, it makes the background grain, or the, actually more the nice photographs look a little grainy like the background bad shot. The other thing to worry about now, anymore, unfortunately, is social media. So, do you know how I keep saying I have to deliver files with no grain for social media? I don't have any tricks anymore, right? It's not hiding anything. Your work is exposed. So, oddly enough, this is a crazy little thing, because you don't have to grain, or not even you don't have to, you're not allowed to grain social media shots, they don't want it grained. You gotta be better at your job, even though the file's smaller. Isn't that ironic? It's this weird little twist of fate, so I always cringe a little. Wanna move on?
Oh, it makes me sad. I like my grain.
The days of grain are gone. Collapsing smart objects and frequency separations.
Yeah. This is good.
Before, so, smart objects and all the loveliness they provide and frequency separations as well, before you give it to your client, you don't want them to get in trouble, and this is probably gonna be over their head, unless you know the person and trust 'em and have a rapport with 'em, I would definitely squish all that down and just call it a retouching layer. Also, it's gonna make your file size a lot smaller, so for transferring, instead of them getting a 10-gig file they can now have a 7-gig file. And if you just remove all the opportunities for bad things to happen, even if they were like, "Oh, let's see what he's doin'," you know, they don't need to go in there, it's not gonna help anything, but they open it up and start lookin' in there. You know, kids lookin' through your pocketbook, and then all they have to do is just knock somethin' off to the left and then you get called, "Hey how come this thing's off?"
And I was like, "I didn't do that," so.
Yeah it happens. So, let's talk about this big picture. Collapsing smart objects, what do we mean? So let's say for example we've done a composite and you've done, I'm put in a scene, and I need some retouchin', I'm a little old, you need to, need some little sugar goin' on here. Well you've probably done that on its own file, fully layered, and you bring it in as a smart object and you can keep opening it and keep doing, oh take out that line, oh put that back, I didn't mind that. Or change my hair color. Well that's a fully layered file collapsed as a smart object inside your composite. Well when you're done, don't give them that fully layered smart object, 'cause your file's gonna be ginormous. But, do you guys remember earlier in the day we had those support file folders in the WIPs? That's where you wanna save out that fully layered smart object, in a support file. I'm gonna say it again, save out that fully layered smart object out as a support file. Collapse it, and merge it, rasterize it, in the fully composed image. But whatever name that file is, you wanna name that smart object layer that is now rasterized. And you give it to your client with the assets. And then if they have to go to a fully layered file, they have it, but it's not buried in this one image. So what you're preventing is having one file in Photoshop with a gazillion layers, and hard to open and hard to transfer. And what you end up with is a pretty modest file, and support files that they can use on the side. And it'll affect you in transfer time, too, when you have to deliver the job. So that's pretty good. And then frequency separation. While that might not be a smart object, that might be a folder, a frequency separation, definitely save the fully layered frequency folder off in a support file and collapse it and rasterize it as a retention layer. Definitely. Cool.
Close the barn door before the horse gets out, man.
Close the barn door. But keep the horse, a copy of the horse, in the support file. (laughs) That was the weirdest analogy I've ever said in my life.
I like it.
Good, all right. What about these adjustment layers?
Apply all adjustments, limited layer files. So, our clients often ask for layered files, and what they're really asking for is give me a background and then give me all the actors and actresses that are on there as layers. And they might need to move those around for different applications, so if it's a vertical, if it's a horizontal, if the logo moves around, they can just gran those folks as a unit, move 'em over here. So I'll simplify it down, so. There's a finished person as a layer, but it's not everything I needed to build that, so, every adjustment layer, every hair end, every bit of illustration, every bit of retouchin' doesn't have to go with that file to satisfy that request. You can just merge all that stuff to a single individual. So now they do get a simplified layer Photoshop file, but it's not this crazy, every ingredient is exposed type file.
Now I have a little caveat for that. So how Simon retouches is, he's kinda old school, he actually retouches with a lightening and darkening curve. So he will retouch out pores and veins and bags with a adjustment layer, not with paint. He's really old school, it's really amazing to watch. People don't want, they can't deal with that, they're not gonna be able to fix it. So merge those kinds of adjustment layers, but if you have adjustment layers where you're changing the color of a shirt and they need to keep that flexible, don't merge that. Because you gotta be really careful about what adjustment layers you merge. The other thing please be very, very careful of, you know you all have a shot, and it's within the boundaries of the image, but the shot continues way outside the canvas? If you merge adjustment layers down, they will not merge down to the area outside the canvas. And if someone like me has to come and pick up the job and do extension, you've screwed me. Because you've merged an adjustment layer, and now I have to start all the way from scratch on that file. So that would be my only caveat on that. So you just have to be careful.
And it's talkin' with your client and knowin', and sayin', "What do you really want? Is it okay if I do this for you?"
And just keep that line of conversation open.
Yeah, and keep in mind, sometimes I'm the client. So, if I'm outsourcing to him, and he's doing the job, he's asking me how do I want the file. Not who's payin' us, but me, because I'm the one responsible for the file, so that's good.
So what did you wanna say about CMYK conversions?
When, okay CMYK conversions. When we're done workin' in RGB, they'll ask for a CMYK conversion to go to the printer. You need to know which conversion you want.
SWOP, GRACOL, yeah.
So, get that upfront, ask those questions early and don't make the wrong one of course. I think there's an automatic one that comes with Photoshop which is probably one of your least desirable?
Yeah, the default one, yeah.
Yeah, and this is pretty powerful, boy. The conversions that happen to RGB can really shift things one way or the other.
It's a huge issue.
Yeah, where you can work in different RGB color profiles, and they're a little bit off, when you convert stuff, it really can take a jump on ya.
And I res up on my RGB, flat RGB, and then convert to CMYK. I do not convert to CMYK and then res up, because the file's bigger and it takes longer to res up. So I convert, I mean pardon me, res up in RGB, then convert, and it's just a size issue. So yeah, that's pretty basic.