TrueGrain from Grubba Software

September 10, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

There’s a new tool in my bag of photography tricks – TrueGrain from Grubba Software.  After a week of testing, I had to have it.

TrueGrain has been around for a while so I’m late to the party.  It simulates the look of film stock and film grain for digital photography and is often rated as the best at that task. 

The principal software developer is Gus Grubba, a fine art photographer and veteran of the computer graphics industry.  Martin Doudoroff, Grubba’s associate, is also a veteran of the computer graphics industry and a cocktail expert with a website called CocktailDB.  Photographers are a very diverse group of individuals.

TrueGrain doesn’t’ replace my favorite B&W conversion software, Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2, it just adds to it. 

Silver Efex Pro 2 does it all – tonality, brightness, contrast, structure, Nik’s local adjustments using its Control Point technology, color filters, film simulations, grain, color sensitivity, levels & curves, toning, paper hue, vignetting, image borders, etc.  It is widely regarded as the best B&W conversion software out there and has an impressive number of film stock and grain simulations.  Adding a few more excellent film grain simulations from TrueGrain won’t hurt.

TrueGrain does one job – film simulation, especially film grain simulation – and does it very well.  Yes, you can add color filters and do a few other tricks but TrueGrain, as the name implies, is mostly about simulating the film grain of classic films.

TrueGrain made high resolution drum scans of 16 classic film stocks and more are promised to be on the way.  The film’s Spectral Response, Dynamic Range, and Film Grain are scanned and can be adjusted separately.  The Dynamic Range can be attenuated – made less contrasty – and the image resolution and grain intensity of the Film Grain can be adjusted.

You can choose from 6 different Wratten color filters that were very popular in the film days – for instance, a red filter to darken skies - and you can choose one of 6 film stock scans at sizes from 110 to 6x8 or enter custom settings.

Grubba Software is looking into making TrueGrain a Photoshop plugin but, right now, it is a stand-alone app.  No problem.  After adjusting the color image in Photoshop, you save a Tif and open it in TrueGrain.  The processed image is saved as a Tif.  There is no toning capability but you can open the Tif in Photoshop or Silver Efex Pro 2 for toning or further processing.  Color or IR film is not supported at this time.

The attached photo is an early test of a simulation of Kodak Tri-X Pan 400 at 200 ISO with a Wratten 58 Green filter added.  Photographers who jumped onboard in the digital era may see noise but film photographers will see the true grain old film photographers often miss in digital.

When TrueGrain was introduced, it cost $300 – maybe why I didn’t buy it before – but now it is only $49 and you may be able to find a discount code. 

For more in-depth informaion and sample images, visit the Grubba Software website:


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