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Discovered: Silver Efex creates its own noise pattern in ...
  
 
jmvdigital
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p.1 #1 · Discovered: Silver Efex creates its own noise pattern in processing


After recently stepping up my black & white game and processing much more heavily in Silver Efex Pro 2, I have discovered a frustrating by-product of the way Silver Efex processes highlights. It actually creates its own square pattern/grid pattern with the grid spaced at about 260px x 260px.

At first I thought it was just sensor noise that I was exacerbating (which is the vertical banding on the 5D3, which is very noticeable even in highlights, depending on how you process). I only found it after using a temporary harsh curves layer on a snowy white landscape image I was working on (I used the harsh curves layer to temporarily enhance contrast to make retouching easier).

To rule out the sensor noise possibility, I created a new empty document in Photoshop. I picked two very light colors (237, 237, 237 ... 226, 226, 226) and created a radial gradient using the gradient tool. You can't see the gradient with the naked eye, the colors are too similar, but stick with me.

Then I ran it through Silver Efex Pro 2 and applied the same curves adjustment layer to the resulting image as I had done earlier. Here is the result:



I can rule out the gradient tool as the cause of the pattern, because the pattern is exactly the same spacing and size as seen in my photo. The only commonality between the two documents is Silver Efex Pro 2.

For reference, here is the radial gradient layer, before Silver Efex Pro 2, but with the contrast enhancing curves layer applied:





May 08, 2013 at 05:42 PM
mshi
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p.1 #2 · Discovered: Silver Efex creates its own noise pattern in processing


I heard that was due to film scans of grains embedded in the software. Did you use 8-bit or 16-bit color in your case?


May 08, 2013 at 05:54 PM
jmvdigital
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p.1 #3 · Discovered: Silver Efex creates its own noise pattern in processing


Interesting. I couldn't find anything with my Google-fu. Do you have any links discussing this?

I am working in 16-bit.



May 08, 2013 at 05:56 PM
jmvdigital
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p.1 #4 · Discovered: Silver Efex creates its own noise pattern in processing


FWIW, I had the Film Type set to Neutral, and grain was set at 500 (minimum, the closest to turning it off entirely).

EDIT: Turning off the Film Type palette entirely (effectively disabling the grain, curves and color response adjustments) does not change the grid noise pattern output. It looks almost exactly the same.



May 08, 2013 at 05:59 PM
Bernie
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p.1 #5 · Discovered: Silver Efex creates its own noise pattern in processing


If you're doing this in Photoshop, create a high quality jpg or tiff file and see if it exists there. There are times when PS renders that it creates some interesting textures which you may see on the display, but don't really exist in the image.


May 08, 2013 at 06:03 PM
jmvdigital
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p.1 #6 · Discovered: Silver Efex creates its own noise pattern in processing


Bernie, I've worked in Photoshop for over a decade as a professional graphic designer and photographer. I know what you're talking about (at least if you view certain files at in-between zoom levels, strange patterns can be seen)... I've never seen anything like this.

On a side note, I ran the same gradient test file (and my original snowy image) through onOne's new Perfect BW plugin and the square pattern is definitely NOT there. This is absolutely something that Silver Efex Pro 2 is generating.

For comparison, here is the output (with the high contrast curves layer applied) of onOne's Perfect BW on the same gradient test image. Obviously the toning and contrast are slightly different, the point is, there is no noise or patterns introduced into the image by the software. A plugin should not randomly degrade your image. This may mark the last time I use Silver Efex Pro.






May 08, 2013 at 06:17 PM
jmvdigital
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p.1 #7 · Discovered: Silver Efex creates its own noise pattern in processing


Here's a cut comparison showing the two conversions, from the same original gradient image. Gee, which conversion software would you choose? Both have film grain disabled.




May 08, 2013 at 06:27 PM
abqnmusa
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p.1 #8 · Discovered: Silver Efex creates its own noise pattern in processing


I think you will find most of the NIK (now Google) plugins add some sort of artifacts.
That is what I have seen.



May 08, 2013 at 09:12 PM
OntheRez
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p.1 #9 · Discovered: Silver Efex creates its own noise pattern in processing


Ouch! I've come to absolutely rely on SFX and this is not good news. I hadn't noticed these artifacts though it might be subject dependent. (We have a distinct lack of snowy scenes here in the Sonoran Desert

OTOH, I have noticed that ColorEfx can in some situation get what? noisier for want of a better word. Perhaps this extends across an underlying technology they use in most of their products? Will need to experiment as I use SFX and Viveza regularly.



May 08, 2013 at 11:31 PM
 

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finnianp
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p.1 #10 · Discovered: Silver Efex creates its own noise pattern in processing


Have you sent these examples to Nik to see what their response is?


May 09, 2013 at 12:47 AM
mshi
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p.1 #11 · Discovered: Silver Efex creates its own noise pattern in processing


jmvdigital wrote:
Interesting. I couldn't find anything with my Google-fu. Do you have any links discussing this?

I am working in 16-bit.


I heard that from one of Nik's webnars some years ago when I was interested in it. Later I found I could do much better in Photoshop myself and never adopted Nik's plugins for my workflow.



May 10, 2013 at 01:09 AM
super35
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p.1 #12 · Discovered: Silver Efex creates its own noise pattern in processing


I am pretty sure these artifacts are caused by your graphics card driver. In your Silver Efex Pro 2 settings, turn off "enable GPU processing" and see if the artifacts go away.


May 10, 2013 at 01:26 AM
iamcorey
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p.1 #13 · Discovered: Silver Efex creates its own noise pattern in processing


super35 wrote:
I am pretty sure these artifacts are caused by your graphics card driver. In your Silver Efex Pro 2 settings, turn off "enable GPU processing" and see if the artifacts go away.


I created a brand new account just to say disabling this option worked (for me). YMMV.

Thanks.



Nov 05, 2013 at 10:16 AM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #14 · Discovered: Silver Efex creates its own noise pattern in processing


OntheRez wrote:
Ouch! I've come to absolutely rely on SFX and this is not good news. I hadn't noticed these artifacts though it might be subject dependent. (We have a distinct lack of snowy scenes here in the Sonoran Desert

OTOH, I have noticed that ColorEfx can in some situation get what? noisier for want of a better word. Perhaps this extends across an underlying technology they use in most of their products? Will need to experiment as I use SFX and Viveza regularly.

Don't jump the gun. As stated, it may be a hardware problem. I have never seen this in SEP (SFX) and don't see it in my prints.

ColorEfex does some extreme adjustments, so noise is to be expected. A lot of what I see can be attributed to bringing out what is already in the image, I think the underlying technology is good.

It would be nice to have some scale on the examples that are posted.

I'm pleased with almost all NIK products, but I like other HDR software better than HDR Pro.



Nov 05, 2013 at 01:58 PM
skibum5
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p.1 #15 · Discovered: Silver Efex creates its own noise pattern in processing


Interesting, on a perhaps related topic:

when I updated to a new graphics card and driver from nividia I noted that if I use more than a few taps for a particular type of re-sizing filter in Media Player Classic+an advanced renderer that I get an odd grid pattern, it really freaked me out at first. I wonder if there is not a bug in some recent versions of nvidia drivers (man I sure hope it's not in the newer chipset)? I need to look into it more now that I'm a few graphics driver revisions later and see if it still happens.

that pattern of grids was NOT there when I used an older driver with my old nvidia card and used the same advanced video settings



Nov 05, 2013 at 08:16 PM
Sarsfield
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p.1 #16 · Discovered: Silver Efex creates its own noise pattern in processing


Can the OP confirm that he/she tried disabling GPU processing to see if the artifacts are still there?


Nov 05, 2013 at 10:25 PM
Mpking
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p.1 #17 · Discovered: Silver Efex creates its own noise pattern in processing


I had the exact same problem. A graphics card update fixed the problem.

See here: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1202062/0#11459396



Nov 12, 2013 at 11:21 PM
Pictus
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p.1 #18 · Discovered: Silver Efex creates its own noise pattern in processing


After updating the video driver it is a good idea to reset Photoshop to default settings.
I had this type of problem before and the reset fixed...



Nov 15, 2013 at 08:08 AM





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