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Best Noise reduction Methods
  
 
mysh
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Best Noise reduction Methods


I am sure this has been discussed before but wanted to see what is currently peoples favorite method for reducing noise.
I basically just skip noise reduction in my workflow and most shots I feel comfortable doing this but sometimes there is a shot that can benefit from a good method. Part of why I skip it so much is I feel the software I use doesn't do a good job of it or it is user error.
For example lightroom seems to either give very little improvement or it creates a mushy dull look.
I also have tried in photoshop CS6 without finding a method I was happy with.

What app, plugin or method do you find does the best job without killing image quality and detail?



Jul 27, 2017 at 04:14 AM
dhphoto
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Best Noise reduction Methods


You can get the Nik Collection free now and that includes Dfine2 which works very well.
I use it on a separate Photoshop layer and then paint back in the areas I need extra detail in, dead easy.
NeatImage is very good too but you have to pay for that



Jul 27, 2017 at 07:29 AM
HaJa
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Best Noise reduction Methods


dhphoto wrote:
You can get the Nik Collection free now and that includes Dfine2 which works very well.
I use it on a separate Photoshop layer and then paint back in the areas I need extra detail in, dead easy.
NeatImage is very good too but you have to pay for that



Those are what I use to handle noise.
Dfine2 works very well with LR. Difficult files go to NI.

Jarmo



Jul 27, 2017 at 08:33 AM
15Bit
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Best Noise reduction Methods


DXO Optics. By far the best NR i've found so far. It does meant that you do the major NR at the RAW conversion stage and not at the end of editing. And you have to do the RAW conversion with DXO Optics.


Jul 27, 2017 at 10:10 AM
skid00skid00
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Best Noise reduction Methods


You have to know what you are doing in Lightroom...

Sharpening enhances noise, you must keep amount down, and Detail under 90% (maybe under 50% per image). Radius has an effect, depending on how much NR was done in-camera (like with JPGs you are processing additionally in LR).

You can use relatively high amounts of Luminance NR, but keep Detail over 50%, and use as much Threshold as you can get away with, without causing strange transitions at light/dark borders.

Color NR will have a significant effect on the graininess, too. Again, watch Detail. I try to keep Smoothness under 40.

Create a virtual copy and use the 'C'ompare feature to fine-tune an image. Then create a preset!



Jul 27, 2017 at 02:45 PM
OntheRez
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Best Noise reduction Methods


Depending on image and desired outcome: DXO Pro v.11 or MacPhun Noisless (Mac). I do however miss Noise Ninja. Too bad the developer couldn't make a living supporting it.


Jul 27, 2017 at 03:07 PM
Ernie Aubert
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Best Noise reduction Methods


I rather like Topaz Labs DeNoise.


Jul 28, 2017 at 02:21 AM
JameelH
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Best Noise reduction Methods


+1 on Topaz DeNoise


Jul 28, 2017 at 05:37 PM
JimboCin
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Best Noise reduction Methods



OntheRez wrote:
Depending on image and desired outcome: DXO Pro v.11 or MacPhun Noisless (Mac). it.


Like you, I enjoy DxO PRIME. Have not used Noiseless.

In what situations do you consider Noiseless to produce better results than DxO?

Thanks!

Jim



Jul 30, 2017 at 12:55 AM
 

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rattlebonez
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Best Noise reduction Methods


DXO V11 Elite RAW conversion using "DXO Prime" is the best option I have found.


Jul 31, 2017 at 03:27 PM
GOVA
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Best Noise reduction Methods


Have used Neat Image since its inception. Highly recommended especially due to various integration options and huge configurability. It has worked very well for me.




Aug 02, 2017 at 05:40 PM
mysh
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Best Noise reduction Methods


I gave topaz a try and it worked well for my needs. I am going to look into other options as well. I think its good to have a couple options depending on the type of shot and needs.


Aug 07, 2017 at 05:26 AM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Best Noise reduction Methods


It's a shame that Noise Ninja was discontinued. Of all the commercial packages I've used, NN was by far the best. The standalone still works on El Capitan. I guess I'll find out soon if it works on Sierra.


Aug 07, 2017 at 06:47 AM
OntheRez
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Best Noise reduction Methods


Jimbo,

I tend to use Noiseless with images that have largely smooth gradients, e.g., a distant desert range in the dawn. I think ocean features would fit in this also, but it's along time since I was on a shore.

The biggest place I use the program is sports work on the deadline. Noiseless with its presets is much quicker to use. Given that I'm at high ISO with lousy lighting, I have to push noise reduction hard. Noiseless handles this well. On anything that is "art," I always use DXO. Its prime noise reduction (along with Clearview) does a remarkable job. I just realized I've never tried DXO in this situation (sports), so I wonder what the results might be. Have to try it.

Peter, please let us know how NN fares on Sierra. Haven't tried it and would like to know what happens.

Robert



Aug 07, 2017 at 03:30 PM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Best Noise reduction Methods


Robert. I sure will. Am setting up a new iMac right now but have two days of shooting then a week out of town, plus I'm still waiting on drives and TB enclosure from OWC, which was backordered. Oh well.


Aug 07, 2017 at 03:58 PM
elkhornsun
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Best Noise reduction Methods


I currently use Topaz DeNoise and Photoshop for NR. Nothing beats CS6 NR but it is also the most time consuming by far and not usable for batch processing of image files.

When noise was an issue with my cameras I would on an annual basis take an hour and download 4 NR programs and install them on a computer and process a difficult image like a full head shot with each of them. I would take a section of they eye and mouth areas and make 4 images that I could layer onto a 8x10 size print and then compare the results. In total this took less than 60 minutes to accomplish.

I could then see which one provided for me the best combination of noise reduction and detail preservation. It is a balancing act and very subjective in many respects.



Aug 10, 2017 at 12:08 AM
Alan321
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Best Noise reduction Methods


You might hate me for posting this. I suggest that you print it and take it in at your leisure Scribble on it as required until you get the hang of it. Then it just works.


Noise Reduction in Lr

*** Updated for Lr 5, CC and 6 ***

I've got a set routine for tweaking every image with the right luminance NR and detail settings in Lr, but I have yet to figure out how to use the contrast setting as consistently. The colour NR is similar but requires that I be at least part way through the luminance NR process to get it right or else the colour noise is buried in the luminance noise. Although I have a set routine, it can be adjusted iteratively if the image demands it. If all else fails, I will abandon my Lr workflow and use an external noise reduction program at the expense of creating an extra image file.

I figured some time ago that fixed ISO-related NR presets (for each camera model ) are not the best way to do NR even though they may be the quickest. Noise varies with the darkness of the captured exposure as well as the camera exposure settings. If the scene and the capture are all bright then even high ISO produces relatively little noise, but if part of the scene is dark then it will be noisier than the rest of the scene even if the overall exposure was high. Nevertheless, I used such camera/ISO-specific NR presets to give me a better starting point from which fewer images need to be adjusted - until I realised that doing so slowed down every other edit that I applied to the images. For the same reason I do the NR late in my editing workflow.


Anything that I will print is likely to get individual NR treatment in Lr. However, it would need to be particularly troublesome noise for me to use a NR plug-in with Ps, or a dedicated stand-alone NR program, as well as do my processing in Lr. The primary reason is that such an approach would demand that I create a new image file and I prefer to avoid that unless or until necessary to meet my printing requirements. The advantage of dedicated NR software could be that such programs can process noise of different physical sizes separately, and/or process light and dark areas separately, and or can generate a noise profile based on the noise in a relatively featureless but of an image. I especially like Neat Image Pro when dealing with jpegs, and the Prime NR in DxO Optics Pro for raw files.

My process is complex when written down but it actually works very easily and smoothly for nearly all images that are worth keeping. Above all, it gives a far more consistent and reasonable approach than any other instructions I have come across in Lr books and articles. That makes it usable on more images and that in turn makes it easier to stick with it.


So here's my present process, but it is still being refined:

1. In either the Develop or Library modules, set the exposure and white balance to give a decent looking image. This includes white balance, exposure, highlights, shadows, whites and blacks. Ignore any noise for this step. This step is very important as getting it wrong will make the image "look wrong" as well as greatly affect the noise and the colouration in the shadow areas.

2. View image in Develop module.

3. Zoom in to 100% and set Luminance NR to maximum. Yes, all the way up. The images will go way too soft but ignore that for now.

4. Set Luminance detail to maximum. You may see some artefacts appear out of the blur. Often they are triangular or linear and clearly are not part of the scene.

5. Set Luminance contrast at minimum (I figure out what to do with it later on if needed)

6. Set Colour NR to maximum

7. Set Colour detail to maximum

8. If there are any luminance artefacts at all (little blobs or triangles or strips in smooth areas where they obviously don't belong) then decrease the Luminance Detail until they all disappear; All of them - not just some of them. This is best checked on a smooth or low detail area if possible. Work slowly enough for Lr processing and screen updates to catch up with the new Detail settings, or else you'll overshoot the optimum setting. We want the highest detail setting that works with zero artefacts at maximum Luminance NR.

9. Now decrease Luminance NR until luminance (white) noise is just perceived to be a problem, then increase it a tad. This will vary with each image - e.g. I'll tolerate more noise in a night shot at ISO 25600 than I will in a day shot at ISO 6400. At this stage I don't worry if too much image detail has been lost - for now I'm looking for "clean" rather than "appropriate". Ignore coloured noise too.

10. Decrease the Colour detail until any bright coloured dots disappear (if there are any they'll look like stuck pixels, especially prevalent in the dark areas). We want the highest detail setting that works. This step may not work on some images if the Luminance NR is still too high. We're trying to get rid of image noise - not genuine stuck pixels and hot pixels; there's no value in going to extremes to remove what cannot be removed.

11. Now decrease the Colour NR until too much colour noise appears as many bright dots and then raise it back up so that it largely disappears. It'll vary with camera as well as exposure, but for this step we ignore large-scale coloured splotches and concentrate on the spots. We want the lowest amount setting that works. This step may not work if the Luminance NR is still too high.

12. *** New in Lr 5: There is now a colour area noise reduction feature that takes care of large coloured areas that should not be there. Increase that rather than increasing the Colour NR amount to get rid of it. We want the lowest setting that works.


Note: At this stage there is very little noise of any type and the overall exposure and appearance are probably ok, but on a particularly noisy image or a particularly detailed image it is very possible that too much fine detail has been trashed. Sometimes we need to compromise by accepting some noise with the detail in very high ISO images or parts of images that have been underexposed too far. When choosing the balance it may help to know that a lot of noise disappears in prints because of the higher pixel density, and in screen images that are reduced in size. You might even look at the image on-screen at full 1:1 size, but from a greater distance, in order to judge which noise really matters.

13. Decrease the Luminance NR further if there is not enough detail in the busy parts of the image where extra detail is needed. This is a trade-off because there will be an increase in luminance noise too. We want the lowest setting that works. Be careful to not confuse noise with detail. At this stage, depending on the sort of detail that is missing, it may be beneficial to increase the Luminance contrast setting rather than - or in balance with - decreasing the Luminance NR amount. The Luminance contrast works better with long thin details such as stripes or the gaps between the wooden planks of a jetty or fence than it does with short details that more closely resemble noise spots.

14. Review the sharply defined colour boundaries in the image and decrease the Colour NR amount and/or increase the Colour Detail setting if too much detail has been lost at the colour boundaries (such as coloured text on a coloured background).


Note: Be aware that the colour defringing lens correction can affect some wanted colours too, and fiddling with Colour NR will not get them back.

Note: I print large (24" x 36") and so I'm happy to assess noise at 100% because all of my pixels will be printed. You might decide that you can tolerate more noise at 100% if you'll be printing smaller than this because then not every pixel will be printed. Alternatively, you might do the NR processing at half size, for example, or while looking at the monitor from a longer distance. Printing too small will hide fine detail as well as noise because too many pixels will be discarded, in which case much of this NR process may seem like wasted effort on a full size image.



Aug 12, 2017 at 02:47 PM







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