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KirkD

Noise reduction plug-in for Photoshop CS4

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I shoot low light wide angle deep wreck photos. I do get some noise with these types of photos. Anyway, I have seen 3 different products out there: 1) Define 2.0 by Nik software; 2) Noise Ninja by Picture Code & ;3) Noiseware by Imagenomic. I'm not sure if I missed any.

 

I would appreciate it if the members an weight in with their experiences, good and bad, along with any personal recommendations.

 

Thanks

 

Kirk

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I've been using Neat Image for a while now, without any hassles. Fairly easy to use and adjust, and they have updates when needed.

 

I would suggest you download and install the trial versions of all the ones your interested in. While the trials won't come with the CS4 plug-in the stand alone usually operates in exactly the same way as the plug-in.

 

That way you should end up with a configuration you are happy with.

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I shoot low light wide angle deep wreck photos. I do get some noise with these types of photos. Anyway, I have seen 3 different products out there: 1) Define 2.0 by Nik software; 2) Noise Ninja by Picture Code & ;3) Noiseware by Imagenomic. I'm not sure if I missed any.

 

I would appreciate it if the members an weight in with their experiences, good and bad, along with any personal recommendations.

 

Thanks

 

Kirk

Hi Kirk. I use Noise Ninja when absolutely necessary. Sometimes, the noise might be limited to a single color channel. If that is the case, run a standard PS noise reduction only on that channel (red usually), perhaps a touch of gaussian blur to the same channel. You might want to then convert the image to LAB and sharpen only the luminance channel, then convert back.

Noise reduction programs can soften an image universally, which may or may not be pleasing.

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I use Noise Image Ninja. Noise Image Ninja and Neat Image are the top two sellers. I got the non-pro version. It's a pain because it won't work in 16bit. I'll have to upgrade at some point.

 

Edit: I meant Noise Ninja.

 

You can google Noise Ninja vs. Neat Image and find dozens of comparative reviews.

Edited by scorpio_fish

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Hi Kirk. I use Noise Ninja when absolutely necessary. Sometimes, the noise might be limited to a single color channel. If that is the case, run a standard PS noise reduction only on that channel (red usually), perhaps a touch of gaussian blur to the same channel. You might want to then convert the image to LAB and sharpen only the luminance channel, then convert back.

Noise reduction programs can soften an image universally, which may or may not be pleasing.

 

 

Can you walk me through the steps in trying it on a single channel. Also, how much gaussian blur do you use. I'm new to CS4. I'm working through Scott Kelby's Book right now

 

Thanks

 

Kirk

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Can you walk me through the steps in trying it on a single channel. Also, how much gaussian blur do you use. I'm new to CS4. I'm working through Scott Kelby's Book right now

 

Thanks

 

Kirk

Sure, no problem. In CS4 you have a "channels" panel in your tools (Layers/channels/paths). If you don't see it, go to menu item "Window, and click on channels. Assuming you are working with an RGB image, when you click on the channels tab, you will see the RGB image, then the ®ed, then (G)reen then blue channels separately. Take a look at each of the color channels to see if the noise is more apparent in any one of the channels. I find it is usually the red channel which is most disruptive in low light shooting.

Highlighting that channel, run the PS4 noise reduction. Use as much as you need, but be aware you will sacrifice sharpness in that channel if you hit it hard. Use just enough to make the noise acceptable (look at the preview screen). Sometimes using a touch of gaussian blur will confuse the eye enough that it does not perceive the errant pixels as noise. Use it sparingly, but experiment... always experiment with PS4. If you create layers for every step, its easy to go back later on. (Scott Kelby will explain that to you if you don't know that already).

I mentioned switching to LAB mode to do your sharpening because in LAB you can target the luminance channel only which is where you definitely want to do any sharpening if there is color noise in your image. Once you convert the image to LAB (Image, Mode. LAB Color) choose the L channel as you did earlier and run sharpen. Then switch back to RGB (image,mode,rgb). I hope this helps.

There are many other ways to work with noise (even books about it), but this should get you started in a fairly straightforward manner.

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You might want to then convert the image to LAB and sharpen only the luminance channel, then convert back.

LAB conversion destroys color information, unfortunately. See Bruce Lindbloom's discussion for more information...

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Thing is, many raw converters do a portion of their processing in Lab anyway, so there's often a round trip before you even get your image. Lindbloom's example used the sRGB color space to exaggerate the issue. Larger gamut spaces suffer far less. I'm not a fan of converting back and forth to Lab but the details of what goes on are more complicated than it seems at first.

 

There is a quantization error when linear camera data is converted to a color space that is anything other than linear. Lightroom processes in a linear version of ProPhoto for that reason. If you export from LR/Aperture to Photoshop and reimport you sustain a round of requantization error too. Same goes if you use an Aperture plugin. All the more reason to shoot raw and process in 16 bits.

 

Lab is a very large space. If your image requires only a small gamut and you select an optimal working space then you should realize that switching temporarily to Lab will destroy whatever advantage that optimal color space had (if you ever had it to begin with). If you work in a large gamut space then the penalty of a Lab switch isn't so great.

 

Since all this is off-topic I will say that I use Noiseware and like it. I have used Neat Image in the past but found I just didn't "get it". NoiseWare I get.

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LAB conversion destroys color information, unfortunately. See Bruce Lindbloom's discussion for more information...

While it is true one would not want to convert back and forth ad nauseum, in low light images which suffer noise problems to begin with, sharpening the luminance channel only has greater advantages over sharpening color noise in rgb. In this specific example, I see this as an advantage, as low light underwater shooting usually occupies only a small portion of even the most constrained color space.

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+1 on using Noise Ninja. I'm using the Aperture plugin which saves me the extra photoshopping step. I find it easy to use and effective, but haven't tried the others, Noise Ninja came on recommendation from photographer I know.

 

Usually gets applied for the same reasons, if I have to go ISO800 or higher.

Edited by simonmittag

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