BeforeAfter

Before & After Noiseware

Who doesn’t have noise? If you don’t run into noise in your digital images, at least once in a while, you may not be pushing the envelope enough. You can photograph long after dark; if you haven’t tried it, you owe it to yourself to experience this—it’s magical. And if you find you don’t have a DSLR on hand, this should be no reason not to make pictures with a point-and-shoot or cell phone.

Whether you’re using a cell phone, a point-and-shoot digital camera or a DSLR at high ISOs or with very long exposures, you’re bound to run into some noise. Noise happens. When you have it, there’s a lot you can do about it. There are many ways you can reduce noise during postprocessing; you could even say there’s an art to it. Learning these techniques can improve good exposures and save others.
If Lightroom and Photoshop fail to adequately reduce noise in your images, it’s time to move to third-party plug-ins. For years, they’ve done a superior job of reducing noise, and they still do. While there are many fine third-party plug-ins for Photoshop (Noise Ninja, Neat Image, Dfine, etc.), one stands out from all the rest: Imagenomic Noiseware Professional.

For me, Noiseware is the most robust noise-reduction software available. Ironically, while it offers the most sophisticated feature set, very often the default settings when you first open an image are all you’re likely to need. In many cases, very little, if any, additional tweaking is necessary.

In part, this is because Noiseware analyzes the images you process and creates “profiles” or saved settings that it uses every time you open a new image. It intelligently learns your needs by tracking your past images and analyzing your new images. You can also use Noiseware’s tools to create your own profiles, which can be saved and reused. You can save your own Preferences for how you’d like Noiseware to behave and learn. Noiseware also offers 13 default settings (like Landscape, Night Scene, Portrait, Stronger Noise, etc.) and allows you to save your own custom settings, which can be created from scratch or by modifying the provided presets.

PresetsGeneric Standard Presets

PresetsCustom

Custom Preset

Noiseware’s ability to target noise reduction to specific aspects of an image is what makes it unparalleled. You can adjust Noise Reduction based on Luminance or Chrominance; higher settings produce stronger noise reduction. You can target Noise Level based on Luminance or Chrominance; higher settings tell the software there’s more noise. You can target Color Range; Noise Reduction and Noise Level can be customized by hue—reds, yellows, greens, cyans, blues, magentas, neutrals. You can target Tonal Range; Noise Reduction and Noise Level can be customized for shadows, midtones and highlights. You can target image areas based on Frequency (or amount of detail); Noise Reduction and Noise Level can be customized to High, Mid, Low and Very Low frequencies. Finally, you can enhance detail, first, by using Detail Protection to reduce the effect based on Luminance or Color, and second, by using Detail Enhancement, which provides Sharpening, Contrast and Edge Smoothening.

TonalColorRange

Defaults

LevelReduction

Noise Level helps prepare the filter by analyzing the image

Noise Reduction is the blurring effect

Detail_Only

Detail Enhancement – turn it off and use Photoshop instead

Frequency_Only

Frequency (of detail) targeting

TonalColorRange_Only

Tonal & Color Range targeting

Noiseware’s ability to provide this level of selectivity is extraordinary. It allows you to easily customize noise reduction for separate areas of an image without making complex masks. You’ll want to do this. Here’s just one example, among many, of why you want to do this. Smooth image areas reveal noise much more readily and they support more noise reduction, while highly textured image areas hide noise, but don’t support as much noise reduction without compromising apparent image sharpness.

Use Noiseware’s sharpening sparingly (if at all) and only for the most modest boosts to image sharpness, as you can create much more sophisticated and selective results in Photoshop—and almost every image can use a little sharpening after noise reduction. Always reduce noise before sharpening.

Combine today’s digital cameras with the latest software, and you’ll find that you’ll rethink many things about when and where you make exposures. You’ll shoot at higher ISOs that you once thought were unusable. You’ll shoot in low levels of light where you once thought it was impossible to get an exposure, much less a usable one. You’ll look at your digital files, and where once you thought noise was a deal-breaker, you’ll find it no longer is. Noise-reduction skills and noise-reduction tools are essential to any photographers skill set and toolkit. Master them, and liberate yourself.

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Noiseware 5 did an even better job than Noiseware 4 at reducing noise on a new series of images I’m printing now.

Noiseware 5 is now available.

– New algorithms are 25% more effective and retain more detail
– 64 bit compatible (Mac and Windows)(CS6)
– 4X faster with multi-core support
– New History feature with unlimited undos
– New Preset Manager for presets, notes, and import/export

The upgrade is free for registered users.
New users get a 20% discount with this code JPC2007.

Read my review here.

Download Noiseware 5 here.

Learn more about controlling noise in digital images here.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

noiseware

Who doesn’t have noise? If you don’t run into noise in your digital images, at least once in a while, you may not be pushing the envelope enough. You can photograph long after dark; if you haven’t tried it, you owe it to yourself to experience this—it’s magical. And if you find you don’t have a DSLR on hand, this should be no reason not to make pictures with a point-and-shoot or cell phone.

Whether you’re using a cell phone, a point-and-shoot digital camera or a DSLR at high ISOs or with very long exposures, you’re bound to run into some noise. Noise happens. When you have it, there’s a lot you can do about it. There are many ways you can reduce noise during postprocessing; you could even say there’s an art to it. Learning these techniques can improve good exposures and save others.

If Lightroom and Photoshop fail to adequately reduce noise in your images, it’s time to move to third-party plug-ins. For years, they’ve done a superior job of reducing noise, and they still do. While there are many fine third-party plug-ins for Photoshop (Noise Ninja, Neat Image, Dfine, etc.), one stands out from all the rest: Imagenomic’s Noiseware Professional.

For me, Noiseware is the most robust noise-reduction software available. Ironically, while it offers the most sophisticated feature set, very often the default settings when you first open an image are all you’re likely to need. In many cases, very little, if any, additional tweaking is necessary …

Read more at Digital PhotoPro.

Find Noiseware here.

Learn more in my workshops.

Dave McDonell on Noise

September 30, 2009 | Leave a Comment |

noise1

Dave McDonell, cofounder of Imagenomic, the company that makes Noiseware, my favorite noise reduction software weighs in on noise.

JPC    Where does noise come from?

DM    There are several factors in a digital camera capture process that contribute to noise. The most prevelant are temperature, the actual capture circuitry, sensor size, and the process of sub-sampling which induces errors between adjacent pixels.

JPC    Why is chrominance noise so much easier to reduce than luminance noise?

DM    It’s really not in application. It’s just that you perceive changes in luminosity or brightness much easier than you do in color.

JPC    Fine color noise is easier to reduce than coarse color noise, like the color patterns created by demosaicing bayer patterns. When are you most likely to encounter this type of noise? How should you treat it differently? How far can you go?

DM    There are no hard and fast rules for any of the above questions as all are dependent on the capture situation and subsequent output medium.

JPC    What’s the biggest challenge when reducing luminance noise?

DM    Achieving a balance between perceived reduction and image detail.

JPC    At what point would you stop using the sharpening controls in Noiseware Pro and start using the sharpening controls in Photoshop?

DM    Again, another matter of workflow organics. Each person has a specified workflow as to input, editing and output.

JPC    Do you recommend reducing noise before or after sharpening? Why?

DM    In the vast majority of cases, use noise reduction before sharpening as sharpening will almost always magnify existing noise patterns.

JPC    Do you recommend reducing noise before or after upsampling? Why?

DM    Along the same lines as sharpening, any noise patterns will be magnified. Sometimes it is necessary when resizing to use noise reduction in 2 steps – one on the unsized image and another finishing reduction on the upsampled image.

JPC    Tell me about one or more features of Noiseware Pro that typically get overlooked and under used.

DM    Probably the most under used but most powerful feature is the bracketing function. One can quickly establish usable ranges from which presets can be generated. Presets is another overlooked feature whereby one can establish customized slider settings for a wide range of images.

JPC    Is all noise bad?

DM    All images have noise to a degree, regardless of capture method.  When the amount and/or type of noise becomes such that it is viewed as degrading to the image, then we definitely toss it in the bad category.

Find out more about Noiseware here.
Find out more about noise in my DPP articles and stay tuned for more.


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