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In Photoshop and Bridge CS5 for Photographers New Features, author Chris Orwig explores the enhancements in Photoshop CS5 and Bridge CS5 from a photographer's perspective. This course introduces the Mini Bridge, a brand new panel to browse and open images without leaving Photoshop, expanded layer functionality, improved sharpening and noise reduction in Adobe Camera Raw, cleaning up and enhancing photographs with the new Bristle Brush and content-aware tools, and working with the new High Dynamic Range (HDR) toning controls. Exercise files are included with the course.
Here we're going to take a look at how we can reduce noise in the latest version of Adobe Camera Raw. Now in the previous movie, we talked a little bit about sharpening and here I simply want to highlight that in the previous version of Adobe Camera Raw the sharpening controls were identical, although the sharpening now in the new version of Camera Raw is much stronger. Well that's completely different with Noise Reduction. Previously, we had two controls: Luminance and Color, and if you know anything about Noise Reduction, you know that this softens your photograph. Well now new, in the latest version of Camera Raw, you have these different controls: Luminance and Luminance Detail, and Contrast, and also Color, and Color Detail.
In other words, we now have more controls so that we can dial in the exact amount of Noise Reduction and also detail and contrast. Let's take a look at how this can work. I'm going to go ahead and navigate over to Adobe Bridge, select this file demo.dng, and press Command+R or Ctrl +R. The next thing I want to do is double-click the Zoom tool to go into 100% and then click, perhaps a few more times, to really analyze what's happening in this image. One of the things that we're seeing here is that I captured this file with a really high ISO because there wasn't a lot of ambient light.
We can see that there is a lot of noise in the background and on the face, and in the glasses, and in the helmet. And what I want to do here is simply deconstruct how Noise Reduction actually works and I also want to highlight that there is a brand new demosaicing algorithm which gives us even better and more accurate noise reduction. Let's go over to our Detail panel. We can do so by clicking on this tab here. Now in order to really see how this works, I'm going to over-sharpen my image, and I'm going to do that just because it will help us to deconstruct some of these controls here.
It makes it a little more helpful to see the noise. All right. Well, how then am I going to reduce this noise? Well the first thing that we like to tackle typically is Luminance noise. Let's zoom in even further so you can see that. As I increase this amount, the image is going to become more and more smooth, or for that matter, more and more and more soft. Here we can see the skin looks really nice, the background looks really nice, although we've lost a lot of details. So how, then, can we deconstruct how these sliders work? Well, with this high of amount, we can kind of see how detail and contrast will work.
A low detail amount, we're going to see we have no details, completely soft image or with a high detail amount, we now bring back a lot of these little details. So, we can use these two sliders in order to dial in how much we're going to remove in regards to Luminance or Brightness value noise. Then we can also bring back or save some of the Detail in the image so that we don't go too far. All right. Well, what about contrast? Well contrast is really interesting. If we remove all the Luminance detail here, the image just becomes really soft and we've kind of flattened the image out a bit.
Well if you increase your Contrast, what you can do then is have a little bit more definition to the photograph, a little bit more Contrast there, which then in turn can help make the image a little bit sharper because one of the things we know is a higher level Contrast equals an image that appears to be sharper. So, we can then control that with these sliders here. All right. Well, let's go ahead and remove Luminance and deconstruct Color. Well here, you can see there is some color contamination in the background, and on the face, and in the glasses, and in order to exaggerate this, I'll go back to the Detail panel.
I'm going to increase my Vibrance a bit and also my Color Saturation, just so we can see some of the different color noise in the image. When we go back to the Detail panel and when we increase the Color Noise Reduction amount, what we're going to see is there it's going to be more uniform color, for example, in the background. There aren't as many random or stray colors. Remove that altogether, and you're going to see there's much more color artifacting here in the glasses. Let me zoom in even further so you can see all that noise. Well, again, we can remove that this way by increasing this particular slider.
Well, what about Detail? It works the same way. A low amount, what we're going to do is lose a lot of the color detail. A higher amount, we can then bring back some of the small little color details. Now that we've really deconstructed how all of these controls work, what I'm going to do is simply zoom out a little bit and take a look at how I could actually apply them. Well here is typically what we would do. Hold down Option or Alt and click on the Cancel button. That changes this to reset. Typically, what we'll do is add a little bit of sharpening here.
Then I'll bring up my Luminance Noise Reduction, dial in exactly how much detail I want, add a touch of Contrast there, and then also remove some of the color noise and then control the overall Color Detail. Once I've used those sliders, I need to going to go back and add a bit more sharpening. And keep that in mind. A lot of times what you're going to do with Noise Reduction is soften the photograph. You then need to go back and add just a touch more sharpening here, and by doing this, we can then have some really stunning results.
So, again, I want to point out here that there's a lot that's happening in the background. In other words, the engine which is really driving all of the sharpening and noise reduction is now much stronger and much better.
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