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Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training highlights the important features of this comprehensive image organization and photo enhancement application. Photographer Jan Kabili shows how to use Photoshop Elements to organize and edit photos, build photos into projects like slideshows and photo books, and share photos with family and friends. Jan explains how to train Photoshop Elements 8 to recognize and tag faces, use the Smart Brush for targeted adjustments, and share photos using Adobe's online service, photoshop.com. She also dives deep into the application's editing tools, which rival those of the full product, Photoshop, in their ability to take snapshots and turn them into great photos. Exercise files accompany the course.
When you shoot with a digital camera, it's inevitable that you'll get some digital noise in your photographs. This is most likely to happen when you're shooting with a high ISO or when there are a lot of dark or shadow areas in your photographs. I am going to zoom into this image by selecting the Zoom tool in the toolbar and then clicking several times in the image so that you can see some of the digital noise here. These colored pixels represent color digital noise and then there can also be some black-and-white digital noise. I'm going to hold the Spacebar down to switch to the Hand tool temporarily and click-and-drag in the image to this area down here where you can see JPEG artifacts, squares of pixels, which are caused by compressing image as a JPEG in the camera.
The Reduce Noise filter can help with all of these problems. Color digital noise, black-and- white digital noise, and JPEG artifacts. I am going to go back to 100% view by double-clicking the Zoom tool in the toolbar, and then I'll apply the Reduce Noise filter, going up to the Filter menu, down to the Noise category and over to Reduce Noise. I'm going to move this dialog box over by clicking in its title bar and dragging to the right. And now I'll be able to see a preview of the image at 100% over here, as I choose settings here in the Reduce Noise dialog box.
I'll also be able see a preview here in this nice large preview area inside the dialog box itself. I'm going to zoom in on this image by clicking the plus sign underneath the preview and then I'll click in the image and drag until I see the seal. The way that the preview works is that when I have my mouse held down like this, I can see the noise and the artifacts in the image, but when I release my mouse Elements applies whatever settings are over here in the sliders, and by default those are already reducing some of the noise in the image.
But I'd like to make my own choices over here in the settings. So I'm going to start by dragging all these sliders back over to the left, to the defaults, and making sure Remove JPEG Artifact is unchecked. So now this is how the image looks without any noise reduction. Since there is a lot of color noise here, I'm going to start by dragging the Reduce Color Noise slider over to the right. And as I do, that color noise disappears out of the image. There is still noise here in the form of these gray and black pixels, but that I can reduce by going to the Strength slider and dragging it to the right.
If I want an even softer image with less noise, I can get the Preserve Details slider, which automatically moved over when I increase the Strength, and drag that to the left. I want to be careful not to make the image too soft or blurry by doing that, but I keep my eye not only on the zoomed in view here, but also on the 100% view over here. I think that looks pretty good right now. Finally I want to reduce these squares of JPEG artifacts here. So I'm going to check Remove JPEG Artifact. It didn't do a great job but it did reduce them slightly.
Now I'm going to take this preview back to 100% by clicking on the minus symbol here and to get a before and after view I'll move into the image, I'll click and hold and that's how things were and then I'll release my mouse and that's how they are now. It's a subtle difference, but I think it's one that makes the image look better. So then I'll click OK to accept those changes in the image here in the document window. If I want even more noise reduction at this point I can go back up to the Filter menu and notice that the first choice here is now the Reduce Noise Filter.
That's because the last filter that I used only shows up at the top of this list of filters. So I could choose Reduce Noise here and that would double the noise reduction effect in the image. I think that's a little bit much. It's making image too soft and I'm losing detail in the seals' faces. So I'm going to go up to the Undo button and click Undo, so I just have one level of noise reduction. So if you're shooting photos with a high ISO in your camera or in a dark environment when you're most likely to pick up digital noise, then give the Noise Reduction filter a try.
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