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Photoshop Elements 8 for Mac Essential Training highlights the important features of this comprehensive image editing application. Photographer Jan Kabili shows how to use Photoshop Elements 8, along with its companion program, Bridge CS4, to organize and edit photos, build projects like web galleries and photo collages, and share photos with family and friends. Jan 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 will get some noise in your photographs. This is most likely to happen when you are shooting with a high ISO, or when there are lots of shadow areas in your photographs, or if you are shooting in dim light. So if I were to zoom into this image, selecting the Zoom tool and the Plus symbol, and then clicking several times. When I get in real close, you can see that there are tiny specks of color, representing color digital noise, as well as tiny specks of black and white, representing grayscale digital noise, and there are some square artifacts that are a result of compressing the image in the JPEG format.
I am going to use the Reduce Noise Filter to reduce all of those artifacts. I will take this image back to 100% by double-clicking the Zoom tool in the toolbox. Then I am going to go up to the Filter menu at the top of the screen, down to Noise, and I am going to choose Reduce Noise. That opens the Reduce Noise dialog box. I will move that over so I can see a preview of my image at 100% over here. Then I am going to zoom in on the nice big preview in the Reduce Noise dialog box by clicking several times on this Plus symbol at the bottom of the Preview window.
Then I will click and drag, panning over to another area of the image, around the seal's head. The way that this preview works is that when I click and hold with my mouse, I see the digital noise and the JPEG artifacts in the original image. When I release my mouse, the filter is applied with the default settings that you see over here. I am going to start by taking the Reduce Color Noise slider and dragging it all the way over to 0. I will do the same with the Strength slider. So now I have no settings over here.
Now I will take the Reduce Color Noise slider and I will drag it to the right, until I have eliminated the little specks of color. Now that doesn't mean there is no noise here, there still is noise represented by these gray pixels, but the color noise has been reduced. To reduce this gray noise, I will take the Strength slider and I will drag that to the right. I will take that to about 6. As I moved that slider, the Preserve Detail slider moved over to 60% in order to retain some sharpness in the image.
I am going to drag the Preserve Detail slider over to the left to try to reduce a bit more of the noise. Now, I don't want to go too far, because I don't want the image to look too blurry. But I can always check this 100% preview over here to make sure that it's still to my liking. Finally, I will check Remove JPEG Artifact, and that will help to eliminate some of the square artifacts caused by JPEG compression. When I am done, I will take the Preview back to 100%, by clicking the Minus symbol down here.
And then I will do a Before and After by unchecking Preview. That's how the image was and that's how it is now with noise reduction. Now that's a really subtle difference, but I think it's one that counts. So I am going to click OK to accept those changes, and here is the result. If I thought there should be more noise reduction, I can always go back up to the Filter menu, and notice that the last filter that I have applied is now here at the top of the Filter menu. So I could select that again, and that would basically double the amount of noise reduction.
But I think that makes the image too blurry, so I am going to Undo, by pressing Command+Z on my keyboard, and I am going to go with the result like this. At this point I would save and then close the image. So when you are shooting either in dim light, or with a high ISO in your camera, or you are shooting a scene that has lots of shadow areas, be sure to visit the Noise Reduction Filter to smooth out the color digital noise, the black and white digital noise, and to reduce JPEG artifacts.
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