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Reducing digital noise

From: Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training

Video: Reducing digital noise

When you shoot with a digital camera you're likely to see evidence of digital noise in your photographs. That's particularly true if you shot with a high ISO in your camera. You'll see that digital noise particularly in the dark shadow areas of the scene. In this case, I was shooting inside of a cave. So in order to get an exposure I had to ramp up the ISO and my camera to 3200, which is quite high. As a result, there's a lot of digital noise in this photo, but in order to see if I have to zoom in to 100%.

Reducing digital noise

When you shoot with a digital camera you're likely to see evidence of digital noise in your photographs. That's particularly true if you shot with a high ISO in your camera. You'll see that digital noise particularly in the dark shadow areas of the scene. In this case, I was shooting inside of a cave. So in order to get an exposure I had to ramp up the ISO and my camera to 3200, which is quite high. As a result, there's a lot of digital noise in this photo, but in order to see if I have to zoom in to 100%.

You may remember that there are several ways to zoom to 100%. I like to just double-click the Zoom tool, but another way to do that is with a Hand tool selected to click actual pixels or with the Zoom tool selected to click one-to-one. Then I am going to hold the Spacebar on my keyboard and click and drag to pan around in the image. As I get up to these dark areas of the scene I can really see a lot of digital noise in the form of these small dots of color.

So that you can see those better on the video I'll zoom in even further. Although, I really like to be at 100% to evaluate the amount of digital noise. To turn reduce this digital noise, I'm going to apply a filter here in the Full Edit workspace. I'll go up to the Filter menu and down to Noise and over to Reduce Noise. That opens the Reduce Noise dialog box. There is a nice big preview in this dialog box, but I also like to move this dialog box over so I can see some of the results over here in the document window as well.

The preview in the Reduce Noise dialog box is set to 100% by default. I can use a little + sign if I need to zoom in and a little - sign to zoom out. I'll leave that set to 100% for now for the most accurate view of the noise in the image. To reduce the noise, I'll go over to the right and use these sliders. I am going to start by taking the Strength slider all the way to 0 and the Reduce Color Noise slider to 0, so that I'm giving the image as it will look without any noise reduction.

Because the color noise is most prominent in this image, I'll start by trying to reduce it by dragging the Reduce Color Noise slider over to the right and I'll keep going until I see almost none of those little dots of color. I don't always have to go this far, but this is a pretty extreme example of color noise. Even with the dots of color reduced I still see grayscale noise in the form of dots of white and gray and black. I particularly can see that down here in this rock. To try to reduce that, I'm going to drag the Strength slider over to the right.

As I do, I see a reduction in that grayscale noise, but I'm also noticing that the image is getting a little bit blurrier here. To try to bring back some of the detail in the image I can try increasing the Preserve Detail slider. I don't want to go too far, because that will bring back some of the noise. So, there's always a compromise here between reducing noise and preserving details. There is one more check box that's not relevant to my image, because I didn't shoot as a JPEG, I shot this image is a RAW file.

But sometimes when you shoot JPEG you'll see some blurry squares in the JPEG image. Those are the result of the camera compressing the image into the JPEG format. You can try to reduce those JPEG artifacts by clicking this check box in the Reduce Noise Filter dialog box. When I'm done here, I'm going to click OK and then back in the image I'll go back to 100% by double-clicking the Zoom tool. Then I'll hold the Spacebar to change to the Hand tool temporarily and I move the image around in the window checking to see if I've successfully reduced the most egregious digital noise.

I think I have even in this extreme example. So, if you shoot with a high ISO setting in your camera and particularly if there are a lot of shadow areas or dark areas in your photo, be sure to check the photo at 100% view and apply the Reduce Noise Filter to eliminate some of the digital noise in the image.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training
Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training

120 video lessons · 15562 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 11m 0s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. What is Photoshop Elements?
      3m 47s
    3. Touring the workspaces
      5m 55s
  2. 54m 16s
    1. Working with catalogs
      5m 22s
    2. Importing and using the exercise files
      5m 13s
    3. Importing files from your computer
      7m 31s
    4. Importing photos from your camera
      8m 57s
    5. Importing photos from iPhoto (Mac only)
      4m 44s
    6. Importing files from external drives/CDs/DVDs
      4m 44s
    7. Scanning photos
      6m 50s
    8. Dividing scanned photos
      5m 51s
    9. Importing from watch folders (Windows only)
      5m 4s
  3. 39m 10s
    1. Touring the Organizer
      6m 41s
    2. Viewing thumbnails
      6m 15s
    3. Rotating photos
      52s
    4. Renaming photos
      2m 55s
    5. Fixing photo dates
      2m 28s
    6. Hiding and deleting photos
      4m 6s
    7. Stacking photos
      4m 22s
    8. Moving files
      2m 43s
    9. Reconnecting missing files
      4m 53s
    10. Using Help
      3m 55s
  4. 54m 22s
    1. Rating photos
      3m 58s
    2. Applying and organizing keyword tags
      7m 4s
    3. Searching by keyword tags
      3m 35s
    4. Tagging with People Recognition
      11m 3s
    5. Using Smart Tags
      5m 57s
    6. Creating albums
      4m 41s
    7. Creating Smart Albums
      6m 28s
    8. Searching by text
      5m 28s
    9. Using the Find menu
      4m 19s
    10. Using the Timeline
      1m 49s
  5. 30m 14s
    1. Viewing slideshows in Full Screen view
      4m 21s
    2. Working with photos in Full Screen view
      9m 20s
    3. Comparing photos
      5m 56s
    4. Viewing by date
      3m 18s
    5. Mapping photos (Windows only)
      7m 19s
  6. 38m 36s
    1. Applying Photo Fix
      9m 0s
    2. The Quick Fix interface
      7m 9s
    3. The Quick Fix controls
      5m 22s
    4. Adjusting lighting in Quick Fix
      3m 46s
    5. Adjusting color in Quick Fix
      5m 39s
    6. Using the Touch Up tools in Quick Fix
      7m 40s
  7. 43m 43s
    1. Guided Edit basics
      8m 13s
    2. Making an Out of Bounds image
      10m 17s
    3. Perfecting a portrait
      7m 43s
    4. Adding realistic reflections
      5m 26s
    5. Applying a LOMO camera effect
      2m 0s
    6. Making pop art
      1m 31s
    7. Using Style Match
      8m 33s
  8. 1h 20m
    1. Full Edit workspace overview
      6m 51s
    2. Working with tabbed documents
      4m 51s
    3. Using tools
      7m 40s
    4. Arranging panels
      5m 18s
    5. Setting preferences
      3m 41s
    6. Using Undo History
      6m 39s
    7. Zooming and navigating
      7m 4s
    8. Creating a blank file
      5m 19s
    9. Photo resizing and resolution
      8m 9s
    10. Cropping and straightening photos
      7m 15s
    11. Recomposing photos
      8m 15s
    12. Enlarging the canvas
      3m 27s
    13. Saving and formats
      5m 46s
  9. 35m 4s
    1. Understanding layers
      7m 17s
    2. Working in the Layers panel
      5m 21s
    3. Using layer masks
      7m 43s
    4. Using layer masks to combine images
      6m 27s
    5. Building composites
      8m 16s
  10. 20m 58s
    1. Selection basics
      3m 22s
    2. Manual selection tools
      3m 19s
    3. Automatic selection tools
      7m 24s
    4. Refining selection edges
      3m 30s
    5. Saving selections
      3m 23s
  11. 1h 21m
    1. Color managing
      7m 14s
    2. Applying Shadow/Highlight adjustments
      2m 42s
    3. Using adjustment layers
      8m 24s
    4. Masking adjustment layers
      7m 38s
    5. Adding a Levels adjustment layer
      6m 8s
    6. Adding a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
      5m 56s
    7. Adjusting with Color Curves
      4m 14s
    8. Removing a color cast
      3m 37s
    9. Reducing digital noise
      4m 7s
    10. Sharpening photos
      7m 32s
    11. Processing multiple files
      7m 59s
    12. Working with raw photos
      15m 57s
  12. 18m 34s
    1. Using the Smart Brush tools
      6m 16s
    2. Dodging and burning
      2m 29s
    3. Retouching blemishes
      4m 29s
    4. Content-aware healing
      2m 31s
    5. Removing content with the Clone Stamp tool
      2m 49s
  13. 25m 53s
    1. Applying filters
      5m 36s
    2. Adding effects
      2m 34s
    3. Using layer styles
      7m 23s
    4. Using shapes
      4m 46s
    5. Using the Cookie Cutter tool
      2m 19s
    6. Converting color to black and white
      3m 15s
  14. 11m 25s
    1. Creating text
      7m 1s
    2. Editing text
      4m 24s
  15. 1h 25m
    1. Creating a photo collage
      8m 38s
    2. Fine-tuning a photo collage
      8m 3s
    3. Creating greeting cards
      8m 34s
    4. Creating photo calendars
      9m 28s
    5. Creating CD/DVD jackets and labels
      7m 43s
    6. Creating a photo book
      7m 44s
    7. Fine-tuning a photo book
      7m 11s
    8. Creating a slideshow (Windows only)
      8m 0s
    9. Fine-tuning a slideshow (Windows only)
      3m 23s
    10. Creating a flip book (Windows only)
      2m 47s
    11. End to end: Making a scrapbook page
      8m 15s
    12. End to end: Completing a scrapbook page
      5m 24s
  16. 49m 27s
    1. Printing photos
      8m 38s
    2. Contact sheets and picture packages (Windows only)
      6m 40s
    3. Sharing photos by email
      6m 38s
    4. Sharing photos by Photo Mail (Windows only)
      5m 8s
    5. Sharing to Flickr and Facebook
      4m 43s
    6. Saving images for the web
      6m 48s
    7. Signing up for Photoshop.com
      2m 55s
    8. Sharing online albums at Photoshop.com
      5m 4s
    9. Backing up
      2m 53s
  17. 38s
    1. Goodbye
      38s

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