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Go beyond the automatic editing features in Adobe Photoshop Elements and find out how to make sophisticated edits using the program's Expert Edit mode. In this course, author, teacher, and photographer Jan Kabili explores the core features of the Expert Edit mode, from making exposure adjustments, retouching, and compositing images, to adding text. The course also takes a close look at adjusting photos with Adobe Camera Raw, included with Elements 11.
When you shoot with a digital camera many of your photos will suffer from digital noise. There are two flavors of digital noise, as I explained in an earlier movie about reducing noise out in the Expert edit workspace using the Noise Reduction filter. The two kinds of digital noise are Color Noise, which looks like little specs of color, and Luminance Noise, which looks like little grayscale specs. You can reduce both kinds of noise here in the Camera Raw workspace in the Detail tab. And the advantage of doing it here as opposed to in the Expert Edit workspace is that everything you do here in Camera Raw is nondestructive of the original image, so you can always reopen a raw file and tweak your Noise Reduction sliders.
Let's take a look at the Detail panel by clicking the Detail tab at the top of the Basic panel. Down here are the Noise Reduction sliders. By default, the Color Noise Reduction slider is set to 25, since many digital photos have color noise and this automatically takes care of it in some instances. So that you can see the color noise in this image, go ahead and drag that Color slider over all the way to the left so it's at zero. And then go up to the Zoom Tool and double-click the Zoom Tool, which is the shortcut for zooming into a 100% view, because you really can not judge digital noise unless you're at 100% or one-to-one view.
Then I'll get my Hand Tool, right next to the Zoom Tool, and with that tool I'm going to click and drag in the image to an area where the digital noise is really obvious, like this windowsill. So to reduce this kind of color digital noise, I'll take the Color slider and I'll move it over to the right. And even before I get to the default of 25, I've almost eliminated the color noise. When I do drag the Color Noise slider over to the right, that can sometimes drain some of the color from the details in the image, and so the Color Detail slider automatically activates and goes to its default value of 50.
And of course you're free to move that Color Detail slider, too, if you need to bring even more color back into the details in the image. As you can see here there's still some noise in the image. This is luminance noise, grayscale noise. To reduce that I'll use the Luminance slider. I'll drag the Luminance slider to the right until I've reduced or eliminated some of that luminance noise. Now I'm never going to get it to go away altogether, because if I do the image will get just too smooth and it will start to look unnatural, like this. If I click and drag up to this area, I think you can better see what I mean, this just doesn't look real anymore.
So I'll take that Luminance slider and drag it back. I hardly ever drag Luminance past 50 or 60. Let's put it down maybe around here in this case, striking a compromise between the amount of luminance noise in the image and enough detail and contrast in the image to make it look believable. Now I do have a couple of other sliders here, the Luminance Detail slider and the Luminance Contrast slider, which I can use to try to bring back lost detail and contrast into the image. Both these sliders become activated as soon as you start moving the Luminance slider over to the right, and then you can take these sliders and drag them slightly to the right to try to recover some of the detail and contrast that you lose when you increase the Luminance slider.
Now remember you can't really judge the result unless you're looking at the image at 100% view. So at 100%, at this point, I would take the Hand Tool and I would just pan around in the image to make sure that everything looks good to me. And when I'm satisfied with my Noise Reduction compromise, then I'll take the image back to fit on the screen by double-clicking the Hand Tool. So that's how you can use the Noise Reduction sliders in the Camera Raw workspace to reduce some of the color and luminance noise that's a result of shooting digitally.
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