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Reducing noise

From: Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac Essential Training

Video: Reducing noise

Digital images shot in low light conditions or at high ISO speeds can contain unwanted noise. This results in the photos taking on a grainy appearance. With this movie, I would like to show you how to improve noisy images by using the Reduce Noise filter in Elements. I'm currently in the Adobe Bridge application and I'm viewing the exercise files folders. I would like to scroll down in the Content panel and double-click on the Chapter 13 folder, then double-click on the Reduce Noise folder and then select these two images here by Shift-clicking on them.

Reducing noise

Digital images shot in low light conditions or at high ISO speeds can contain unwanted noise. This results in the photos taking on a grainy appearance. With this movie, I would like to show you how to improve noisy images by using the Reduce Noise filter in Elements. I'm currently in the Adobe Bridge application and I'm viewing the exercise files folders. I would like to scroll down in the Content panel and double-click on the Chapter 13 folder, then double-click on the Reduce Noise folder and then select these two images here by Shift-clicking on them.

Double-click to open them both up inside of the Elements' Editing workspace. In the Project bin down here I'm going to double-click on the jack-o-lanterns image and bring that to the forefront. Okay, I'm going to hide the Project bin by clicking that arrow and the next thing I'm going to do is zoom in on this image. Let's go to where it says View > Actual Pixels to bring it into a 100% view magnification. All right, you can see in this image here, because it was taken in low light conditions without a flash that it contains a lot of noise. If I hold down the spacebar, click and drag around the image in order to inspect for the noise, we can really see it. In fact, if I zoom in a little bit further by pressing Command+Plus, we can really get a sense of how much noise there really is in here.

So all these little dots in here, it's a very noisy, noisy image. Very, very common for images taken in low light condition like this. If we go in the Quick fix mode, let's go in here, and Fit in Window, Command+0. We can lighten this guy up again, so I think we should bring out a little bit more of the detail. I don't want it to look too bright because I like this spooky lighting effect that we have got here with the jack-o-lanterns and the candles. But I think I want to see a little bit more detail and I can reveal that by dragging the Lighten Shadows slider to the right, just a little bit, cannot too much but just a little bit. I'm going to go ahead and apply that adjustment.

Go back in the Full Edit mode and then zoom in some and we will find that in doing so we have revealed yet even more noise in the image. Okay, it's even more apparent now that we have made that adjustment and lightened up the shadow areas. Okay, so what can we do to fix this? Because this stuff will show up in a print of the image and it will also show up if you save a web version of it and post it up on the web or e-mail it to somebody and it's generally an undesirable effect. I want to go ahead and reduce this noise. What we can do is use the Reduce Noise filter, so I'm going to go in here under the Filter menu, choose Noise and then choose Reduce Noise. Okay, so in here you can see, the first thing I'm going to do is just reset this dialog box because it's remembering my last used settings. I'm going to drag these off to the left, un-check that so that I can explain them all for you.

All right we have got our large preview window over here on the left. It's defaulting to a 100% as well, which is a good starting point anytime you're inspecting for noise. But I would recommend even zooming in a little bit further clicking this Plus icon down here at the bottom. Now we can really see what's happening and we can always scroll around inside of the preview window just like we can in the document window except we don't have to hold down any key modifiers. All we have to do is hover over the preview area and just click and drag, all right. So the first thing we want to do here is focus on the two different types of noise; there is luminance noise and then there is color noise. All right, luminance noise is all of these little white dots that you can see in here; if we scroll up to the top we might be able to see a little bit better some of the color noise. You can see these little red areas in here? That's actually color noise. All right and we want to reduce that as well.

So the first thing I'm going to do, go ahead and focus down here a little bit, is increase the Strength and a good starting point I think is right in the middle, right at 5 and notice what's happening, its actually blurring the image in order to reduce the noise. In doing so, we're losing some detail. If I drag this back, it's going to look even blurrier. Okay, so now we have Preserve Details at 0. If I click and hold the mouse button down, I can see the before and then let up on the mouse button, I can see the after. That's what happening after it applies the Strength to 5. So it's blurring away the noise but losing detail in the process.

We can try and preserve some of that detail by dragging this slider to the right as well. I think I will bring it up to the 50%, right in the middle again. Now we can do the before and after again, clicking and holding, there is the before and then letting up, the after. Okay, so it's reducing the noise but not taking away as much of the detail. So this is a bit of a compromise here, a little bit of give and take when we're choosing settings here in the Reduce Noise dialog box. All right, and then we have our color noise. Let's go ahead and take a look up here in the darker areas of the image where there is more apparent color noise.

Increase that slider, drag that to the right, start at about 50% as well, there is the before, there is the after. So it's doing a pretty good job of removing the color noise as well as the luminance noise. Again, it's a balance between the settings of these three sliders. All right, we also have a Remove JPEG Artifact option. Anytime you save an image as a JPEG, noise is a natural byproduct of that; it's an artifact. Okay. You may want to reduce that by turning on this option here, especially if you're working with JPEG images, which this is. Okay, so sometimes that can help out a bit. Turn that on and then work with these sliders, just keep trying the before and after. I think we're probably going to have to reduce the Color Noise-- increase that a little bit more. Also going to have to maybe preserve some details because we don't want to get too blurry. There is the before, there is the after. I think may be at least one more notch on the Strength, before, after. All right, it's looking pretty good.

Like I said this is a compromise, you're not going to able to keep all of your detail and reduce all of the noise, especially in an image like this, that's very, very noisy, taken in low light conditions, okay. Then go ahead and click OK to apply the Reduce Noise filter to the image. Takes a couple of seconds to process and then we can see it's done a really nice job. Okay, we're still zoomed in to a 100% here. We can zoom in even further, Command+Plus, scroll around the image and see what it has done. Okay, it actually looks a lot less apparent. Okay, if you want to do you can do Undo, there is the before, Redo, there is the after, very nice, okay.

Let's take a look at this other image here, going in the Project bin, double-click on the sponge diver image, hide the Project bin and let's zoom in on this as well. Again, View, Actual Pixels and you can really see the color noise in this image. Now this one was taken in broad daylight also without a flash. We're getting the same sort of problem, okay, noise and it's mostly color noise, see all that in there. Let's zoom in a little bit further; you can really see it in this image, okay. We need to reduce it here as well. So we can do the same sort of thing. Let's go under the Filter menu and go to Noise > Reduce Noise, bring up that dialog box and take a look at what happens. I think I'm going to click the Plus symbol here to zoom in to 200%. When I click and hold it's showing me the before; when I let up on the mouse button we're seeing the result of these settings over here, and these are the last used settings, the same ones that I used on the jack-o-lanterns image. It actually looks pretty good but I think we're going to have increase the Reduce Color Noise setting because I'm still seeing a little bit of that. Before, after. Makes a huge difference on an image like this.

I don't think we have to worry so much about preserving details with this one. There is a lot detail in this image. I'm going to bring that a little bit, like I said it's a compromise, I want to do what's best for the image here overall. That looks pretty good to me; I'm going to click OK. Apply the filter, wait a couple of seconds for it to reduce the noise and then we will take a look at the image overall, okay. We can see in here, it has done a pretty good job of reducing noise in the image overall. It's not nearly as apparent as it was before we applied it. There is the Undo, there is the Redo.

So Reduce Noise filter can help you reduce the noise that's inherent in an image, that's taken in low light conditions or at high ISO speeds and as a result you will get a much better print and it will actually view much better on the web or on any device.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac Essential Training
Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac Essential Training

84 video lessons · 5394 viewers

Ted LoCascio
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 22s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the example files
      1m 20s
  2. 12m 1s
    1. Understanding Photoshop Elements
      2m 10s
    2. Using the Welcome screen
      2m 33s
    3. Importing photos from a digital camera
      7m 18s
  3. 1h 1m
    1. Viewing and selecting images
      2m 1s
    2. Creating and saving a custom workspace
      5m 29s
    3. Rotating images in Bridge
      3m 20s
    4. Renaming images in Bridge
      5m 34s
    5. Adding keywords to images
      7m 38s
    6. Applying ratings to images
      5m 17s
    7. Labeling images
      5m 17s
    8. Searching for images
      6m 38s
    9. Creating Collections
      2m 50s
    10. Sorting images with the Filter panel
      6m 36s
    11. Using image stacks
      7m 2s
    12. Hiding images
      4m 6s
  4. 31m 55s
    1. Opening images from Bridge
      2m 24s
    2. Working with palettes and the Palette Bin
      4m 53s
    3. Using the Project Bin
      6m 44s
    4. Zooming and scrolling
      8m 1s
    5. Fixing mistakes with Undo and Redo
      5m 3s
    6. Saving versions
      4m 50s
  5. 49m 38s
    1. Opening and viewing images in the Quick Fix mode
      6m 8s
    2. Understanding Auto Color and making tonal adjustments
      8m 50s
    3. Using the Lighting sliders
      5m 19s
    4. Using the Color sliders
      7m 1s
    5. Applying Auto Red Eye Fix
      3m 31s
    6. Applying Auto Sharpen
      4m 25s
    7. Using the Guided Edit mode
      6m 19s
    8. Processing multiple files
      8m 5s
  6. 10m 22s
    1. Understanding image resolution
      3m 23s
    2. Resizing images
      6m 59s
  7. 17m 8s
    1. Applying Auto Crop and Auto Straighten
      6m 22s
    2. Using the Straighten and Crop tools
      4m 10s
    3. Changing the canvas size
      6m 36s
  8. 30m 32s
    1. Why make selections?
      6m 3s
    2. Using the Quick Selection tool
      8m 37s
    3. Using Refine Edge
      7m 15s
    4. Saving and loading selections
      8m 37s
  9. 25m 58s
    1. Working with the Layers palette
      9m 45s
    2. Using adjustment layers and masks
      8m 37s
    3. Applying transparency and blend mode adjustments
      7m 36s
  10. 40m 56s
    1. Removing a color cast
      5m 53s
    2. Correcting skin tone
      3m 38s
    3. Enhancing color with Hue/Saturation adjustments
      6m 37s
    4. Balancing contrast and color with Levels adjustments
      7m 10s
    5. Correcting dark or light areas with Shadow/Highlight Adjustments
      5m 17s
    6. Improving images with Color Curves adjustments
      5m 55s
    7. Converting color images to black and white
      6m 26s
  11. 54m 14s
    1. Using the Red-Eye Removal tool
      8m 1s
    2. Using the healing tools
      7m 42s
    3. Whitening teeth and eyes
      6m 20s
    4. Cloning to remove contents
      8m 14s
    5. Adjusting perspective and correcting camera distortion
      6m 10s
    6. Using Photomerge Group Shot
      6m 17s
    7. Using Photomerge Faces
      6m 4s
    8. Using Photomerge Panorama
      5m 26s
  12. 16m 1s
    1. Creating a clipping mask
      7m 25s
    2. Creating collages with gradient blending
      8m 36s
  13. 22m 15s
    1. Reducing noise
      8m 7s
    2. Sharpening with Unsharp Mask
      7m 16s
    3. Sharpening with Adjust Sharpness
      6m 52s
  14. 17m 54s
    1. Understanding Camera Raw
      1m 46s
    2. Opening Camera Raw images from Bridge
      6m 37s
    3. Applying tonal and color adjustments in Camera Raw
      6m 23s
    4. Saving raw images
      3m 8s
  15. 40m 41s
    1. Painting with the Filter Gallery
      8m 7s
    2. Creating a pencil sketch
      7m 40s
    3. Customizing images
      7m 59s
    4. Adding artwork with the Content palette
      9m 39s
    5. Building and saving a multi-page photo creation
      7m 16s
  16. 37m 5s
    1. Creating a slideshow
      6m 58s
    2. Creating a photo book
      9m 1s
    3. Creating a photo collage
      6m 58s
    4. Creating a greeting card
      6m 31s
    5. Creating a web photo gallery
      7m 37s
  17. 31m 6s
    1. Choosing color settings
      7m 1s
    2. Printing to an inkjet printer
      8m 13s
    3. Using Picture Package
      4m 33s
    4. Saving for the web
      5m 55s
    5. Attaching images to emails
      3m 6s
    6. Burning to CDs and DVDs
      2m 18s
  18. 56s
    1. Goodbye
      56s

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