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Digital photography continues to advance at a greater and greater speed; yet as digital cameras become better, one of things that we've discovered is that the megapixel wars really are over. What the new frontier is is high ISO or light sensitivity, which allows us to shoot in lower light situations. Well, here in this photograph, which was captured in a lower light scenario, if we zoom in on it, we'll discover that there is quite a bit of noise, and also softness in the file. Here, I'm simply clicking on it, or clicking on the 1:1 icon here, in order to zoom into 100%.
One of things that I discover is that in the background, we see a lot of noise here. Again, the image is a little bit soft. So what we need is a postproduction tool which deals with noise and sharpening. In regards to the tools that are out there, Lightroom is, hands down, the best. What we want to do is navigate over to the Detail panel. When we open the Detail panel, you'll notice that we have controls for sharpening and noise reduction. These controls are grouped together, because they're really quite interrelated.
As we reduce noise, we soften an image; therefore, we need to compensate for sharpening. As we sharpen an image, we increase the noise; therefore, we need to correct that by increasing our noise reduction. So as you'll soon discover these sets of controls all work well together. Well, first, let's deconstruct how these works. I'm going to go ahead and remove the noise reduction, so that we don't have any at all. Then what I want to start to do is focus in on noise reduction. Well, there are two different types of noise reduction; luminance and color.
If we increase the Luminance amount, it will then activate our other controls. Luminance has to do with luminosity. As I exaggerate this and increase this too far, we can see that it's softens out all of these details in the background. But here we see the exaggerated color. Well, how then can we get rid of that? Well, we can then use this Color slider. As I increase this, you now see that the background looks really smooth and soft. Okay, well, what about the other sliders? Well, in regards to luminance value, we have Detail.
Decrease this amount, and we have very little detail, in other words, a really soft photograph. Increase this, and we'll slowly start to see these details come in the background. All right, well, what about Contrast? Well, what Contrast will do for us is it will bring back a little bit of shape or texture, because when you soften something, essentially you're diminishing the contrast or the variance in the tone or the Light. So this Contrast slider can bring some of that dimension or shape back. Now the same thing goes for the Color slider.
As we increase this color amount, we see that we have less and less detail. We can then use the Detail slider to try to find a sweet spot, in order to dial in just the right amount. All right, well, now that we've seen a little bit about how these sliders work in an exaggerated view, let's go ahead and reset them and take this back to normal. We can do that on a Mac by holding down Option, on Windows by holding down Alt. That will change noise reduction to reset noise reduction. It will then reset this to the default settings.
All right, well, before we actually start to apply an appropriate amount of noise reduction or sharpening, let's spend a few minutes deconstructing how these sharpening controls work, and we'll do that in the next movie.
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