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Digital photography continues to advance at an incredible speed. One of the things that we've discovered in regards to digital capture is that the megapixel wars are over, and the new frontier has to do with light sensitivity and high ISO capabilities, which give us the ability to capture images in really low-light situations. Here we have a photograph which was captured in a low-light scenario. What I want to do here is navigate to the Detail panel. In the Detail panel, you'll notice there is a little warning icon.
If we click on this icon, it will zoom the image into 100%, so that we can see a one-to-one perspective of this photograph. Now, one of the things that happens when we capture images with a high ISO in these low-light scenarios is that we'll find our images have a lot of noise in the background. We'll have some luminance noise, which has to do with the Brightness value, and also some color noise. Also, we'll notice that the image will be a little bit soft. So, here what I want to do is deconstruct some of our new Noise Reduction controls inside of Lightroom.
First, let's go ahead and lower the Luminance amount and also the Color amount, so that we bring back all of the native noise to this particular file. Now, one of the things that I mentioned is that all of our new cameras now have this capability to capture images with this really amazing high ISO capability, yet what typically happens is that brings in noise and softness. So, what we need is we need a tool in postproduction that can help us effectively process our images, so that they can look really good.
Now, here's where we discover where Lightroom is incredibly strong. What they've done with these Noise Reduction controls is not only given us more control in regards to adding more sliders here, but they've also completely redone/rebuilt how Noise Reduction works. Let's deconstruct the sliders. Well, one of the things we notice we can do is change the Luminance amount. As I increase the Luminance, it all of a sudden turns on the Detail and Contrast sliders. The more Luminance value here, we're going to see less luminance variation in the background.
We can see the before and after by clicking on the switch. Here is before, and then here's after. Again, much less variation there in the background. We can also use this slider to look at our before and after as well. Well, how does Detail work? Well, like with Sharpening, a low Detail amount means there is going to be little detail in the background, i.e. the image will appear more soft. As we increase that Detail amount, we're going to see that a lot of those details will come back in the background. This is really helpful, especially because in previous versions of Lightroom what would happen is that we would increase the Luminance value and the image would become too soft.
It wouldn't look very good. It was a little bit too surreal. All right. Well, how then does Contrast work? Well, what you can do with Contrast is if you notice you're losing shape, kind of contour or dimension, you can bring up your Contrast slider to bring back some of that. All right. Well, so far we've deconstructed luminance. What about color noise? Well, you'll notice there are a lot of different color artifacts in the background here, on the face and the glasses, and also in the shadow areas. Well, the Color Noise Reduction will allow us to remove those really quickly, and again, let's exaggerate.
With a high amount of color noise, we can see that all the color variation has now been removed. The Detail slider, well, it's going to bring details back into those color areas. Here we have no Detail brought in to these different areas, and then as we increase that what we'll see is it will bring back little details there in the areas which were most affected by the Color Noise Reduction. Now, of course, whenever you're reducing noise, you want to think of using all of these sliders together, because what will happen is how far you go with your color noise will also affect how far you may want to go with your luminance noise.
You'll go back and forth between these different controls in order to dial in the exact effect that you're interested in creating. All right! Well, now that we've deconstructed how to work with the Noise Reduction and the Sharpening controls, let's explore how we can apply an appropriate amount of sharpening and we'll do that in the next movie. Yet before we leave this movie, let's go ahead and reset the Noise Reduction. We can do that by pressing Option on a Mac, Alt on Windows, and then clicking right here where it says Reset Noise Reduction.
That will then bring those all to their default values. Now, in the next movie, we can start with this image with all of these default settings, and then dial in an appropriate amount of sharpening and noise reduction.
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