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Digital photos shot at high ISO speeds often suffer from noise. And all digital photos have a slight softness due to the nature of imaging sensors. Like all imaging software, Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop have features for fixing these flaws. But using these features isn't always straightforward—and incorrect use of them can make a photo look artificial and overprocessed.
In this course, join Photoshop senior product manager Bryan O'Neil Hughes for an in-depth exploration of the noise-reduction and sharpening features in Lightroom and Photoshop. The course begins with tips for getting the cleanest possible images when you shoot. Next, Bryan details the process of making overall noise and sharpness improvements in Lightroom. The course concludes with a look at various advanced Photoshop techniques for localized adjustments and more.
For most photographers, Lightroom is where you do your global edits to the entire image, and Photoshop is where you do your selective edits, your more precise edits. But if you recall what I said about noise reduction, is that it's best done in Lightroom in camera raw. So how do you do it selectively? So let's talk about what that looks like. I'm going to zoom into my image here, and there's not a lot of noise in here. But as with so many of these, if I come over to the develop module and open up the shadows, I see that there actually is a fair amount of noise.
So in this case, what I would do is if there's any noise reduction that I can do to the whole image, I would apply it. But there's really not a lot of noise except for in the shadows. So I would take my adjustment brush, and this is a really powerful tool. The first thing I want to do is just turn everything off. Double click the sliders to set them to neutral. I'm going to make sure this is on auto mask and I'm going to make sure that my brush is the appropriate size, which it is. Now in the interest of seeing the area that I'm working on, I will often change one of these parameters.
So for instance, let's make it a lot brighter. We're going to turn this off in a second. But I come over, and I'm just going to start painting on the image. And you'll see that Auto Mask actually does a really nice job of sticking to the image. Now don't worry about that looking strange right now. It's really just a guide for us. Now there's another way to do that. I'll show it to you in one moment here. So we get the area that we want, wherever that might be. And if I hit the O key, I can actually visualize where that mask is.
I can hit the Option key and come back, and delete any overlapping content, but I can see that for the sake of this, my mask is pretty decent. Alright, now having done that, I'm going to hit the O key again to hide that, and now I'm going to reset that exposure. I don't need that guide anymore. Now what I can do is I can reduce the noise. You see, just by pulling the noise slider over I'm taking that noise out of there. Now localized edits like this will often want a little bit of noise and a little bit of sharpening. So if I dial in a little bit of sharpening I can get back some of the detail.
Now this is a slippery slope because they are related. Too much sharpening and I'll need a lot more noise reduction. And if I do too much noise reduction, it's going to get soft, and I'll need some sharpening. So a trick like clarity, which is really kind of an optical illusion, it's introducing mid-tone contrast. That can be a nice way to go. You'll often find once you've done that, you can actually back down the sharpening and maybe increase the noise reduction a little. So selective noise reduction, it's a very precise art, but it's really handy in Lightroom and camera raw.
It's one of those things with selective edits, you do probably do want to do this, in Lightroom. I'd leave the rest of the selective sharpening and really detailed work for Photoshop.
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