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Reducing digital noise

From: Up and Running with Lightroom 5

Video: Reducing digital noise

The process of digital capture inevitably creates noise in a digital photo. That's particularly true if you're shooting with a high ISO in your camera. Fortunately, you can take advantage of the powerful noise reduction controls, in Lightroom's Develop module, to reduce that digital noise. Now you can't evaluate or use the noise reduction controls unless you're looking at an image at 100% view, that's the one to one view in Lightroom. Up here, in my Navigator panel, you can see that I'm currently zoomed out to the Fit on screen view. So, before I work with the noise reduction sliders, I'm going to zoom into 100% view by clicking in the image.

Reducing digital noise

The process of digital capture inevitably creates noise in a digital photo. That's particularly true if you're shooting with a high ISO in your camera. Fortunately, you can take advantage of the powerful noise reduction controls, in Lightroom's Develop module, to reduce that digital noise. Now you can't evaluate or use the noise reduction controls unless you're looking at an image at 100% view, that's the one to one view in Lightroom. Up here, in my Navigator panel, you can see that I'm currently zoomed out to the Fit on screen view. So, before I work with the noise reduction sliders, I'm going to zoom into 100% view by clicking in the image.

And, I'm also going to close this panel on the right, so I have more room to work. The detail panel is located over here in the develop module and in that panel, there are two sections. One for capture and creative sharpening that we'll look at later, and another for noise reduction. And at the top of the panel, you can click this triangle to bring up a little preview area here which is displaying a small section of the image at 100%. If I want to see a different section of the image there, I'll click on this icon, and click to a different part of the image, right here for example.

And then I could use my large preview, to click and drag somewhere else on the image, so I'm actually looking at two separate parts of the photo. Now I'm going to come down to the Noise Reduction sliders. Notice that there are two section here, the Luminance sliders and the Color sliders. That's because there are two different kinds of digital noise, Luminance noise and Color noise. By default, the Color sliders aren't set to zero, so the color noise in the image is already almost being eliminated here. But, if I take that color slider and drag it all the way over to the left, you can clearly see the specks of color. Particularly in the dark areas of this photo when zoomed into 1 to 1 view. And you can see them here, in the preview as well. So, I generally leave the Color sliders set to their defaults, I'll double-click the Color label to put it back to its default.

What the detail slider does here is try to bring back some of the detail in an image that you can lose when you're using the color noise reduction slider. Now let's go up to the Luminance Sliders in the Noise Reduction Panel. By default, the Luminance Slider is set to zero. If I take that slider and drag it way over to the right it does get rid of that Luminance noise. Which are those little gray scale specs that we saw a moment ago. But it also takes a toll on the image It makes it look very soft, without detail, almost painterly. So this is way too much luminance noise reduction for this photo.

I'm going to take that slider and drag it back. And sometimes it takes a minute to resolve. And I'm going to have to compromise between some luminance noise and enough detail to make the image look good. I also can take advantage of the Detail slider and the Contrast slider underneath the luminance slider. To bring back some of the detail that you do lose when you use the luminance noise reduction slider. So I can try dragging those over to the right a bit too. Before I zoom back out, I'll Click and Drag in the image to pan to other areas, to make sure that I'm happy with the results.

So, when I come down here, I see there's still a little bit too much noise there. So I'm going to take that luminance slider and drag it a bit more to the right. And now I'll zoom out clicking once on the image to fit it on screen. But again, you can't really see how much noise is in the image or whether you've done too much noise reduction when you're zoomed out to this level. So that's how to use the Noise Reduction sliders in Lightroom to reduce the levels of Luminous and Color noise in your photos.

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This video is part of

Image for Up and Running with Lightroom 5
Up and Running with Lightroom 5

40 video lessons · 19930 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
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  1. 5m 24s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      4m 22s
  2. 30m 31s
    1. Understanding catalogs
      4m 21s
    2. Organizing your photos before importing
      3m 10s
    3. Deciding where to store your photos
      4m 28s
    4. Importing photos from a drive
      8m 14s
    5. Importing photos from a camera
      10m 18s
  3. 1h 15m
    1. Library module workspace
      7m 21s
    2. Viewing and sorting photos
      6m 16s
    3. Selecting photos
      7m 9s
    4. Reviewing and rating photos
      8m 41s
    5. Organizing with collections
      6m 27s
    6. Using Smart Collections
      6m 21s
    7. Keywording
      4m 51s
    8. Finding photos by keyword
      5m 40s
    9. Finding photos with the Metadata filter
      4m 53s
    10. Moving files and folders
      7m 16s
    11. Renaming photos
      4m 18s
    12. Working with Smart Previews when traveling
      6m 6s
  4. 54m 18s
    1. Develop module workspace
      6m 14s
    2. Cropping and straightening
      4m 25s
    3. Fixing perspective with Upright
      7m 19s
    4. Setting white balance
      4m 41s
    5. Using the histogram to evaluate tones
      4m 5s
    6. Adjusting tone and color in the Basic panel
      8m 45s
    7. Fine-tuning colors in the HSL panel
      3m 35s
    8. Converting to black and white
      3m 56s
    9. Using virtual copies
      3m 43s
    10. Reducing digital noise
      3m 24s
    11. Sharpening
      4m 11s
  5. 26m 21s
    1. Targeting edits with the Adjustment Brush
      6m 45s
    2. Spotlighting and vignetting with the Radial filter
      6m 0s
    3. Gradual editing with the Graduated filter
      4m 5s
    4. Removing dust spots with Spot Removal circles
      6m 12s
    5. Removing content with Spot Removal brushstrokes
      3m 19s
  6. 30m 40s
    1. Exporting photos
      9m 22s
    2. Setting up a connection to Facebook
      6m 22s
    3. Sharing photos to Facebook
      5m 44s
    4. Printing photos
      9m 12s
  7. 26s
    1. Next steps
      26s

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