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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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