Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustration by Richard Downs

Correcting a noisy photo


Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

with Deke McClelland

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Video: Correcting a noisy photo

Over the course of this project, we're going to take this macro photograph with this very shallow depth of field so that some elements are in focus like this forward eye, and this forward leg as well. But many of the other elements are out of focus including this rear leg, portions of the wings, and so forth. And in part, as a result of that, we've got an awful lot of noise. I will go ahead and zoom in to the image, and I'll scroll it over as well so that we can see the copious amounts of noise; both color noise and luminance noise that are affecting the low focus details as well as the shadows and the midtones.
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  1. 30m 4s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 19s
    2. Loading the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      6m 5s
    3. Remapping your Macintosh OS shortcuts
      3m 4s
    4. Adjusting a few general preferences
      4m 3s
    5. Using the visual HUD color picker
      2m 2s
    6. The interface and performance settings
      5m 31s
    7. Adjusting the color settings in Photoshop
      7m 0s
  2. 47m 0s
    1. Smart Objects
      1m 36s
    2. Three ways to place a Smart Object
      3m 6s
    3. Copying and pasting from Adobe Illustrator
      4m 11s
    4. Transforming and warping a vector object
      4m 48s
    5. Blending a Smart Object into a photograph
      3m 10s
    6. Blurring with a nested Smart Filter
      4m 57s
    7. Editing a Smart Object in Illustrator
      3m 20s
    8. Creating "true clones"
      3m 50s
    9. Duplicating a group of clones
      2m 53s
    10. Breaking the Smart Object link
      2m 53s
    11. Styling and blending Smart Objects
      2m 44s
    12. Editing originals; updating clones
      3m 41s
    13. Removing people from a scene with Median
      5m 51s
  3. 29m 59s
    1. Luminance meets sharpening
      1m 2s
    2. Correcting for lens distortion
      4m 39s
    3. Introducing Shadows/Highlights
      3m 54s
    4. Mitigating halos with Radius values
      4m 19s
    5. Enhancing the effects of Midtone Contrast
      3m 18s
    6. Creating a "bounce" with Gaussian Blur
      3m 29s
    7. Sharpening on top of blur
      2m 47s
    8. Masking a group of Smart Filters
      2m 53s
    9. Reducing the density of a layer mask
      3m 38s
  4. 49m 10s
    1. Using Curves
      2m 40s
    2. Introducing the Curves adjustment
      7m 36s
    3. Adding and editing points on a curve
      6m 27s
    4. Winning Curves tips and tricks
      8m 12s
    5. Correcting a challenging image
      6m 33s
    6. Selecting and darkening highlights
      4m 39s
    7. Neutralizing colors and smoothing transitions
      6m 6s
    8. The new automatic Curves function
      6m 57s
  5. 1h 31m
    1. Camera Raw
      2m 11s
    2. Opening and editing multiple images
      8m 1s
    3. Correcting white balance
      4m 8s
    4. The revamped Exposure controls
      8m 8s
    5. Working with archival images
      7m 54s
    6. The Spot Removal and Graduated Filter tools
      6m 4s
    7. Painting edits with the Adjustment Brush
      7m 23s
    8. Tone Curves (and why you don't need them)
      5m 57s
    9. Straighten, crop, and geometric distortions
      5m 17s
    10. Applying manual lens corrections
      5m 14s
    11. Vignette, chromatic aberration, and fringe
      6m 49s
    12. Selective hue, saturation, and luminance
      6m 36s
    13. Working with JPEG and TIFF images
      6m 36s
    14. Camera Raw Smart Objects
      6m 48s
    15. Editing Camera Raw images from Bridge
      4m 24s
  6. 32m 30s
    1. Duotones
      1m 23s
    2. Creating a professional-quality sepia tone
      4m 18s
    3. Introducing the Gradient Map adjustment
      5m 42s
    4. Loading a library of custom gradients
      3m 48s
    5. Creating a custom quadtone
      5m 48s
    6. Colorizing with blend modes and Opacity
      4m 6s
    7. Creating a faux-color, high-key effect
      7m 25s
  7. 1h 6m
    1. Noise vs. Details
      1m 28s
    2. Introducing the Reduce Noise filter
      7m 29s
    3. Correcting a noisy photo
      5m 33s
    4. Smoothing over high-contrast noise
      5m 50s
    5. Protecting details with an edge mask
      4m 52s
    6. Adjusting overly saturated shadows
      3m 35s
    7. Correcting with High Pass and Lens Blur
      3m 45s
    8. Brushing away blur and sharpening
      6m 42s
    9. Creating texture by adding noise
      5m 28s
    10. The Camera Raw Detail panel
      7m 8s
    11. Correcting noise and detail in Camera Raw
      8m 10s
    12. Adding noise grain and vignetting effects
      6m 47s
  8. 44m 30s
    1. Blur Gallery
      1m 36s
    2. Creating depth-of-field effects in post
      5m 29s
    3. Modifying your Field Blur settings
      4m 57s
    4. Editing and exporting a Field Blur mask
      6m 15s
    5. Adding a synthetic light bokeh
      3m 52s
    6. Using the Selection Bleed option
      7m 29s
    7. Creating a radial blur with Iris Blur
      6m 59s
    8. Creating "fake miniatures" with Tilt-Shift
      4m 35s
    9. Combining multiple Blur Gallery effects
      3m 18s
  9. 1h 34m
    1. Blend Modes
      1m 16s
    2. Using the Dissolve mode
      9m 47s
    3. Multiply and the darken modes
      8m 30s
    4. Screen and the lighten modes
      8m 10s
    5. Cleaning up and integrating a bad photo
      6m 38s
    6. Blending inside blend modes
      6m 55s
    7. Overlay and the contrast modes
      6m 53s
    8. A few great uses for the contrast modes
      9m 7s
    9. Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, and Divide
      5m 5s
    10. Capturing the differences between images
      4m 18s
    11. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      4m 45s
    12. Blend mode shortcuts
      6m 21s
    13. The Fill Opacity Eight
      8m 57s
    14. Using the luminance-exclusion slider bars
      8m 8s
  10. 44m 20s
    1. Color Range
      1m 14s
    2. Introducing the Color Range command
      7m 24s
    3. Selecting a complex image with Color Range
      5m 49s
    4. Refining a selection in the Quick Mask mode
      7m 4s
    5. Viewing a mask with or without its image
      4m 24s
    6. Painting directly inside an alpha channel
      5m 39s
    7. Correcting fringes around a masked layer
      8m 5s
    8. Turning a layer into a knockout
      4m 41s
  11. 59m 43s
    1. Refine Edges
      1m 28s
    2. Laying down a base layer mask
      6m 49s
    3. Introducing the Refine Edge/Mask command
      7m 57s
    4. Edge detection and Smart Radius
      4m 42s
    5. Using the Refine Radius tool
      7m 31s
    6. The transformative power of Refine Edge
      3m 37s
    7. Perfecting a mask with overlay painting
      10m 58s
    8. Combining Quick Selection with Refine Mask
      10m 37s
    9. Bolstering and integrating hair
      6m 4s
  12. 1h 18m
    1. The Pen tool
      1m 50s
    2. Pixel-based masking versus the Pen tool
      6m 45s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided path outline
      6m 59s
    4. Moving, deleting, and adding anchor points
      6m 10s
    5. Dragging control handles to modify curves
      5m 27s
    6. Converting a path outline to a vector mask
      5m 36s
    7. Customizing a geometric shape
      5m 53s
    8. How to position points and control handles
      7m 7s
    9. Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool
      8m 7s
    10. Duplicating and scaling a vector mask
      5m 21s
    11. Cusp points and the Rubber Band option
      6m 51s
    12. Setting anchor points in the pasteboard
      6m 8s
    13. Using the Convert Point tool
      6m 43s

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced
11h 8m Advanced Sep 12, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

The third part of the popular and comprehensive series Photoshop CS6 One-on-One follows industry pro Deke McClelland as he plunges into the inner workings of Adobe Photoshop. He shows how to adjust your color, interface, and performance settings to get the best out of your images and the most out of Photoshop, and explores the power of Smart Objects, Shadows/Highlights, and Curves for making subtle, nondestructive adjustments. The course dives into Camera Raw to experiment with the editing toolset there, and returns to Photoshop to discuss toning, blur, and blend modes. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details and reducing noise, as well as creating quick and accurate selections with Quick Mask, Color Range, and Refine Edge commands.

Topics include:
  • Adjusting the color settings in Photoshop
  • Placing and blending Smart Objects in a scene
  • Transforming and warping vector objects
  • Correcting for lens distortion
  • Mitigating halos and enhancing contrast with Shadows/Highlights
  • Adding and editing points on a curve
  • Editing multiple images in Camera Raw
  • Creating a pro-quality sepia tone or quadtone
  • Colorizing with blend modes and opacity
  • Reducing and smoothing over noise
  • Creating depth-of-field effects with blur
  • Selecting with Color Range and Quick Mask
  • Perfecting a mask with Refine Edge
  • Drawing paths with the Pen tool
  • Converting path outlines to vector masks
Photoshop Camera Raw
Deke McClelland

Correcting a noisy photo

Over the course of this project, we're going to take this macro photograph with this very shallow depth of field so that some elements are in focus like this forward eye, and this forward leg as well. But many of the other elements are out of focus including this rear leg, portions of the wings, and so forth. And in part, as a result of that, we've got an awful lot of noise. I will go ahead and zoom in to the image, and I'll scroll it over as well so that we can see the copious amounts of noise; both color noise and luminance noise that are affecting the low focus details as well as the shadows and the midtones.

We're going to defeat that noise, and ultimately sharpen the photograph as well using a tried and true sharpening technique that actually works. So you can see that we have all this wonderful detail popping inside this photograph, and yet much of the noise, not quite all of it, but much of it is smoothed away. And then finally, we'll add noise to the image in order to create an effect. In this particular case, I will go ahead and zoom out here, you can see that we've rendered the butterfly, so it looks almost as if it was painted onto watercolor paper or canvas. All right. So I'll switch back to the original image.

We're going to start things off using Reduce Noise, and of course we want to be able to modify it's settings, so I want to convert this layer to a Smart Object. I'll start by double-clicking on a background item here in the Layers panel and I'll name this layer butterfly, and then click OK. And now, I'll go up to Layers panel flyout menu and choose Convert to Smart Object, or press Ctrl+Comma or Cmd+Comma on the Mac. Then you want to go up to the Filter menu, choose Noise, and then choose Reduce Noise, or press Shift+F9. We're seeing the last settings that I was playing around with, which are the Color Noise settings, that is, I've cranked up this Reduce Color Noise value, but Strength is at 0, Sharpen Details is at 0, and will be left there as well. All right.

So we'll start with the Reduce Color Noise value; 100% is probably a little bit too high. So let's take it down to 0%, so that we can see all of the color noise inside of this image, and there is a considerable amount. Notice all the color variations at work in that upper portion of the rear leg. We have a lot of color noise inside the eye and inside of the wing details as well. So, what I recommend you do when you're trying to figure out what settings to apply, start with everything zeroed out, and first, focus your attention on Reduce Color Noise. Go ahead and select a value and then press Shift+Up-arrow a few times, and watch your color noise go away.

You want to take this value as high as it needs to be to get rid of the color noise, but you don't want to take it any higher. For example, at about 70%, I'm seeing pretty much all of the color noise go away. Right now, I'm clicking and holding; we can see a ton of color noise. As soon as I release to update the preview, that color noise is diminished. I'll go ahead and scroll back up here. Notice the upper portion of those legs, how much green, and blue, and purple noise we have. And then if I release, that noise is mitigated. So, color noise is easy to get rid of. But you don't want to take the value too high, because if you do, the colors will start bleeding out of the details.

So, as I say, 70% works well for this image. Now, let's adjust the Strength Setting. I'm going to press the Up Arrow key in order to raise that value in increments of 1. And this image is so very noisy that I am going to want to take the Strength value all the way to 10. And now if I click and hold inside the image, you can see this is the original version with all the noise. And as soon as I release, that color and luminance noise is greatly diminished. However, we're also losing a lot of details inside of the face for example. It looks almost as if the face details have been melted which is why we need to take that Preserve Details value up.

So, you want to start with it at 0 so we can gauge what Strength value to apply. Then you just want to take that value up incrementally by pressing the Up Arrow key. That's what generally works out the best for me. I rarely find any use for big values such as 50%, and larger, because that just brings the biggest noise, the stuff that's the most obvious inside the image back. So where this image is concerned, I started to see the details come back at about 5%, whereas at about 10%, we're seeing too much of the noise come back.

So we have some good details inside the image including those tiny little hairs or whatever they are at work in the foreleg. However, we're also bringing back a ton of noise inside the mid tones and the shadows. So, I ultimately scale that value back a little bit to 7%. So, these were the values that I arrived at for what it's worth; Strength: 10, Preserve Details: 7, Reduce Color Noise: 70, and of course Sharpen Details set to 0. Remove JPEG Artifact is great if you have a highly compressed JPEG image, which this is not.

I applied the highest quality setting possible in fact. So, we're not going to get much in the way of positive results with this. However, if you find a public domain image on the Web for example that has had the heck compressed out of it, then you might want to try that checkbox. All right. Now let's go ahead and save our settings so we don't overwrite color noise by clicking on the little Settings icon, and I'll just go ahead and call this one High Noise Image, and then click OK, and of course, go ahead and select that setting from the end of the list before you click on the OK button.

And just so you can see what we've managed to accomplish here, I'll go ahead, and turn the Smart Filters off by clicking on the eyeball. This is the amount of noise that was at work inside of this image originally, and I'll just go ahead and zoom in to 200% so we can really see it in the video. This is the original noise inside the image, and if I press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on a Mac to reapply the filter, this is the image with the noise relatively defeated. And that's how you go about applying the Reduce Noise Filter to about the highest noise image you could possibly encounter here inside Photoshop.

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