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

Introducing the Reduce Noise filter


Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

with Deke McClelland

Video: Introducing the Reduce Noise filter

In this movie I'll introduce you to the Reduce Noise Filter, which is your primary means for defeating noise in Photoshop. Now, where digital photographs are concerned, noise breaks down into two categories and I've gone ahead and separated them here, even though they normally work together inside of a photo. Up at the top we've got Luminance noise, which is random variations in the luminance of neighboring pixels; and down at the bottom we have Color noise, which is random variations in the color values, that is to say random variations in the luminance that varies from one color channel to the other.
Expand all | Collapse all
  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

Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now
please wait ...
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

Introducing the Reduce Noise filter

In this movie I'll introduce you to the Reduce Noise Filter, which is your primary means for defeating noise in Photoshop. Now, where digital photographs are concerned, noise breaks down into two categories and I've gone ahead and separated them here, even though they normally work together inside of a photo. Up at the top we've got Luminance noise, which is random variations in the luminance of neighboring pixels; and down at the bottom we have Color noise, which is random variations in the color values, that is to say random variations in the luminance that varies from one color channel to the other.

And if I go ahead and zoom in here, you can see it even more closely. So we've got Luminance noise at the top, separated from Color noise down here at the bottom. All right, I'll go ahead and zoom back out. I also want you to notice that the high contrast noise is collected here toward the center of the image, whereas we have low contrast noise around the perimeter of the image. Now, the reason that I've separated the Luminance noise and Color noise is because Photoshop allows you to attack Luminance noise and Color noise independently. So to show you how that works, I am going to turn off my two text layers and then I am going to go ahead and merge the remaining layers onto a new layer by pressing Ctrl+Shift+E or Cmd+Shift+E on the Mac.

Now we've got this new layer 1 that contains all of the photographic stuff and I'll go ahead and rename it graduated noise like so. And now, because I want to be able to edit my reduced noise values, I'll convert this layer to a Smart Object by going up to the Layers panel flyout menu and choosing Convert to Smart Object. Or if you loaded dekeKeys, you can press my shortcut of Ctrl+, or Cmd+, on the Mac. Next, I want you to go up to the Filter menu, choose Noise, and choose the final command, Reduce Noise, which I've given a shortcut of Shift+F9; again, if you've loaded dekeKeys.

Notice that we have a total of four numerical values over on the right side of the dialog box. They include Strength, which attacks Luminance noise only. Preserve Details serves as a counterbalance for Strength and it tries to bring back the highest contrast edges, along with the highest contrast noise as we'll see. Then we've got Reduce Color Noise, which affects the Color noise independently of the Luminance noise. And finally, we have Sharpen Details, which goes ahead and sharpens up the highest contrast, luminance edges.

All right, let me show you what I mean by all that. Let's focus first on the Luminance noise. I am going to click on this little hard drive icon right there and I am going to create a new settings called Luminance noise. And then I'll press the Enter key, the Return key on the Mac. Next, you need to go and switch over to that setting so you don't ruin your defaults. And I'll go ahead and take Reduce Color Noise down to 0 and then take Sharpen Details down to 0% as well. Now, notice I can take Strength as low as 0, and as soon as I do, Preserve Details becomes dimmed, because it no longer serves any purpose.

You have to have some Strength at work to use Preserve Details. But because my image is so noisy, I am going to take this value all the way up to 10. And you can see that it does almost nothing where the high contrast noise in the image is concerned. That's because Preserve Details is set so very high by default. Let's go ahead and take it down to 0 for starters here. Then I'll zoom in on the Preview here inside the dialog box by clicking on the Plus (+)bu tton. And notice, we've done a big number on the low contrast noise, around the perimeter of the image; we're looking at the upper left corner currently, and we've also gotten rid of a lot of the high contrast noise as well.

But in reducing that high contrast noise, we've also reduced the sharpness of the details inside the photograph. So you need to take this value up to some extent, and I'm actually nudging it up from the keyboard by pressing the Up Arrow Key. Notice where this image is concerned, even at a very low Preserve Details setting of 5%, we are bringing back the high contrast noise as you can see here, along with the details. And that's because of the way Photoshop interprets details, that is to say rapid luminance transitions between neighboring pixels.

So I am going to go ahead and take this value up to 10%, and in doing so I bring back the good stuff inside the image, but I also bring back the high contrast noise, whereas if I scroll to the upper left-hand corner, you can see that the low contrast noise remains quelled. All right, I'll go ahead and click the OK button in order to accept those settings. So I've got a Strength of 10; Preserve Details of 10% as well. All right, now just to reduce clutter inside the Layers panel, I am going to right-click inside that Filter Mask and choose Delete Filter Mask. If you loaded dekeKeys, you can also press Ctrl+Alt+Q or Cmd+Option+Q on a Mac.

Now let me show you how the Color noise option works. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+J or Cmd+J on the Mac to make a copy of that layer and I'll turn it off. Then for the bottom version here, let's just go ahead and rename graduated noise color noise, so we can see there's a difference. And I'll double-click on the words Reduce Noise in order to bring up the Reduce Noise panel. And I'll save some new settings by clicking on that little hard drive icon. Get rid of the word Copy, replace the word Luminance with Color, click OK. And very important, I need to switch my Settings from Luminance noise to Color noise before I change a single value.

Now I'll reduce the Strength value to 0. That dims the Preserve Details value, so I don't have to worry about it. And I'll take the Reduce Color Noise value up to 50%. And I want you to see now the Luminance noise has not been modified at all, Photoshop leaves it alone. Whereas, if I scroll down to the Color noise, you can see that it's pretty much altogether defeated around the perimeter of the image, but it's still hanging on toward the center of the image where we have the high contrast color noise. So let's see what happens if I take it all the way up to 100%, then nearly all of the Color noise goes away.

I'll click on the Plus (+) button so we can see here that we still have just a little bit of Color noise; there is the original Color noise when I click and hold, and when I release, almost all of it goes away, except the very high contrast noise inside of the model's face. All right, now I'll click OK in order to apply those settings. Now then, finally, I want to show you how the Sharpen option works. I am going to turn the graduated noise layer back on and you can see that all the Color noise goes back, because we hadn't reduced any of the Color noise on this layer. And I'll switch to that layer and double-click on Reduce Noise in order to bring up the dialog box, as well as the settings I had applied to that layer, with one exception, Settings is changed back to Color noise; we need to switch it to Luminance noise just so we don't wipe out our Color noise settings.

Pretty much a big pain in the neck, it's kind of a design flaw where this dialog box is concerned. However, what I want you to notice is what happens if I go ahead and zoom in, let's say, to the upper left region of the image where we've got the low noise, notice I'll increase my Sharpen Details value to 50% and those upper right pixels are pretty much unaffected, and that's because Sharpen Details focuses its attention on the high contrast edges. So as soon as I start zooming in toward the central portion of the image, you can see that the image itself is getting sharpened, but so is the high contrast noise.

Things get even worse if you start increasing this value further. And notice, if you take Sharpen Details up to 100%, I'll go ahead and zoom out here, this is just the worst possible sharpening algorithm you could hope for, which is why I am going to tell you just flat out, leave this value set to 0%, there are much better ways to sharpen high noise images, as I will be showing you over the course of this chapter. So those are the basics of working with the Reduce Noise Filter. I'll show you how to apply it to an actual digital photograph in the next movie.

There are currently no FAQs about Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced.

Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.

Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.