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In Photoshop CS5 for Photographers: Camera Raw 6, Chris Orwig provides in-depth training on Camera Raw 6, the CS5 component that enables photographers to open and manipulate images in non-destructive and now even more efficient ways. This course covers the benefits of the raw processing, which makes it possible to more precisely control an image's appearance—exposure, shadow and highlight detail, color balance, sharpness, and more—including new workflow procedures and technical concepts and issues. Learn the entire Camera Raw workflow, from opening and resizing, toning and cropping, to sharpening and saving. Exercise files are included with the course.
Almost every image that you capture could benefit from it being worked on inside of the Detail panel. And in the Detail panel what we can do is work on Sharpening and also Noise Reduction. Here we are going to focus in on Noise Reduction. To select or to target the Detail panel, we can either click on the icon here, or we can press our shortcut. On a Mac it's Command+Option+3, on a PC, that's Ctrl+Alt+3. Now, you notice down at the bottom it says for a more accurate view, you need to zoom in to 100% or higher.
And we need to do that because we can't really discern if the Noise Reduction or the Sharpening is good if we are zoomed out. So let's zoom in to 100%. There are a few different ways you can do that. You can either double-click the Zoom tool, or of course you can click on the Zoom pulldown menu and then choose 100%. Or if you prefer the shortcut, on a Mac it's going to be Command+Option+0; on a PC, that's Ctrl+Alt+0. Well, use whatever technique you prefer to zoom in to 100%, then press the Spacebar key to access the Hand tool.
And click and drag to pan around the image to become familiar with some of the issues with this particular file. Well, here, one of the things that I notice is that there is quite a bit of noise. I can see a lot of noise in the background in regards to the color. I also see a lot of Luminance Noise. Let's go ahead and zoom in even closer, simply for demo purposes, so that we can really see the noise issues here. Now, you are going to discover noise in your files in a lot of different areas, and some noise is going to be simply because of the content.
For example, sometime skin has a lot of variation. So you may see a little artifacting or strange noise, or sometimes you will see this in the shadow areas, in the deeper tones, or a lot of times you will see it in skies, or in backgrounds. Well, when we see noise all over the place, what I want to do is first focus in on Color Noise, because that's a little bit easier to understand. Well, down here you will notice I have two controls for color. The first one is simply the Color slider. When I click on that, it then activates the Color Detail. Now, the higher I take this, the less color variety I will have.
Let's exaggerate this so we can see what's happening here. All right. Well, one of the things that we can see is, yeah, the background looks great. It almost looks like it's just gray rather than colorful. But I also removed color in the face in that same way. There isn't as much color variety. As a matter of fact, the eyes aren't even blue anymore. We will click on the Preview check box. Here is before, and then here is after. We also notice that the lips aren't really differentiated from the teeth. So we have removed so much Color Detail that it's now negative.
So we have gone too far. So what we typically need to do is to take this control down and then slowly bring it up and just look to reduce or remove the color variety that's distracting from the image, in this case probably right about here. And then if we want to see our before and after, press the P key, here is before, and then of course here is after. Now, we should do a lot of this work at 100%. So I am going to zoom back to 100%. I will do so by double-clicking my Zoom tool. This will really help me determine if I have reduced an appropriate amount of this Color Noise.
Let's press the P key. Here we have it, before and then after. On my monitor, this is looking really nice. Okay. Well, what about Color Detail? Whenever we reduce noise, we are actually losing a sense of dimension, because Color and Tone gives us dimension and variance and difference. So we can modify this to have less details, or we can crank this up to have more details in the color areas. Now, the one thing I want to say about this control is that it does apply a pretty subtle effect. Certain images will benefit from this more; others won't.
But typically, right around the middle is going to be a pretty good spot for this Color Detail amount. All right. Let's move to another area of Noise Reduction, and that is Luminance Noise. Here we have three controls. What we can do is click and drag this up, and let's exaggerate things a bit, and let's drag this all the way up. Now, when I do that we can see that, yes, we reduced a lot of the noise variance that's based on luminosity, or brightness value. But also the structure of the image is changing. Let me show you what I mean.
If we reduce the details, so we don't have many details in the frame, everything is completely smudged out. We have lost Dimension. We have lost Texture. We have lost Shape. So this Luminance slider, again, can be taken too far. Let's keep it here in order to understand what's happening. Without any detail, how then does Contrast work? Well, if we increase the Contrast amount, what we are going to see it that this slider kind of saves the day, in a sense. Again, here is no Contrast, and then here is a lot of Contrast.
So what it's trying to do is to rebuild Dimension or Shadow or Shape. And so this Contrast slider can really help us out. Well, obviously at this juncture, these settings aren't very good. What are more realistic settings for an image like this? Let's go ahead and double-click all these controls to take them back to their default setting, and then let's start off with our Luminance amount. What we want to do with Luminance is we want to just bring this up to where we start to see that the luminosity variance, the little texture in the background, is being reduced.
We also then want to dial in our Luminance Detail. And one of the things that I have discovered is that Luminance and Luminance Detail like to travel together. Let me show you what I mean. If I crank this all the way up, it's too high. But if I bring up this Luminance Detail amount, it's almost not that bad, because what this did was soften out all the details, and this brought some of them back. So again, just keep in mind that these two like to tend to be near each other. Now, it's not always the case with all images, but in a lot images it is. So right here we have a nice amount of Luminance, Noise Reduction, a good amount of detail, and then I will bring up a little bit of Contrast to add some Dimension.
And now, here this image is looking really good. And keep in mind, with a photograph like this, I don't want it to look too glamorous, too soft, so I want to have a good amount of detail here. If I take this down too far, it's just going to look a little bit soft focus, not quite as edgy or as interesting as I want for a photograph like this. So I will bring in some of those details. Now that I have dialed in all of these controls, I will press the P key. Here we have our before. Press the P key again. Here he have our after. The image is looking a ton better.
Let's zoom in a little bit farther so we can see that even better. Here we have the before and now the after, after we have applied our Noise Reduction.
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