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Photoshop is the tool of choice for most creative professionals and has quickly become household name synonymous with computer art and image manipulation. In Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics, internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland teaches such digital-age wonders as masking, filters, layers, blend modes, Liquify, Vanishing Point, and vector-based type. Along the way, Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, trimming away jowls and fat, and wrapping one image around the surface of another. Plus, the training teaches how to construct and organize the elements in a composition so you can edit them easily in the future. Exercise files accompany the tutorial.
Ready for more Photoshop CS3 training with Deke? Check out Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Advanced Techniques.
Note: Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials is a recommended prerequisite to Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
We are now going to discretely step away from our creative applications of the blur and averaging functions and we are going to take a look at a filter that allows you to reduce the amount of noise inside of a digital photograph. And I am looking at, by the way I am looking at an image called enhancednoise.jpg that's found inside the 12 Blur Average folder. And you may recall from the previous chapter, this is that image from Rasmusen that had a little bit of camera shake inside of it and we remedied the camera shake to a degree of course by choosing the Smart Sharpen filter and then setting the Remove function to Motion Blur.
And it's done this image a tremendous amount of good. The motion blur now is virtually gone from the image but the command also managed to increase the effect of the noise inside of this photograph and in case you don't know what noise is I am going to zoom away into this image. See those random pixel variations right there, there is this array of random colors inside of this image and these random colors are not imparting detail, they are not imparting actual information about the subject of the photograph, they are strictly random and that's called Noise.
And noise is always a function of a digital photograph whether you like it or not, but it doesn't have to be this bad. If it starts getting this bad whether it's because the image was noisy in the first place because it was blurry, blurry images are frequently noisy images or whether it's because you sharpen the image and exaggerated the noise or a combination of both as with this image then you can reduce the amount of noise inside the image without harming the details that turns out, if you are careful using the Reduce Noise filter, very powerful function inside of Photoshop.
So I am going to press the F key a couple of times in order to fill this screen with this image and I am going to press Shift+Tab to make those palettes go away and then I am going to go ahead and zoom out by pressing Ctrl+Alt+0 or Command-Option-0, I am going to zoom this guy out to the 100% view size here. And I am going to move him over to the right hand side of the screen and it's going to be evident why I am doing that in just a moment. This is another one of those gargantuan dialog boxes that takes up this entire little format screen here so I am going to go up to the Filter menu, I am going to choose the Noise command and I am going to choose Reduce Noise right there.
And if you load in my D keys, I gave you a keyboard shortcut Shift+F9 and as I say big dialog box of course, these are the default settings by the way, Strength of 6, Preserve Detail 60%, you can read the rest. What really matters is how do the functions work. Now we have a dialog box inside the preview notice that and then the Reduce Noise filter is also capable of previewing it's effects outside in the larger image window. So I am going to do this number here, I am just going to move this dialog box over to the left hand side of the screen, isn't that clever, so that we just have a single preview inside of the larger image window and we are not missing anything over on hidden part of the dialog box right now.
Alright so these settings I would say are way too conservative. This image does look better for it, but it looks better on screen. If we were to print the image, I doubt we would notice any difference between the corrected version and the uncorrected version without and with noise. So I am going to increase the strength of this function and I will show you how I am going to go about doing that. Go ahead first of all and this is how I recommend you work inside this dialog box, turn up the strength value to its maximum which is 10. Now the strength value tries to smooth over luminance noise that is random variations and luminance levels between one pixel and its neighbor.
Preserve Details tries to keep the real detail inside the image and make sure that it doesn't gets smoothed over. Unfortunately, if you have the Preserve Details value set too high and I believe 60% is too high then you are really not going to get very far with the strength value. So for now as a starting point, just turn Preserve Details down to 0% and then you will really start to notice. See that you really start to notice the effects of the filter. Now this is too much and we are starting to get this, actually this is really cool painterly effect, but for now it's a good place to start, it's basically my point.
Alright Reduce Color Noise that's the other kind of noise you might encounter, so you have got luminance noise and then the other ingredient in the full color image besides luminosity is color, so this would be random variations in colors from one pixel to its neighbors. I also recommend you go ahead and max this up for now, just go ahead and take it as high as it goes a 100% and then finally take the Sharpen details value down and there is a couple of reasons for this, one we have already sharpen this image, so I am not sure how wise it is to sharpen on top of sharpening. And the other thing that you should know about Sharpen details, it's a very sort of quick and dirty once again sharpening function.
Remember that little more accurate checkbox inside this Smart Sharpen dialog box, well if you max out the Sharpen details value, you will see basically that same effect going on inside the image. There is no radius control, it's just an amount control you know and there is none of the other high fluid controls inside the Unsharp Mask and Smart Sharpen dialog boxes. So you just get very detailed sharpening, so it works well for the hairs and for you know these details inside the lips and so on. But it also ends up creating this sort of wormy effect throughout the image, so it displaces a noise but it doesn't really make the noise go away and I am not sure the image looks sharp, particularly if you sort of zoom out from the image a little bit.
You are going to have a hard time seeing the effects of Sharpen details, so I don't recommend this function. If you are going to use it use sparingly, the default value I believe is 25% and that I wouldn't go that high, it's basically what it comes down to. The idea though is it's trying to account for the bad effects of the other functions, the Strength and Reduce Color Noise functions that end up averaging pixels, this is trying to account for that averaging and basically sharpen the details sort of in opposition.
Anyway, once you have set up these values here, once you have set up them this high, you might want to leave Strength alone, I like a high strength value but you can take it down if you want to, you have only got 10 increments available to you. So you could go ahead and press the down arrow key to take it down a little bit, if you want. I am going to leave it set pretty high, I am going to set well not pretty high, all the way up, I wish even higher. I am going to leave it set to a Strength value of 10 and then I am going to press the tab key a couple of times to go to the Reduce Noise Color function here. And I am going to press shift down arrow in order to take this value down, because what I don't want to see happen, I don't want the colors around the flesh for example to start bleeding into the white of the eye and I don't want the color of the iris to start bleeding into the flesh or into the eye and I don't want the colors of the lips to bleed away and so on, because if you have too high of Reduce Color Noise value that's exactly what will happen, you will start bleeding colors into each other.
So I am going to, for this image, I am taking it down to 50%. Now let's go ahead and take the Preserve Details value up, now if I take it, now watch this screen this time, if I take it up to 10% it makes a pretty big difference, see that. Right away we are starting to see those details come back and we are starting to see some of the noise information come back as well. So I recommend a low Preserve Details value, I am going to take this down to 5% as it turns out. And if you are going to use, once again if you are going to use Sharpen details at all then use it sparingly and I am just going to take it up to 5%, what the heck.
Remove Jpeg Artifact, don't worry about this checkbox right now, I will show it to you in the next exercise. Now it's probably a good idea, you can save your settings here, so go ahead and save your settings by clicking on this little Save button. And I am going to call this setting Routine Noise because it's kind of noise that I encounter inside images on a regular basis. I will change the settings value of course to Routine Noise and then I will Click OK in order to accept that modification. And this is the modified version of the image, notice that the command can take a little bit of time in order to apply, but this is the before version and this is the after version, so it's probably going to be pretty subtle in the video here, let's go ahead and zoom in a little bit, so that we can see it better.
This is the before version of the image with ton of Noise especially notice that we have got a lot of luminance noise here in the shadows and an awful lot of color noise in the midtones and then when I redo the application of that filter just about all that noise goes away, it all gets smoothed out very, very nicely, thanks to the incredibly powerful Reduce Noise filter.
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