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Reducing digital noise

From: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Reducing digital noise

In this exercise, we are going to touch on the one command under the Noise sub-menu, under the Filter menu that we haven't looked at thus far and that's Reduce Noise, and Reduce Noise is an exceedingly important command inside of Photoshop. It is basically a noise reduction factory and it works very, very well. It's a very intelligent next generation filter. So by stark contrast to some of the goofy filters that we have seen. I'm working inside of a very noisy image called Sam with plaster.jpg and this is my youngest. We were actually making a mask that we had molded to his face and then we took the mask off it was starting to set and there is this sort of goop that you have to put down and keep the mask from sticking to his face and he has got that and some of the plaster is still on there and he is laying on his back and he has absolutely the most neutral sort of innocent expression on his face. He looks like Danny from the Shining or something like that.

Reducing digital noise

In this exercise, we are going to touch on the one command under the Noise sub-menu, under the Filter menu that we haven't looked at thus far and that's Reduce Noise, and Reduce Noise is an exceedingly important command inside of Photoshop. It is basically a noise reduction factory and it works very, very well. It's a very intelligent next generation filter. So by stark contrast to some of the goofy filters that we have seen. I'm working inside of a very noisy image called Sam with plaster.jpg and this is my youngest. We were actually making a mask that we had molded to his face and then we took the mask off it was starting to set and there is this sort of goop that you have to put down and keep the mask from sticking to his face and he has got that and some of the plaster is still on there and he is laying on his back and he has absolutely the most neutral sort of innocent expression on his face. He looks like Danny from the Shining or something like that.

I am going to go and zoom in though so that we can see this is an exceptionally noisy photograph for two reasons. One, I used the high ISO setting of 720, so there is noise inherent in high ISO settings. And also, I had a little bit of camera shake. Whenever you have blurry detail inside of an image noise tends to just sort of broil up essentially. Especially, if you go add it with Smart Sharpen's Motion Blur Removal function and that just enhance the noise that much further. So this image is just ramping with noise. Hopefully most of the images that you attack won't have quite this much.

All right, I'm going to Shift+Tab away the palettes there and zoom out a click and go ahead and move Sammy over to the side a little bit so that we can still take him in as we use the big ginormous Reduce Noise function. Go up to the Filter menu, choose Noise and choose Reduce Noise or you can press Shift+F9 if you loaded Deke keys, and that brings up as I was saying a very large dialog box here. I'll go ahead and train it on his eye for a moment. We have four options that we'll be discussing four numerical options and a few other things going on. But just so that we can focus our attention on the image to the highest degree possible in this fairly small monitor space here I'm going to move this dialog box over to the side, so that we can see the whopping big preview of Sammy as well as the numerical options inside the dialog box, clever! All right, so I'm going to move Sammy just over a little bit so his eyes are more or less centered there. First of all I tell you that I think the default settings, which we are seeing right here 6, 60, 45, 25, are too conservative.

They are good for images that just have a little bit of noise, if your goal is to fix this image, we definitely need higher settings because it is so very, very grainy. All right, so these guys are in opposition to each other and so Strength gets rid of noise, Preserve Details downplays the effects of strength. Reduce Color Noise gets rid of Noise. Sharpen Details then reduces the effects of Reduced Color Noise and Strength just so as you know and I'll explain in more detail. Strength is actually getting rid of luminance noise, so random variations and neighboring pixels that are the effect of luminance variations. This is the way I almost always start by increasing the Strength value to its maximum of 10, and I really wish this value went higher than 10. I frequently land on photographs like this one here that could use a higher Strength setting than this and then I cranked Preserve Details all the way down. What Preserve Details is doing is it's trying to preserve the edges inside of the image, so where it finds big differences in luminance between neighboring pixels that tries to keep those big differences and if we just get rid of Preserve Details take it down to 0 then we are just solid strength, we are just applying the Strength value there.

Then we'll go ahead and crank up the Reduce Noise function, which is just getting rid of color noise to 100%, that of course random color variations between neighboring pixels. The whole point of Sharpen Details is to basically reverse the effects of Strength and Reduce Color Noise by going in and applying a layer sharpening. So it's going to sharpen very tiny details you don't have any control over Radius. If I increase the Sharpen Details setting to 100% and you have to wait for it typically inside of an image and then you zoom in, which I'll do here by Ctrl+Spacebar+Clicking or Command+ Spacebar+Clicking on the Mac, and I'll go ahead and zoom in even farther and you can see that we've got this wormy effect that's showing up here inside of the image, so we are doing a fair amount of damage. I can make it look much worse if I took down the Strength value.

Notice now, that we are just absolutely creating these little sort of iron filings inside the image, these little lines with shadows and highlights, it's just terrible. So can be good for bringing out little tendrils of hair and other just tiny details, and of course, threads of fabric and grain inside of wood and all that good stuff, but if you are working with a portrait shot like this one here ostensibly then I recommend you take it down to -- 25% is the highest I would ever go and most of the time I'll take it down much, much lower than that, and you know what for this image, I'm saying just get rid of Sharpen Details, we'll follow this up with a separate sharpening pass that will do this image a heck of a lot more good than the Sharpen Details function ever will.

All right, now, I go back to Reduce Color Noise and I say, you know do I really want this much color noise reduction because at 100% you are going to have a lot of color bleed. In other words, the lips are going to bleed into the flesh, the irises are going to bleed into the flesh. The irises are going to bleed into the whites of the eyes and we are going to lose color definition inside the eyes a lot, that's the thing that's going to be effected the most, and of course out here where we have transitions between for example, the green of his shirt and the red of this blanket and the flesh color of this fleshy face. Live in we are going to have color bleed there too.

So I'm going to take this value down to something like 40%. See if we can regain some of the good colors inside this image because in as much as this there is just ton of noise inside this image, the fault is almost exclusively luminance noise, it has very little to do with color noise. So I might take it down even farther than that to something like let's say 25% and see how things look, and they look quite good I think at that setting. Then if you want to at this point you can raise the Preserve Details value and I'm going to take it up to 10% just by pressing Shift+Up Arrow because I want you to see how even at 10% we are really bringing back a lot of the noise inside this particular image. So I'll zoom in a little farther. Let's switch to a different part of the image than the nose, why don't we? Take in the eye right here, so this is a value of 0 just for the sake of comparison and if I raise it to 10%, I'm bringing back a lot of that noise very, very quickly.

So what I'm going to do instead is take this down to 0 once again and just judge it up from the keyboard to like 3 and see what that gives me and that's about as high as Id want to take it in this image and as I say, this is a very high noise image that I'm trying to address. All right, then I'm going to go ahead and save off my settings, why not? So I'll click on the little floppy disk icon, universal for Save of course, and I'll name this Big noise to remind me that this is for my big noise images that I might run into, and he is such a big boy. Now with Big noise, click OK in order to create that new setting and then of course you've got to choose it just like Smart Sharpen. Same problem where you have to choose Big noise or you are going to override default. So go ahead and choose that setting and that way you'll preserve your defaults, we'll come back to what Basic and Advanced mean and remove JPEG Artifact, we'll see that in a moment and go ahead and click OK in order to accept this modified version of the image. And just to give you a sense what we were able to achieve here, I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to show the before version of the image and Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to show the after version.

Now I'm very, very tempted to try this command again and I'm just going to press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac to replay the Reduce Noise command to see what happened. But I'm actually pretty happy with this effect. If you decide you've gone too far as well you might, you could press Ctrl+Shift+F, command+Shift+F on the Mac for the Fade command as you may recall, Fade under the Edit menu and then take this Opacity value back to something like 50% let's say to mix things up just a little bit. And then after you get down with the Reduce Noise that's when you want to sharpen the photograph. Now, I had already sharpened in advance choosing Smart Sharpen to get rid of the effects of camera shake that's something you do before Reduce Noise, but then in your print sharpening you would do after Reduce Noise. And I'll just go ahead and show you how that works in the next exercise.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

218 video lessons · 23876 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
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  1. 22m 32s
    1. Welcome to Photoshop CS4 One-on-One Advanced
      1m 43s
    2. Installing the DekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      6m 17s
    3. Resetting the function keys on a Mac
      3m 51s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 37s
    5. Setting up the CS4 color settings
      6m 4s
  2. 2h 43m
    1. Highlights, shadows, and midtones
      49s
    2. Low contrast, bad meter
      5m 57s
    3. Auto tone, contrast, and color
      8m 1s
    4. Cache levels and the Histogram palette
      7m 16s
    5. How the auto commands work
      10m 15s
    6. A first look at Levels
      6m 11s
    7. Target colors and clipping
      9m 6s
    8. Modifying input levels
      9m 44s
    9. Adjusting the gamma value
      7m 34s
    10. Previewing clipping
      7m 17s
    11. The futility of output levels
      4m 56s
    12. Channel-by-channel edits
      11m 54s
    13. When levels fail
      4m 34s
    14. A first look at Curves
      8m 46s
    15. Static Curves layer tricks
      7m 45s
    16. Dynamic Curves layer tricks
      7m 25s
    17. Correcting the composite image
      8m 30s
    18. Neutralizing a color cast
      6m 52s
    19. The Target Adjustment tool in Curves
      8m 29s
    20. Correcting an image in Lab
      10m 7s
    21. The Shadows/Highlights filter
      4m 18s
    22. Radius and tonal width
      8m 11s
  3. 1h 48m
    1. Edge-enhancement tricks
      1m 13s
    2. How sharpening works
      3m 48s
    3. The single-shot sharpeners
      4m 29s
    4. The Unsharp Mask filter
      7m 57s
    5. Understanding the Radius value
      6m 25s
    6. Gauging the best settings
      7m 47s
    7. Previewing how sharpening will print
      3m 37s
    8. Measuring and setting screen resolution
      6m 56s
    9. Tweaking the screen resolution
      4m 28s
    10. Sharpening the luminance data
      8m 23s
    11. USM vs. Smart Sharpen
      4m 23s
    12. Smart Sharpen's Remove settings
      5m 50s
    13. High-resolution sharpening
      6m 16s
    14. When to leave More Accurate off
      3m 48s
    15. When to turn More Accurate on
      4m 23s
    16. The advanced options
      7m 57s
    17. Saving Smart Sharpen settings
      4m 23s
    18. Accounting for camera shake
      7m 7s
    19. Sharpening with the High Pass filter
      9m 8s
  4. 2h 16m
    1. Why would you blur?
      1m 8s
    2. Fading after an undo
      3m 27s
    3. The "bell-shaped" Gaussian Blur
      5m 43s
    4. The linear Box Blur
      3m 6s
    5. Add Noise vs. Median
      4m 50s
    6. Despeckle vs. Dust & Scratches
      6m 31s
    7. Smart Blur vs. Surface Blur
      8m 13s
    8. The Motion Blur filter
      4m 33s
    9. Radial Blur's Spin and Zoom variations
      5m 48s
    10. Mixing filtered effects
      3m 56s
    11. The "Captain Kirk in Love" effect
      5m 4s
    12. Diffusing focus with Blur and Overlay
      8m 50s
    13. Simulating Vaseline and film grain
      8m 2s
    14. Filling a layer with a neutral color
      2m 55s
    15. Old-school contrast reduction
      3m 39s
    16. Three steps to diffused focus
      7m 36s
    17. Averaging skin tones
      9m 45s
    18. Addressing the stubborn patches
      5m 26s
    19. Combining Gaussian Blur and Average
      6m 1s
    20. Blurring surface details
      3m 2s
    21. Smoothing blemishes while matching noise
      8m 6s
    22. Reducing digital noise
      8m 47s
    23. Striking a smooth/sharpen compromise
      4m 36s
    24. Smoothing over JPEG artifacts
      7m 38s
  5. 2h 31m
    1. Independent layers of color adjustment
      1m 7s
    2. Undersea color channels
      4m 2s
    3. Inventing a Red channel with Lab
      8m 20s
    4. Mixing color channels
      6m 55s
    5. Making shadows with Levels
      7m 5s
    6. Applying small color adjustments
      6m 0s
    7. Further modifying Levels in Lab
      8m 50s
    8. Creating a dynamic fill layer
      4m 38s
    9. Brushing and blending color
      4m 42s
    10. Working with "found masks"
      7m 31s
    11. Saturation, sharpen, and crop
      8m 9s
    12. Mixing a monochromatic image
      7m 2s
    13. Masking an adjustment layer
      4m 45s
    14. Working with Opacity and blend modes
      3m 39s
    15. Adding a black-and-white adjustment
      5m 53s
    16. The Target Adjustment tool in black and white
      6m 12s
    17. Tinting a monochrome photo
      3m 19s
    18. Introducing Gradient Map
      4m 17s
    19. Adjusting both color and luminance
      5m 44s
    20. Infusing elements with different colors
      6m 22s
    21. Adjustment layers as creative tools
      4m 33s
    22. Inverting and brightening the background
      5m 14s
    23. Blurring live, editable type
      5m 43s
    24. Hue, saturation, and darkness
      6m 51s
    25. Filling type with a color adjustment
      3m 24s
    26. Using one adjustment to modify another
      3m 21s
    27. Breathing color into the title
      3m 38s
    28. The Hue/Saturation humanoid
      3m 44s
  6. 1h 48m
    1. Parametric operations
      1m 23s
    2. The power of blend modes
      6m 16s
    3. Changing the Opacity value
      5m 46s
    4. Opacity vs. Fill Opacity
      4m 37s
    5. Meet the blend modes
      6m 4s
    6. Blend mode shortcuts
      7m 8s
    7. Darken, Multiply, and the Burn modes
      6m 33s
    8. Tempering a Burn effect with Fill
      4m 43s
    9. Saving a blended state
      4m 18s
    10. Lighten, Screen, and the Dodge modes
      8m 22s
    11. Linear Burn = Add minus white
      5m 31s
    12. Overlay and the contrast modes
      6m 52s
    13. Fill Opacity takes priority
      6m 19s
    14. Difference and exclusion
      5m 21s
    15. Using difference for golden highlights
      4m 2s
    16. The composite (HSL) modes
      6m 8s
    17. The brush-only modes: Behind and Clear
      10m 31s
    18. Layer groups and the Pass Through mode
      8m 54s
  7. 1h 53m
    1. It's all about the presentation
      58s
    2. Moving a layer a specific number of pixels
      6m 59s
    3. Adding a pixel mask to a layer
      5m 48s
    4. Editing a layer mask
      7m 19s
    5. Combining layers into a clipping mask
      6m 19s
    6. Introducing the Advanced Blending options
      4m 45s
    7. Using the luminance blending sliders
      7m 26s
    8. Forcing through underlying luminance
      4m 32s
    9. Masking with a path outline
      5m 45s
    10. Refining a mask from the Masks palette
      7m 18s
    11. Creating and modifying a layer group
      3m 29s
    12. Establishing a knockout group
      5m 29s
    13. Fixing last-minute problems
      6m 23s
    14. Introducing layer comps
      6m 40s
    15. Exploring layered states
      6m 43s
    16. Deleting layers and updating comps
      6m 18s
    17. Saving a basic composition
      6m 21s
    18. Assigning and saving appearance attributes
      7m 15s
    19. Layer comps dos and don'ts
      7m 27s
  8. 1h 56m
    1. Type: The great imaging exception
      56s
    2. Establishing default formatting attributes
      4m 5s
    3. Saving formatting attributes as a preset
      8m 5s
    4. Making a point text layer
      6m 18s
    5. Editing size and leading
      6m 44s
    6. Working with vector-based text
      6m 12s
    7. Formatting area text
      4m 16s
    8. Creating a layer of area text
      3m 20s
    9. Resizing the text frame
      4m 34s
    10. Changing the anti-aliasing setting
      3m 58s
    11. Obscure but important formatting options
      6m 31s
    12. Text editing tricks and shortcuts
      8m 44s
    13. Creating a cast shadow
      6m 1s
    14. Blurred shadows and beveled text
      7m 16s
    15. Drawing a path outline
      4m 51s
    16. Creating type on a path
      6m 39s
    17. Flipping text across a circle
      3m 18s
    18. Vertical alignment with baseline shift
      4m 16s
    19. Warping text
      4m 57s
    20. Scaling your text to taste
      3m 33s
    21. Applying a custom warp
      6m 24s
    22. Creating an engraved text effect
      5m 11s
  9. 2h 17m
    1. Bending an image to fit your needs
      53s
    2. Creating a canvas texture
      6m 48s
    3. Masking objects against a white background
      5m 42s
    4. Scaling an image to fit a composition
      8m 9s
    5. Aligning one layer to fit another
      3m 51s
    6. Changing the Image Interpolation
      8m 10s
    7. Merging faces
      5m 32s
    8. Rotating the first clock hand
      7m 17s
    9. Adding hands and pasting styles
      6m 40s
    10. Series duplication in Photoshop
      4m 35s
    11. Masking objects against a black background
      6m 34s
    12. Skews and perspective distortions
      7m 57s
    13. Envelope-style warps
      9m 2s
    14. Old-school distortion filters
      8m 50s
    15. Introducing the Liquify filter
      4m 9s
    16. Reconstructing an image
      6m 55s
    17. Using the Warp tool
      5m 16s
    18. The Pucker and Bloat tools
      5m 53s
    19. Push, Turbulence, and Twirl
      6m 41s
    20. The Freeze and Thaw mask tools
      5m 45s
    21. Saving and loading a mesh file
      3m 59s
    22. Creating and applying a texture layer
      8m 30s
  10. 1h 28m
    1. Effects vs. styles
      1m 11s
    2. Of layer styles and masks
      4m 37s
    3. Everything about drop shadow
      8m 2s
    4. Adding a directional glow
      4m 39s
    5. Colorizing with Color Overlay
      5m 18s
    6. Stroke and fill opacity
      5m 48s
    7. Creating a multicolor Outer Glow
      9m 22s
    8. Introducing Bevel and Emboss
      7m 48s
    9. Contour and Texture
      4m 35s
    10. Simulating liquid reflections
      6m 28s
    11. Saving layer styles
      6m 18s
    12. Applying and appending styles
      4m 36s
    13. Saving and swapping style presets
      3m 16s
    14. The five effect helpers
      3m 47s
    15. Blending the effect before the layer
      5m 1s
    16. Colorizing a signature
      3m 30s
    17. Clipping an effect with a mask
      4m 5s
  11. 1h 50m
    1. Welcome to the digital darkroom
      1m 46s
    2. Opening Camera Raw in the Bridge
      5m 44s
    3. The Camera Raw 5 interface
      4m 39s
    4. Adjusting the white balance
      5m 0s
    5. Finessing and saving changes
      7m 55s
    6. Using the White Balance tool
      2m 43s
    7. Working with the Exposure controls
      7m 34s
    8. Straightening and cropping a raw image
      5m 53s
    9. Applying automatic exposure adjustments
      6m 6s
    10. Exposure warnings
      5m 44s
    11. Clarity, Vibrance, and Saturation
      4m 47s
    12. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      3m 33s
    13. Dodging with the Adjustment brush
      9m 24s
    14. Tone Curve adjustments
      6m 54s
    15. Using the Spot Removal tool
      2m 48s
    16. Removing noise and sharpening detail
      4m 5s
    17. Adjusting HSL values
      4m 18s
    18. Adjusting luminance, color by color
      4m 14s
    19. Black and white and split toning
      5m 16s
    20. Camera Raw tips and tricks
      7m 32s
    21. Correcting JPEG and TIFF images
      4m 42s
  12. 57s
    1. Until next time
      57s

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