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Since the beginning of the photographic art form, photographers have been searching for clearer and sharper images. Now, you don't have to settle for what was captured in camera; you can perfect your photos in post-production. In this course, Chris Orwig tackles sharpening in three programs: Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom, and Photoshop. They all have their strengths, so he shows you how to get the best results from specific sharpening challenges with each one. Chris shows you how to reduce noise and sharpen with sliders and make selective adjustments to certain areas of raw images. In Photoshop, he uses powerful filters like Unsharp Mask and Smart Sharpen to sharpen larger areas of pictures, and masking to paint in sharpening. Last, he shares two advanced techniques, one using high pass sharpening and another that limits sharpening to the edges of your images.
In this movie, we'll focus in on how we can work with our noise reduction sliders. Which allow us to deal with luminance or brightness noise, and also color noise. In order to understand how these sliders work, what I'm going to do is apply some bad sharpening. I want overexaggerate the sharpening, so here I'll click and drag the Sharpening slider to the right. I'll also bring out my detail amount here and then drop down the masking. And the reason I'm doing this is because sometimes when you exaggerate something in Lightroom, or in Photoshop, for that matter, you can teach yourself how the various controls work, which is what we're going to do here.
When it comes to noise reduction, we definitely want to apply a certain amount of luminance and color noise reduction. Almost every image needs at least a little amount of noise reduction. So here this photograph, it's a pretty clean image. It's a good capture, a high end camera, yet still we had some of that noise in the background and we can tackle or get rid of that noise one of two ways. If we drag the Luminance slider to the right, what it will do is it will get rid of the brightness value, or the brightness noise.
Notice the difference here. Here we have all those, that strange brightness variation. But then as we increase that, we start to take off the edge. And you can see how I'm removing the edge. Now it doesn't look great here, because I have such an exaggerated amount of sharpening. Yet still, I'm doing that just for demo purposes, so you can see how it's dealing with little bright artifacts. All right, well what about the Detail slider and Contrast slider, which help us to improve luminance noise reduction? Well, the Detail slider works in a similar way to the Detail slider above.
Do you remember how that one works? A lower detail amount and you'll have less detail in that part of the image. Less detail in the area that you've just corrected. In this case, the luminance noise. As we increase the detail amount, well, it will bring back more detail into that area, which sometimes can help for a more natural look. What about the next slider, the Contrast slider? This will add a little bit more shape to that area. I don't know if you noticed it, but when I increased the Luminance slider all the way up, do you see over in this area how it almost looks like a really bad painting, or just a really bad photograph? Well, the Contrast slider can help add a little bit more, kind of shape or definition to that area.
This slider as well as the Smoothness slider below, it makes small adjustments. With certain images, I've dragged it all the way to one of the two extremes and haven't even seen much of a difference. So, out of the three, this is the one which is less important. But, do keep in mind that if you notice that it's looking a little bit too painterly, you want to bring up a little more contrast to add more definition to the noise reduction. Alright, well, what about this one down here, our Color Noise Reduction slider? Well, in the background over here, I have a lot of color noise.
I want to zoom into that. To do that, I'll go to the Navigator panel, and I'm going to click on a Zoom option, maybe 4:1 would be good, which will allow me to get in really close to the photograph. What I'm hoping you can see is all of the little color noise artifacts that we have back there. Let me go in even closer. I'll go in to an 8:1 view, so you can definitely now see the color noise. Well with the Color Noise slider, as we click and drag this to the right you can see that it just removes that color issue. Then next we have the Detail slider.
We can have less detail in that area or we can drag this to the right and have more detail. Here when I drag up the Detail slider you will notice that if we get too far, it's going to bring back some color noise, so just be careful of that one. Smoothness, this one you won't see much of a difference even at this zoom level, but what it allows you to do, is if you're bringing back some detail you can sort of smooth and soften out some of the details by increasing the smoothness value. Now, when you're working on your own images, you won't need to zoom past 1:1 typically, so you want to go to that 100% view.
Then you'll want to apply some of that color noise reduction in this view, just until you see that noise or color noise disappear. I should also point out that when we reduce noise, in a sense what we're doing is softening the photograph. So after you've applied your noise reduction, you may need to go back and change your overall sharpening levels. So for example, in this case let's say, let's say we had a sharpening amount right about here. And we didn't have any color or luminance noise reduction.
And then we started to bring in a little bit of noise reduction. And we brought that up to there. And we realized, you know what, that looks great in regards to the noise. Now the image is a touch too soft. If that's the case, just bounce back to the amount for your Sharpening slider, and then drag that over a little bit to the right. And that's why the Detail panel contains the Sharpening and the Noise reduction sliders together. Because these two groups of sliders really work in unison with each other, and as you affect one area, as you sharpen the image, you're actually bringing out a little bit more noise.
Then as you reduce the noise, you're actually softening the photograph a little bit. So as you get good with working with these controls, just keep in mind it will be a bit of a back and forth process between working with all of these sliders, in order to improve your photographs. All right, well now that we've deconstructed the panel and these sliders and controls, let's really put this to practice. And let's take a look at a few different scenarios and a few different setting which will help us to then improve our photographs. And let's do that in the next few movies.
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