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Reducing luminance and color noise

From: Photoshop CC for Photographers: Sharpening

Video: Reducing luminance and color noise

In this movie, we'll focus in on how we can work with our noise reduction sliders.

Reducing luminance and color noise

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CC for Photographers: Sharpening
Photoshop CC for Photographers: Sharpening

67 video lessons · 4230 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 59s
    1. Welcome
      1m 23s
    2. Raw sharpening in Lightroom or Camera Raw?
      3m 56s
    3. Using the exercise files
      40s
  2. 44m 15s
    1. Lighroom sharpening workflow first steps
      5m 35s
    2. Understanding how the Lightroom Detail controls work
      5m 36s
    3. Reducing luminance and color noise
      5m 47s
    4. Improving details in a portrait
      9m 13s
    5. Improving details in an outdoor photograph
      7m 12s
    6. Sharpening in order to emphasize small textures
      3m 49s
    7. Improving sky details and edge sharpening
      7m 3s
  3. 53m 3s
    1. Selective sharpening with the Adjustment Brush
      10m 19s
    2. Learning Adjustment Brush shortcuts
      4m 15s
    3. Reviewing Adjustment Brush techniques and shortcuts
      7m 36s
    4. Sharpening eyes in a portrait
      6m 44s
    5. Sharpening large areas with the Radial filter
      6m 50s
    6. Improving details with the Graduated filter
      7m 35s
    7. Creating custom presets
      6m 2s
    8. Sharing and installing presets
      3m 42s
  4. 40m 40s
    1. Camera Raw sharpening workflow: First steps
      3m 28s
    2. Understanding how the Camera Raw Detail controls work
      5m 46s
    3. Reducing luminance and color noise
      4m 40s
    4. Improving details in a portrait
      7m 28s
    5. Improving details in an outdoor photograph
      6m 6s
    6. Sharpening in order to emphasize small textures
      3m 48s
    7. Improving sky details and edge sharpening
      9m 24s
  5. 53m 40s
    1. Selective sharpening with the Adjustment Brush
      7m 16s
    2. Working with the Auto Mask option in the Adjustment Brush
      5m 6s
    3. Learning Adjustment Brush shortcuts
      8m 30s
    4. Reviewing Adjustment Brush techniques and shortcuts
      5m 45s
    5. Sharpening eyes in a portrait
      5m 15s
    6. Sharpening large areas with the Radial filter
      7m 4s
    7. Improving details with the Graduated filter
      4m 34s
    8. Further refinements with the Graduated filter
      4m 30s
    9. Creating custom presets
      5m 40s
  6. 49m 5s
    1. Resizing before you sharpen
      4m 37s
    2. Using Unsharp Mask
      8m 21s
    3. Using Smart Sharpen
      6m 5s
    4. Demonstrating how Smart Sharpen works
      4m 23s
    5. Fine-tuning Smart Sharpen with advanced controls
      5m 39s
    6. Applying blending modes to avoid color problems
      5m 9s
    7. Putting it all together: Workflow part one
      5m 57s
    8. Putting it all together: Workflow part two
      6m 42s
    9. A conversation about sharpening controls
      2m 12s
  7. 49m 34s
    1. Applying Camera Raw sharpening as a filter
      4m 41s
    2. Using smart filtering for increased flexibility
      5m 50s
    3. Smart filtering and masking
      4m 54s
    4. Selective sharpening with a hand-painted mask
      6m 0s
    5. Selective sharpening: Advanced shortcut tips
      6m 31s
    6. Using Quick Select and masking to sharpen selectively
      8m 20s
    7. How to sharpen a layered document
      3m 41s
    8. Fixing a blurry photograph with Shake Reduction
      4m 40s
    9. Shake Reduction: Advanced controls
      4m 57s
  8. 32m 47s
    1. High-pass sharpening essentials
      5m 55s
    2. Smart filter high-pass sharpening
      4m 2s
    3. Smart filter high-pass sharpening continued
      5m 50s
    4. Edge sharpening: Building an alpha channel
      4m 52s
    5. Edge sharpening: Creating the mask
      5m 3s
    6. Using Smart Sharpen in an unlikely way for midtone contrast
      7m 5s
  9. 10m 59s
    1. Recording a sharpening action
      6m 11s
    2. Playing the action for a single file
      2m 18s
    3. Batch sharpening multiple files
      2m 30s
  10. 28m 48s
    1. Sharpening and saving from Camera Raw
      6m 51s
    2. Sharpening and exporting from Camera Raw
      3m 44s
    3. Output sharpening from Lightroom
      5m 26s
    4. Final output sharpening from Photoshop for print
      7m 17s
    5. Photoshop sharpening for web, mobile, and displays
      5m 30s
  11. 31s
    1. Next steps
      31s

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