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Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, updated for CS5, follows internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland as he dives into the workings of Photoshop. He explores such digital-age wonders as the Levels and Curves commands, edge-detection filters, advanced compositing techniques, vector-based text, the Liquify filter, and Camera Raw. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, and enhancing colors without harming the original image. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisite: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
I've gone ahead and saved my changes as Color noise defeated.psd, so called because we did manage to utterly and completely defeat the color noise inside this image. But we've still got lots of luminance noise left over. It's found inside the 16_smooth folder. In this exercise, we're going to attack the luminance noise globally across the entire image. Then in the next exercise, we'll relegate our modifications to just the shadows. So, what I'd like you to do is make sure the color noise layer is selected, then press Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on the Mac.
I'm going to call this duplicate layer lum noise, like so. Then I'll click OK. Notice I am working from that color noise layer. I'm just keeping the original image in the background in case I want to refer to it later. So don't duplicate the background image in other words, duplicate color noise to build on it. So now we've got a luminance noise layer, the last filter we applied was Reduce Noise. It should appear here at the top of the Filter menu. It does. So I can bring it back up by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F if I want to, or Command+Option+F on the Mac.
Then I'm going to reduce that Reduce Color Noise value to 0 because we don't want to reduce the color noise any further. So we'll zero out that value. Now I want to maximize the Strength value in order to get rid of as much luminance noise as possible. Now, depending on your image, you may find that a lower Strength value works for you, but in the case of this image here, we need the maximum strength possible. Notice it does make a big difference. This is before and this is after. I'm going to go ahead and zoom-in, so that we can see that up close and personal here.
Here's the indigenous luminance noise inside the image. As soon as I release, this is what happens to it. So we are smoothing over those details quite nicely. We do still have some noise artifacts showing up here and there. If that bothers us inside certain details, there are ways to get around it. I'll show you what those are. But I'm going to go ahead and scroll down just so I can check out some other details inside the image. Notice that we're doing a pretty darn good job of smoothing away those problems. The next step is to go ahead and increase this Preserve Details option.
I recommend you do so very slowly. You can press for example Shift+Up-arrow in order to restore a lot of details inside the image, and details by the way are neighboring pixels that have pretty darn different luminance levels associated with them. So where there is a lot of difference in luminance levels between neighboring pixels, you will no longer smooth them, and where the neighboring pixels are pretty similar to each other, you will continue to smooth them. Now if you take this value all the way up, you're pretty much going to lose all the smoothing you're applying with the Strength value.
So I don't recommend you go very high with Preserve Details. In fact, I regard 10% as a very high value because we're bringing out a lot where this image is concerned. I might even take it down a little bit. If you're going to arrow down like I am, I am just pressing the Down-arrow key, not Shift, so I'm reducing this value in 1% increments. Just keep an eye on that preview there in order to make sure you like what you see. So once I get it down to about let's say 7% where this image is concerned, I might scroll around inside the image to make sure that all the good details like these fine hairs on the creatures leg, make sure those are holding up.
But we really are just concerned with the details inside the shadows, because we're going to mask away the rest of the effect in the next exercise. Now of course, once you've done your thing, you'll think all right, time to click OK. Don't! Because again, we've got the Settings, you're going to wipe out those Settings. They'll no longer be Color noise 70 %, if you click OK, they will now be these settings here, because Photoshop is constantly updating the settings when you click on the OK button which is madness in my opinion, but that's the way it works.
So you want to click on the floppy disk once again. This time, I'm going to go ahead and call these guys, let's say Lum noise for example and I'll say 10/7% like so and then I'll click OK. Then of course I will choose those settings from the Settings pop-up menu. Then I will click on the OK button in order to apply the filter. Just to give you a sense of what we were able to do in that step, I'll zoom-in once again on this gargantuan scary butterfly and then Alt+Click or Option+Click on the eyeball in front of Background.
This is the original version of the image. This is the image with the color noise removed and finally, this is the image without the luminance noise; still needs to be massed however so that we don't lose any of the good detail inside the image. For example, right now these little light hairs, or whatever they are, bristles next to the creature's eyeball, they're kind of going away on us. So this is the way those bristles look before which is good. We've got a lot of detail in there and this is how they look now. Thanks to the eradication of the luminance noise.
We have to do something to restore those details, and that something is going to be a layer mask which we'll create in the next exercise.
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