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You know most of the images that are captured digitally will need some sort of noise reduction. Some images more, some images less. Well, in this particular case if we zoom in on this image, one of the things that we are going to notice is that there are quite a bit of these artifacts there in the background. We can see that in the sky. So let's take a look at one technique that we can use in order to reduce the noise in a large area like in this image in the entire sky background here. Well here is how we are going to do it. We are going to first convert this layer for Smart Object.
We can do so by right-clicking or Ctrl+ clicking on the layer and then selecting Convert to Smart Object. Next, what I want to do is apply a filter. The filter that I want to apply to this image is called Surface Blur. So let's zoom in on this image so we can really see the background here. We can zoom in on the image by pressing Command+Plus on a Mac or Ctrl+Plus on a PC. Next step is going to be to navigate to our Filter pulldown menu and then to select Blur and choose Surface Blur.
Now, what we want to do here is we are going to dial in our Radius and our Threshold so that what we can do is bring up our Radius so that the artifacts in the background disappear. And then work with the Threshold as well in order to have a nice clean and smooth background. Well, the only problem is that the background looks great, but the cyclist doesn't look very good. If I click on this Preview icon we can see the before and then the after. Again, there is some problems with the cyclist because he has become blurred as well, which we don't want.
Well, how then can we limit this filter? Well, let me show you. We'll simply click OK here in order to apply that. Next thing that we are going to do is to turn off the visibility of the Blur. Zoom out. Once we zoom out, we can say okay what I really want to do is apply this just to the sky. So we are going to use a tool, which is called the Magic Wand. Select the Magic Wand tool, and what we need to do here is make sure Contiguous is turned on. Make sure we have a high Radius verses a low Radius. For example, if it's low like this and we click, it's only going to select a portion of this sky.
On the other hand, if we crank this up to 25 or 26 or so and then click, we should have a pretty good selection of the sky. Yet of course one of the problems is that if we zoom we will notice that we have the sky, but we don't have these gaps here and here in a couple of other areas. Well to add those, hold down the Shift key and then click in those areas in order to add that to the selection. I'll go ahead and do this in a couple of these different areas here and also around the spokes.
All right, I think that will work pretty well. All right. Well now that we have this nice selection, what we can do is we can create a mask on this Smart Filter layer. So I'll go ahead and click in the Smart Filter layer mask and then we are going to navigate to Edit > Fill, and we will fill this with black. We'll choose from this pulldown menu Black and click OK. Now once we've done that, we've actually one the exact opposite of what we want. But remember that's no big deal. Let me show you why. We simply go to Select and choose Deselect, so we don't have a selection any more.
And then with this mask still active, we choose Invert. What that does for us, it then says okay, allow all of this area to be affected, but don't affect the cyclist. So now when we turn on our Surface Blur, what we'll see is, if we zoom in a little bit, we'll see that we now have this background area affected. And we can turn this on and off. You can see our before and then after, where this background area is now being affected. Now, you may discover that there are few areas that might have been missed in some of our selections.
For example, let me move around my image here, see if there is any area I need to clean up. Oh yeah, a little bit right here. I missed this gap in the cycle right there. Well, no big deal. What I can do is make a selection of that area. Click back to my mask. And then, in this case what we want to is we want to paint with white with our Brush tool. And we can paint on that effect into that little tiny area. Let's move to Select and choose Deselect so we can see our overall before and after here. Let's take a look at our before-and- after and zoom in a little bit further.
Here we have a nice up close look. All right, here we have our overall before and then after, really reducing a lot of that background noise. We'll zoom out a little bit so we can see the entire image. And as you can see, one of the ways that you can effectively reduce noise in a large area is by using Surface Blur.
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