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In Photoshop CS5 for Photographers: Camera Raw 6, Chris Orwig provides in-depth training on Camera Raw 6, the CS5 component that enables photographers to open and manipulate images in non-destructive and now even more efficient ways. This course covers the benefits of the raw processing, which makes it possible to more precisely control an image's appearance—exposure, shadow and highlight detail, color balance, sharpness, and more—including new workflow procedures and technical concepts and issues. Learn the entire Camera Raw workflow, from opening and resizing, toning and cropping, to sharpening and saving. Exercise files are included with the course.
Now that we know a little bit about Noise Reduction, let's go ahead and take a look at how we can reduce noise and also sharpen our photographs. First, let's navigate to the Detail panel. Let's do that by way of that shortcut. It's Command+Option+3 on a Mac. That's Ctrl+Alt+3 on a PC. Next, let's zoom in to 100% on this photograph of a fashion shoot. Let's double-click the Zoom tool in order to zoom in on the image. Then let's press the Spacebar key to click and drag. And because we double-clicked on the Zoom tool, it took this image to 100%.
Now, here, one of the things that we can see is that there's quite a bit of luminosity and color noise in the background. One of the reasons why Noise Reduction and Sharpening are grouped together is because when we reduce noise, we are essentially softening the image. And then what we can do is add some Sharpening in order to compensate for that, or to add just a little bit of Sharpening, just because the file needs it. Yet sometimes, when we sharpen, we then exaggerate or add a bit of noise. So then we need to bounce back to our Noise Reduction.
We kind of do this back and forth dance between these two sets of controls in order to come up with some good results. What we know so far about Noise Reduction is that if we increase our Luminance amount, what we can do is really remove all the luminosity variants. Now, a lot of times we then need to add a little bit of color Noise Reduction. Already, this image is looking a ton better. We can of course dial in the appropriate amount of detail for that Luminance Noise Reduction. I want a little bit less detail here, little bit more Noise Reduction.
Then I will add a little bit of contrast, just to bring up the dimension or the shape. You will notice though that as you increase these different controls, you can bring back some more color. Let me exaggerate this for a second. Here you can see now my background, if we zoom in on it perhaps, you can see there's just a little bit of color variance here, which wasn't there when my contrast was lower. Now, of course it's going to be tough to see this in this movie, but you will have to look on your own images. So just if ever you notice that you bring something back, either with your Detail or with your Contrast slider, just go ahead and increase the Color amount a little bit more until it looks good. All right.
We will press the Spacebar key to realign that. Well, now that I have done this, I want to look at my before and after. I will do so by pressing the P key. Here we have our before and then our after. While this looks good in regards to noise, the image has become too soft. So I need to work on the Sharpening of the file. Here we have a number of different controls: Amount, Radius, Detail, and Masking. One of the things we will probably do first is we will increase the overall Amount or intensity of the Sharpening.
As we do that, we can see that these edges, or the edge detail, is becoming more prominent. We will also notice that it's starting to exaggerate some more of the noise. All right. Well, what about Radius? Well, for most images you are going to have a Radius less than 3. It's going to depend on the type of details that you have in your photographs. What this does is it extends the Sharpening out from a particular edge. So let's take a look at a lower Radius amount versus a high Radius amount. Take a look at the edge here on the top. I will zoom in on that.
Again, here's a low Radius. You can see the edge is pretty tight, and then here's a high Radius. It's extending out a little bit further there. So again, typically, we are going to want a pretty low Radius there. All right. I will double-click the Zoom tool, take it back to 100%. What about Detail? Well, Detail is really interesting! This will sharpen small details. And similar to this Detail slider, that if we drag to the left, that means less Detail. This slider works that same way. Drag it to the left, and we can see that those small Details now aren't sharpened.
Drag it all the way to the right. You can see that, yes, I am bringing Sharpening into the little tiny details, the texture in the file. So a lot of times what you will do is with people, you are going to have almost 0 amount of Detail, or a really low amount. With architecture or landscapes, you might crank that up a little bit. Next, we can increase this Masking amount in order to limit the Sharpening to particular areas. What this will do is it will slowly look at our image and just bring the Sharpening back to the edges. So as we increase Masking, the Sharpening is more focused on edge detail.
As we decrease that slider, it's more focused on the entire image. So here, I want to bring up just the Sharpening on the edges, so I will increase my Masking amount. Now, as we increase this Masking amount, and as it focuses more on the edges, we can also probably add a touch more of Sharpening here, in order to bring back some of those details. So far so good. Let's see how we are doing. We will press the P key. Here we have our before and now our after. So at this juncture, the image isn't soft, but we have the noise reduced.
Let's zoom in a little further, so you can see this. Here we have our before, and then now our after. So we were able to almost bring back all of that edge detail, a nice Sharpening effect that we had in the original file, that was softened once we did our Noise Reduction. So in this case, we have some really nice Detail, we have some really nice Noise Reduction, and this image is good to go. The only thing we might want to do is perhaps add just a touch more Detail Sharpening perhaps, just a point or two, maybe a little but more Sharpening if we want to bring some of that up.
Then here we have it, our before, and then after. Let's zoom back to 100%. We can do so by double-clicking the Zoom tool. Let's just click and pan around the image, so we can see a couple more details here. And then one more time, click on that Preview check box, before and after. That's some phenomenal Noise Reduction and Sharpening. I can say that because the Noise Reduction and the Sharpening inside of this latest version of Adobe Camera Raw is so much better than the previous version. Previously, the Sharpening and Noise Reduction became a little bit painterly.
What they have done is they have really rewritten how this works. What you will soon discover as you use this is it will help you come up with images that look just a ton better than they did previously in other versions of Camera Raw. So if you haven't yet experimented with these different controls, at this juncture, here's what I recommend. Go ahead and open up one of your own images and take what we have learned here in these last couple of movies and see if you can apply that to your own photographs, so that you can really start to become familiar with some of these controls and how they work.
Then once you spent a couple of minutes working on one of your own images, go ahead and rejoin me as we continue to dig into how we can work with these controls in even more efficient and effective ways.
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