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In those situations where you discover that you have a large area of your photograph that has a lot of noise in it, what you may want to do is zoom in on the area and then go ahead and navigate to your Filter pulldown menu, choose Noise and then Dust & Scratches, and really focus in on the sky. Let's go ahead and take our Radius and Threshold to zero. We're going to bring our Radius up until that sky looks really clean. Threshold comes up to bring back some of the texture there. Again, we want to focus on the sky. Click on Preview. There's our before and after, really successfully removing all of that dust in the sky.
Yet, the problem of course is that we also removed a lot of the bridge. Well, it's actually not that big of a deal, and here's why. We simply click OK in order to apply that. Next, we hold down the Option key on a Mac or Alt key on a PC and then click on the Add Layer Mask icon. From there, press the B key to select the Brush tool or click on it in the Tools panel. Select white, your foreground color. We want to go at 100% Opacity here, and then just start to paint away the small areas of dust.
As you can see here, what I'm doing is I'm removing this dust in the sky incredibly quickly. How is this working? Well, if we turn off the visibility of the Background layer, we can see that I'm just painting in, with this large brush in this case, this area of the sky where the noise has been reduced. That then sits on the background, and it blends in seamlessly where there is some detail that we need to have in there, in other words, the bridge. I can simply make my way around this image, painting all of this new, nice textured sky in without any noise in it.
If there are any areas that are a little bit smaller and more problematic, well, no big deal. Just zoom in on those areas, make your brush a little smaller, and then go ahead and paint away. So we can really get into some of these detailed areas and come up with some phenomenal noise reduction in the sky. So I'm just going to make my way through this portion of the image here and then bring my brush up a little bit bigger to smooth out the sky. Then make my way down here. I think for the most part that's looking really good.
There are a couple of other little problem areas that we'll want to deal with, so let's zoom in on the bridge here. What we can do is start to try to tackle these small little pieces of dust that we see behind the bridge. We're just going to have to be careful that we don't ruin any of the structure of the bridge, so I'm just going to use a nice, small brush and get in there with some detail work. I think that's looking really nice. A couple other areas of detail that we could fix up, but for the most part, it's looking much better. So, let's take a look at our before and after. Here's before. Zoom in so you can see that sky there.
Now, by masking the dust removal into that particular area, here is after.
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