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Smoothing over high-contrast noise

From: Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Smoothing over high-contrast noise

In this movie, I'll show you what to do if a single pass of Reduce Noise doesn't quite get rid of all of the noise inside your image. For example, this particular photograph contains a sufficient amount of noise, that even after about the biggest application of Reduce Noise you could possibly apply, we're still seeing a bunch of noise inside the midtones as well as inside the shadow detail. Well, there're a couple of things you can do. One is you can take advantage of the Advanced settings associated with a Reduce Noise filter; and two, you can apply one of the old-school noise reduction functions, such as Dust & Scratches.

Smoothing over high-contrast noise

In this movie, I'll show you what to do if a single pass of Reduce Noise doesn't quite get rid of all of the noise inside your image. For example, this particular photograph contains a sufficient amount of noise, that even after about the biggest application of Reduce Noise you could possibly apply, we're still seeing a bunch of noise inside the midtones as well as inside the shadow detail. Well, there're a couple of things you can do. One is you can take advantage of the Advanced settings associated with a Reduce Noise filter; and two, you can apply one of the old-school noise reduction functions, such as Dust & Scratches.

So let's start things off by double-clicking on Reduce Noise to bring up the Filters dialog box and I'm going to zoom in on my image as well, so I can see it at 200%. Notice as I click and drag inside the image, I am seeing the unmodified version of the photograph as it appeared before I applied Reduce Noise in the previous movie. All right, now I am going to click on the Advanced radio button to add an additional panel called Per Channel. Go ahead and click on it and drag inside that black-and-white preview right there in order to see the appearance of the active channel, which by default is red.

So let's go ahead and start things off by just cranking up these values here. I'll crank the Strength value up to 10 and I'll take Preserve Details down to 0%, and I will do this on the channel by channel basis. So I will now switch to Green, go ahead and crank it up to 10, take its Preserve Details value down to 0%, and you can see now that we're applying additional applications of both of these values to each one of these channels so far. And we only have Strength and Preserve Details available to us because each channel is a grayscale image.

There is no such thing as Per Channel color noise. All right, so now I am going to switch over to Blue and I'll take its Strength value up to 10 and I'll take Preserve Details down to 0%. And we're getting a very goopy looking image indeed. We have done a great job of getting rid of the noise, but we're also doing a fantastic job of getting rid of the sharp details. So let's go ahead and take the Preserve Details values up a little bit. I'll take the value for the Blue channel up to 5% because blue makes a smallest contribution to detail inside of an RGB photo.

Then I'll switch to Red and I'll take its value let's say up to 25%, and then I'll switchover to Green which makes the biggest contribution in detail and I'll take its Preserve Details value up to 40%. Now the only way you're going to get a sense of the contribution made by your Per Channel adjustments is to go ahead and click OK, because whether you turn off the Preview checkbox or click and hold inside of the Image Preview here, you're seeing the uncorrected version with no Reduce Noise applied.

So I'll go ahead and click OK, not only to update my image, but also to update my High noise image settings. And we'll see this version of the image. Now you're going to have to watch very carefully to see the difference between the before and after. If I press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z, this is the before version of the image; if I press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z again, this is the after version, so just a little less noise inside of some of the details such as the eye and the midtones, underneath this leg, and so forth. If you want to make a bigger difference which, for this image, we do.

And you want to try one of the old-school noise reduction filters. By going up to the Filter menu, choosing Noise, and either choosing Median or Dust & Scratches, and they both work very similarly. I am going to choose Dust & Scratches because it offers two options instead of just one. If this were Median, we would have no threshold and we would just have this Radius value. And what it does whether we're working in Dust & Scratches or Median is it averages neighboring pixels inside of a radius around an edge. So if I take the value up to six pixels we're scrubbing in six pixel circles around the edges and averaging the results.

So we're gooping up the image tremendously of course as you can see here. Now what I am going to do is scroll down to a lower region of the image. This is a region of that green rock underneath one of the legs. This threshold value which is what you need to Dust & Scratches, this is the only thing that differentiates it from the Median Command. What it does is it preserves the low contrast details inside the image. So for example, if I set the threshold to 40 levels, what I am saying if two neighboring pixels or 40 luminance levels are less different from each other leave them alone which is why we're bringing back the noise, but if the two neighboring pixels are 40 or more levels different from each other, then go ahead and smooth them away according to the radius value.

So we're preserving the low contrast noise and we're getting rid of the high contrast noise along with the detail. And as a result you can see that we have some weird edges around the butterfly's eyes. So I am going to take that threshold value down to 20 levels in order to get rid of some of those problems, not all of them, we'll take care of the rest of them in the next movie. But the great thing here is, for purposes of this image, because it does have so much high contrast noise, it allows us to balance the noise inside the image. So we're preserving some of the low contrast noise, we're getting rid of a lot of the high contrast noise, and that ends up creating a kind of parity.

All right, now I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept the results of this filter and I will zoom out as well to 100%. Scroll back up to the good detail inside the image so you can see that we've brought back some of the edges, we've messed up other edges, we've completely gotten the rid of the hair on the insect's legs. So if you turn Dust & Scratches off, you can see after a brief progress message, this is the image as it appeared before Dust & Scratches, and then if I press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on the Mac, this is the image as it appears now.

So that's how you smooth away the worst of the noise inside of a high noise photograph. It does come at the expense of the detail however, which is why you need to reinstate the detail using an Edge Mask, and I'll show you how that works in the next movie.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced
Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

124 video lessons · 19112 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 30m 4s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 19s
    2. Loading the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      6m 5s
    3. Remapping your Macintosh OS shortcuts
      3m 4s
    4. Adjusting a few general preferences
      4m 3s
    5. Using the visual HUD color picker
      2m 2s
    6. The interface and performance settings
      5m 31s
    7. Adjusting the color settings in Photoshop
      7m 0s
  2. 47m 0s
    1. Smart Objects
      1m 36s
    2. Three ways to place a Smart Object
      3m 6s
    3. Copying and pasting from Adobe Illustrator
      4m 11s
    4. Transforming and warping a vector object
      4m 48s
    5. Blending a Smart Object into a photograph
      3m 10s
    6. Blurring with a nested Smart Filter
      4m 57s
    7. Editing a Smart Object in Illustrator
      3m 20s
    8. Creating "true clones"
      3m 50s
    9. Duplicating a group of clones
      2m 53s
    10. Breaking the Smart Object link
      2m 53s
    11. Styling and blending Smart Objects
      2m 44s
    12. Editing originals; updating clones
      3m 41s
    13. Removing people from a scene with Median
      5m 51s
  3. 29m 59s
    1. Luminance meets sharpening
      1m 2s
    2. Correcting for lens distortion
      4m 39s
    3. Introducing Shadows/Highlights
      3m 54s
    4. Mitigating halos with Radius values
      4m 19s
    5. Enhancing the effects of Midtone Contrast
      3m 18s
    6. Creating a "bounce" with Gaussian Blur
      3m 29s
    7. Sharpening on top of blur
      2m 47s
    8. Masking a group of Smart Filters
      2m 53s
    9. Reducing the density of a layer mask
      3m 38s
  4. 49m 10s
    1. Using Curves
      2m 40s
    2. Introducing the Curves adjustment
      7m 36s
    3. Adding and editing points on a curve
      6m 27s
    4. Winning Curves tips and tricks
      8m 12s
    5. Correcting a challenging image
      6m 33s
    6. Selecting and darkening highlights
      4m 39s
    7. Neutralizing colors and smoothing transitions
      6m 6s
    8. The new automatic Curves function
      6m 57s
  5. 1h 31m
    1. Camera Raw
      2m 11s
    2. Opening and editing multiple images
      8m 1s
    3. Correcting white balance
      4m 8s
    4. The revamped Exposure controls
      8m 8s
    5. Working with archival images
      7m 54s
    6. The Spot Removal and Graduated Filter tools
      6m 4s
    7. Painting edits with the Adjustment Brush
      7m 23s
    8. Tone Curves (and why you don't need them)
      5m 57s
    9. Straighten, crop, and geometric distortions
      5m 17s
    10. Applying manual lens corrections
      5m 14s
    11. Vignette, chromatic aberration, and fringe
      6m 49s
    12. Selective hue, saturation, and luminance
      6m 36s
    13. Working with JPEG and TIFF images
      6m 36s
    14. Camera Raw Smart Objects
      6m 48s
    15. Editing Camera Raw images from Bridge
      4m 24s
  6. 32m 30s
    1. Duotones
      1m 23s
    2. Creating a professional-quality sepia tone
      4m 18s
    3. Introducing the Gradient Map adjustment
      5m 42s
    4. Loading a library of custom gradients
      3m 48s
    5. Creating a custom quadtone
      5m 48s
    6. Colorizing with blend modes and Opacity
      4m 6s
    7. Creating a faux-color, high-key effect
      7m 25s
  7. 1h 6m
    1. Noise vs. Details
      1m 28s
    2. Introducing the Reduce Noise filter
      7m 29s
    3. Correcting a noisy photo
      5m 33s
    4. Smoothing over high-contrast noise
      5m 50s
    5. Protecting details with an edge mask
      4m 52s
    6. Adjusting overly saturated shadows
      3m 35s
    7. Correcting with High Pass and Lens Blur
      3m 45s
    8. Brushing away blur and sharpening
      6m 42s
    9. Creating texture by adding noise
      5m 28s
    10. The Camera Raw Detail panel
      7m 8s
    11. Correcting noise and detail in Camera Raw
      8m 10s
    12. Adding noise grain and vignetting effects
      6m 47s
  8. 44m 30s
    1. Blur Gallery
      1m 36s
    2. Creating depth-of-field effects in post
      5m 29s
    3. Modifying your Field Blur settings
      4m 57s
    4. Editing and exporting a Field Blur mask
      6m 15s
    5. Adding a synthetic light bokeh
      3m 52s
    6. Using the Selection Bleed option
      7m 29s
    7. Creating a radial blur with Iris Blur
      6m 59s
    8. Creating "fake miniatures" with Tilt-Shift
      4m 35s
    9. Combining multiple Blur Gallery effects
      3m 18s
  9. 1h 34m
    1. Blend Modes
      1m 16s
    2. Using the Dissolve mode
      9m 47s
    3. Multiply and the darken modes
      8m 30s
    4. Screen and the lighten modes
      8m 10s
    5. Cleaning up and integrating a bad photo
      6m 38s
    6. Blending inside blend modes
      6m 55s
    7. Overlay and the contrast modes
      6m 53s
    8. A few great uses for the contrast modes
      9m 7s
    9. Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, and Divide
      5m 5s
    10. Capturing the differences between images
      4m 18s
    11. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      4m 45s
    12. Blend mode shortcuts
      6m 21s
    13. The Fill Opacity Eight
      8m 57s
    14. Using the luminance-exclusion slider bars
      8m 8s
  10. 44m 20s
    1. Color Range
      1m 14s
    2. Introducing the Color Range command
      7m 24s
    3. Selecting a complex image with Color Range
      5m 49s
    4. Refining a selection in the Quick Mask mode
      7m 4s
    5. Viewing a mask with or without its image
      4m 24s
    6. Painting directly inside an alpha channel
      5m 39s
    7. Correcting fringes around a masked layer
      8m 5s
    8. Turning a layer into a knockout
      4m 41s
  11. 59m 43s
    1. Refine Edges
      1m 28s
    2. Laying down a base layer mask
      6m 49s
    3. Introducing the Refine Edge/Mask command
      7m 57s
    4. Edge detection and Smart Radius
      4m 42s
    5. Using the Refine Radius tool
      7m 31s
    6. The transformative power of Refine Edge
      3m 37s
    7. Perfecting a mask with overlay painting
      10m 58s
    8. Combining Quick Selection with Refine Mask
      10m 37s
    9. Bolstering and integrating hair
      6m 4s
  12. 1h 18m
    1. The Pen tool
      1m 50s
    2. Pixel-based masking versus the Pen tool
      6m 45s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided path outline
      6m 57s
    4. Moving, deleting, and adding anchor points
      6m 10s
    5. Dragging control handles to modify curves
      5m 27s
    6. Converting a path outline to a vector mask
      5m 36s
    7. Customizing a geometric shape
      5m 53s
    8. How to position points and control handles
      7m 7s
    9. Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool
      8m 7s
    10. Duplicating and scaling a vector mask
      5m 21s
    11. Cusp points and the Rubber Band option
      6m 21s
    12. Setting anchor points in the pasteboard
      6m 8s
    13. Using the Convert Point tool
      6m 43s

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