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To a greater or lesser degree, almost every digital file needs some sort of noise reduction applied to it, and what typically happens is that when we look at our photograph from a distance, like with this picture, it looks great, it's looks fine. Yet, when we start to zoom in, say by double-clicking the Zoom tool, which will take us to 100%, what we'll soon discover is that there's all sorts of noise. You can see the color noise in the background. Press the Spacebar key and then just click-and-drag around and you see the noise is on the background and also on the subject.
Well how then can we reduce this noise? Well there is a noise reduction filter which we can run in order to get rid of color and also luminance noise. To do that, let's go ahead and convert this layer to a smart object. We'll go to our Filter pulldown menu and choose Convert for Smart Filters. Here we'll go ahead and click OK. Now we can do this either by using a smart object or converting this to smart filters or we can copy the layer, either technique will work. Next we'll go to our Filter pulldown menu, here we're going to go to Noise, and we want to select Reduce Noise.
This will open up our Noise Reduction dialog. I'm just going to position this over the subject, so that it's almost like we have this continuous view or larger preview area. Now here I am going to go ahead and decrease all of these amounts, so at least my overall strength here, and I want to do that, so that we can kind of see how these controls work. Well what Strength does is it allows us to soften things, by increasing that, we're going then remove more of the noise. Yet, here the image looks strange. It maybe difficult for you to see on your monitor, but it's a little bit soft and there's all these weird little color artifacts.
We obviously need to reduce that color noise and you want to bring that up in order to get rid of any artifacts or strange colors. Then we also need to preserve the details. In other words, we need to maintain some of the texture or sharpness of the file. Notice that as I increase this, you'll see that the image, well it becomes much sharper, much more contrast or texture there. This amount really depends on the subject matter, if it's perhaps a beauty or fashion photograph, you're going to want to have this lower. Well here with the picture like this, I want some texture and grid, so I'm going to leave that up a little bit.
Next, we can sharpen some of those details that we may see in a photograph. Why do you need to do that? Well whenever you introduce noise reduction, in a sense, you're softening the image. So here it's an interplay by working with all of these different controls. You slide one and then slide another until you find just the right mix for reducing the noise in your photograph. You'll also want to press the P key to look at your before and after. That allows you to see where the image was. You can see over here and then you can see now the after, and by looking at the before and after what we should see is something which just takes out that noise and doesn't really soften up the image too much.
Here with these settings, this looks pretty good, so we'll go ahead and click OK. The advantage of using smart objects or smart filters, as we've talked about before, is that we can then continually edit these. We can go ahead and double-click this in order to open this up and then we can change these settings if we want to increase or decrease the amount, and then once again just go ahead and click OK in order to apply that. When it comes to working with smart filters, in order to view your before and after, rather than clicking on the eye icon, you probably remember, you click on the icon for the filter.
That way we can see that before and after, and let me zoom in a little bit, so you can see this nice and up close. Here's our before and then we'll click on that again and let that render out here for a second and then we'll be able to see the final results as you can see now.
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