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HDR shadow noise

Camairish 12 1.4k Scotland
7 Apr 2012 11:11AM
I'm using HDR (Nik HDR Efex/LR) to produce images of a church interior - 5 RAW files 1 stop apart each. Is there any method of reducing the noise (red dots really) present in the deeply shaded rafters areas?

The forum search threw up a couple of threads but there several years old so wondered if anyone had fresh suggestions?

Many thanks,


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Nick_w Plus
11 4.3k 99 England
7 Apr 2012 11:35AM
Noise is always an issue with HDR, you can improve it by using more images. Tho the more you try to reveal shadow area, the worse it gets.

Your using Nik filters can't you use selective NR?
ade_mcfade 14 15.2k 216 England
7 Apr 2012 11:39AM
NIK DeFine is pretty good at zapping those areas -= go to Manual mode and select the noisy bits, that tells it what to work on.

then you can either use control points (which I never do) or mask the de-noised layer so just the bits that needed noise reduction get zapped.... can end up with a painterly effect otherwise
7 Apr 2012 11:46AM
in my days of HDR i used to use Imagenomic Noiseware predominantly on skies which is where most of the nosie tended to creep in. Not sure how much it is but still use it from time to time on my portrait stuff. Definitely a great noise reduction program though

Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
7 Apr 2012 11:56AM
I also used to use 'Noiseware,' (in my pre-Lightroom days) and was quite happy with it.
You'll need to be very careful though because it's very easy, far too easy, in fact, to overdo it.
Camairish 12 1.4k Scotland
7 Apr 2012 2:17PM
Thanks everyone - I'll give the 2 week free trial of Nik DeFine a try Ade.

User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
7 Apr 2012 2:18PM
If you are getting excessive noise in the deep ahadow areas of an HDR image, it does suggest that you needed another one or two images at the "overexposed" end of your HDR sequence.

Basically, that type of noise creeps in when you try to pull detail out of underexposed parts of the image.

When deciding how many - and at what EV increment - exposures to make for your HDR sequence, pay particular attention to the histogram. Make sure that the "darks" in your most overexposed variant are at least one-third of the way up from the left side of the histogram and that the "lights" of your most underexposed variant don't go beyond one-third of the way back from the right side.

With HDREfexPro you don't normally need to have your increments less than 2EV and I find that, for most subjects, a 5-exposure sequence at 2EV increments gives me enough spread.
User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
7 Apr 2012 2:21PM
...by the way Ian, do you know that, in LR4, you can apply noise reduction to selected parts of the image. You might get away with that if there is not too much detail in the noisy deep shadows that you want to exploit.
Camairish 12 1.4k Scotland
7 Apr 2012 3:15PM
Thanks leftforum - I was taking 1 stop increments and you're correct, the affected areas are on image groups with not enough overexposure. Fantastic advice re the histogram - I'll employ this method next time I try.

Thanks again - Ian.
Dave_Canon 11 1.4k United Kingdom
8 Apr 2012 8:24PM
Fully agree with what has been said. For church interiors you need 5 exposures two stops apart (Raw). In some extreme cases you may even need 7. It is definitely best to avoid the noise rather than have to compensate for it. Also do bear in mind that it is OK to have some darker areas (shadows) i.e. retain a little realism.


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