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Using Neat Image noise removal software - advice needed

Overread 9 4.1k 19 England
22 Jan 2011 5:56PM
Ok so I've got this software package and I've gotten some impressive results with it, but thus far only from my very light tinkering with sliders and not really with any understanding of what I am doing nor the direct effect of what I'm changing is having save what I can get from the preview box.
So I'm out to learn some more about using this software to a better standard than I currently am. For reference my current workflow is outlined below:

1) Open image in Photoshop Elements - process from RAW and then open up in the editor itself.

2) Open the Neat Image plugin interface

3) Use the Device Noise Profile for the 400D for the selected ISO value (profile downloaded of the Neat Image website). Working in colourspace YCrCb (I have no idea what this means)

4) Select an area of the photo for the Rough Noise Analyser - making sure that no warning factors are displayed and that the bar itself has as little/no coloured flecks in it (ie the selection window is clean)

5) Use Auto Fine tune and Auto complete

6) Move to the Noise Filter Settings tab

7) Use Filter and Sharpen Image *

8) Review the preview image and adjust the sharpening sliders experimentally to try and get a pleasing result - again this is another area where I'm operating blind as to what I am doing; I can only see the result.

9) Click apply and the editing is done.

As you can see there are a lot of stages where I am either totally reliant on the auto settings in the software or simply reliant on a level of blind luck as I adjust the settings to get a decent appearance. If anyone has any pointers I'd greatly like to have your input in this matter.

* I am aware that I should strictly speaking use filtering only on the first pass and then run the software again as a final process for sharpening only (and use layermasks in the main area of elements to mask the effect of sharpening off from areas that do not need it).

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Alan_Warriner 12 545 England
23 Jan 2011 12:17AM
Niknut Plus
8 1.8k 76 United Kingdom
23 Jan 2011 11:34AM
Mmmmm, seems a very long winded route to noise reduction ?

I use PSE 8, & to eliminate 'noise' I just go to Filter > Noise > Reduce Noise, & play with the
three adjustments to my satisfaction, & click OK....quick, clean, & easy ?

Hope this helps

Overread 9 4.1k 19 England
24 Jan 2011 12:07AM
Alan - thanks for the reminder to check out the main site for Neat Image - I'll have to give those tutorials another reading through Smile

Nn - the writeup I did sounds complicated and slow, but its really quite fast once you get the hang of it. A little like how RAW sounds really complicated to process until you get right in there and try - and a little like RAW I like Neat Image because it offers me more fine control over the noise filtration itself. I've also found that it does a better job of doing both noise removal and sharpening when done on a shot globally (it without using layermasks to limit the effects to select areas) than most other general editing options so its good for a fast bit of processing for the web.
Niknut Plus
8 1.8k 76 United Kingdom
24 Jan 2011 12:31PM
I'll have a look at 'Neat Image' & see how it compares with APSE8....might be an interesting comparison ?

I'm all for gaining a bit of knowledge, & hopefully extending my PSE skills.

Overread 9 4.1k 19 England
24 Jan 2011 10:50PM
Certainly - though I suspect that Neat Image might only come into its own when dealing with more heavily noisy shots over lighter noise levels or if one wishes to tweak things a little more than the APSE8 noise control allows. I've certainly had good results (elements 6 in my case) with mine, though I just prefer the overall interface and options that neat image affords.
ade_mcfade 14 15.2k 216 England
24 Jan 2011 11:18PM
one thing I've fallen foul of with noise reducers is the "unintentional painterly effect" - when you over-reduce, things can lose all sharpness and become really dreamy

its nice sometimes though

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