Topic Author
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Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2003 11:04 am

Advanced Noise Reduction And Sharpening

Tue Oct 12, 2004 10:43 am

Went out for about two hours yesterday, ultimately making a complete photographic ass out of myself.

After some brief sunshine, I was forced to deal with overcast skies, reflections on the tinted and dirty windows at LGA (triple threat!), and dodgy AF and shutterspeeds with the 20D/100-400.

Mediocre results with mediocre traffic, so I wasn't about to cry over spilled milk. But of course! Spirit's new A321 comes in on La Guardia's Expressway Visual to 31 and I shoot off a million and one frames. Two are decent. I consider myself lucky.

One's currently in the queue, but I'm not exactly proud of it. Here's a 100% crop of the original, showing the results of ISO400 and the aforementioned conditions.


Now, on to something a bit more relevant to the subject matter.

I've tried to sharpen the image while keeping the noise at bay. As much of a paradox as that may be, the results from USM, FocalBlade, ColorWasher, and occasionally NeatImage were better than nothing. I think the results were acceptable.

If the grain were monochromatic, I wouldn't have as much of a problem. But the multi-colored sprinkles adorning my photo make it look horrible. I realized that most of this noise was in the Red channel (of RGB), so I just applied sharpening to the Blue and Green channels in hopes of not bringing out as much noise. Mixed results.

The photo and link above won't last for long--I have no way to host it. If you want the image (100% crop), email me. Maybe you'd be so kind as to host it!  Smile

In any event, is there another way I can approach this, and keep noise levels down while having pronounced details? That's asking way too much, I know, given the condition of the original. Better luck next time, I guess.

What the FUTT?
Posts: 234
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RE: Advanced Noise Reduction And Sharpening

Tue Oct 12, 2004 10:59 am


My suggestion: Shoot in Tv mode with the longest exposure you can handle. I managed a few 1/8th shots at Universal Studios (night-time) and they were virtually noiseless without a flash. I could be completely wrong, though... might just be luck. Big grin

There is a fine line between a picture and a photo. The latter seems to be disappearing.
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RE: Advanced Noise Reduction And Sharpening

Tue Oct 12, 2004 3:14 pm

I have one word for you: RAW.

Well, maybe another word: tripod.

Nuttin' much you can do about the sharpness on this, I'm afraid. It's a soft shot. Shows the tell-tale signs of basic, run of the mill camera shake. I'm guessing you resized it down for submission and you could probably get acceptable sharpness at about half size or below. How do you normally hold your camera? It looks like it just wasn't steady enough on this shot.

Noise reduction's no big deal though. I just ran this through NeatImage and got pretty perfect results with no loss of detail (applying some very conservative sharpening at the same time). One thing about NeatImage is that it can look like it's blurring the image when it's really not, depending on how you've set it up... the image is blurry as it is, so after the noise is gone you're just seeing it how it really is. That may be why you're not totally happy with the results. If you look at the actual details when you run NI on this, though, you should be able to get rid of the noise pretty much completely without actually losing any of the smallest details. But some amount of noise can actually hold together a soft shot like this - obviously not for submission here, but sometimes I actually prefer to leave my photos noisy if they're not tack sharp. It sort of hides the blurriness.

Using RAW mode, though, you can get a shot like this and then fix it later without raising noise levels (in fact, lowering them as you simultaneously sharpen). You can also take shots at a lower ISO and then adjust the exposure after the fact on your PC. It's magic!
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
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RE: Advanced Noise Reduction And Sharpening

Tue Oct 12, 2004 5:11 pm

Actually Brian, there IS a way you can effectively make noise monochromatic  Smile

I don't have PS in front of me now, so I may make an error in the exact steps, but you'll get the idea.

1 - Select Filter -> Noise -> median
2 - choose a radius which results in no clear detail being discernable - image should have a "plasticy" look - click OK
3 - Before doing ANYTHING else, go to Edit -> Fade Median Blur
4 - you'll see a scroll box - near the end of this is an option "color" - choose this and OK

Your image should now reappear as before, but with the colour noise tranformed into something looking more like film grain  Smile

Note that if you do anything else between steps 2 & 3 the "fade" option will not be available to you, and you'll have to start again.


Colin K. Work, Pixstel
Topic Author
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Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2003 11:04 am

RE: Advanced Noise Reduction And Sharpening

Wed Oct 13, 2004 2:52 am

Thanks to the (newbie) screener who bounced it back for badquality and baddark. Not soft! Woo.

Yeah, I promised myself that I would reserve the large file size of RAW shots for times when I knew I would need it--apparently, that didn't blow over too well. Had some trouble getting them to show up on the computer last time I actually shot a frame in RAW. Next time, I suppose.

If you didn't settle for the auto filter whatshamacallit with NeatImage, or the 'remove only half of grain' stuff, I'd be interested as to how you put the image through and got acceptable noise. Maybe it's because you only used the 100% crop, so there wasn't an extraordinary amount of detail to be lost. You're right about noise and the aesthetic benefits it has on photos--I couldn't agree more. I just hate the the stuff when it begins to drown out the details.

The only reason I used the higher ISO was for the shutter speed, so if I were to fiddle with the exposure in a RAW shot (at, say, ISO 100), there's a good chance it'd be blurry.

C'est la vie. Or hover the French spell it.

I'm going to try what Colin suggested to make the noise monochromatic, but I did use the median to try and eliminate it all together and--honestly--saw no difference whatsoever.

I'm off.

What the FUTT?

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