2007 SLP Curriculum Guide #11 Fixing Noise
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Noise is created by digital cameras, particularly if the lighting settings are not as accurate as needed. If you Zoom a photograph one can then see the noise more clearly. Noise appears as little dots of varying colors. Thus, eliminating noise from photographs helps to create a clearer, sharper and better looking picture.

There are a few ways one can use to remove noise. The Noise Removal features are the quickest and as a rule quite good at fixing the noise in a photograph. There are also a couple of techniques one may want to employ as well after they remove the noise.

ONE STEP NOISE REMOVAL

Adjust || One Step Noise Removal

The Adjust || One Step Noise Removal is the easiest and quickest way to remove noise from photographs. Just click on this menu item and in a moment your photograph's noise is gone, at least for the most part. If you zoom your photograph after using this feature you will see that much if not most of the noise is gone and that your photograph is now much smoother in its appearance.

One might need to Sharpen the photograph some and one might need to brighten it as well, dependent upon how the original photograph appears. Often when removing noise one can use this feature first to see if it produces the results wanted.

DIGITAL CAMERA NOISE REMOVAL

Adjust || Digital Camera Noise Removal

Using this feature one has more control over the process of noise removal. The Default Value(s) for the various options produces the same result as the One Step Noise Removal. However, one can control more elements in the process.

For a good review of the various options and what they do, use the Help from the Dialogue box that pops up when activating this feature. One can control what is called 'Noise Correction' by having the process deal with small, medium and large areas of noise. By default the three options are linked. However, one can unlink them (uncheck the Link Detail Sizes check box) and then one can vary the values in each. Lesser values produce lesser noise removal/reduction while higher values produce more reduction/removal of noise.

One can also set the Correction Blend value. Again, lower values are less correction while higher values are more correction with a default value of 70.

One can also Sharpen the picture with the Sharpening Option. Often setting this value will produce a better and more sharpened quality of the result. If one does not use this option, one might then need to independently use one of the Sharpening features.

A very worthwhile option to explore is using the areas that are sampled. In the Preview Box one sees some 'x boxes' which can be moved to various areas of the photograph. Three boxes are automatically set when first activating the dialogue box. One can set up to 10 areas if they want. The more boxes the more areas are sampled in order to develop the removal process.

A more advanced and interesting option is to use the Protect Image Tab. In this dialogue box, one can select a color or in repeated use select additional colors to protect from noise correction. One should explore this option to its fullest as one can keep certain areas/colors from noise correction. As an example, one might want the variations of clothing or a particular object. Use the HELP from the dialogue box to review how to use this tool. Basically using the control key one selects a color from the Review box, can extend its hue by moving the ball toward the center and then can reduce the amount of correction by dragging the red node(s) down in the Protect selected hue range. This option has some very nice ways to reduce noise in certain parts of the picture while maintaining color variations/definitions in other parts of the picture.

TWO OTHER APPROACHES

After using the Noise Removal feature one may again want to zoom the picture and see if there are still some areas where there is noise. Often I will then use the Soften Tool at a lower value for Hardness and sometimes even for Opacity. I also tend to use a small value for size of the brush. Then I go over to areas that I want to smooth even more. Sometimes I will even use this approach on skin areas (not their edges as I don't want to lose some of the sharpness of the facial features).

A final way to remove noise is to use the Smudge Retouch Tool with very low values for Hardness and Opacity and brush size. Then very very carefully I will smudge very lightly using very small strokes to preserve the original shades of a color. This technique does take a bit of practice so as to not over smudge and lose detail.

COMMENTS

One of the key's to removing noise is to use the zoom tool so you can see the noise. Then when using the Removal features and/or the Soften and/or Smudge brush one can see clearly what is happening.

Even though I will use the Sharpening Option with the Noise Removal feature, I will often add a sharpening of the final picture using that PSP feature (more discussed in another guide).

Just explore these features and techniques. You will find you can fix a lot of different photographs to make some you thought might not look good to in fact become very nice photographs.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

  1. When completing a tutorial or series of tutorials, and having placed them upon your web page, post in the SLP Forum your completed work using this layout:
    • Name or Screen Name.
    • Web Site URL.
    • Version of PSP using.
    • List of Tutorials completed.
  2. Post your Work:
    • List what you did, feature, options used, values.
    • Indicate steps taken and results.
    • Indicate things you found interesting, worthwhile and any other comments.
  3. Comment on any particular techniques you used or discovered, any particular results you found perhaps by accident and any ideas you have for creating a particular result.
  4. Post any questions and comments in the SLP Forum.
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