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ACR 6.0 Noise Reduction Controls

May 1, 2010 9:25 AM

Ok, need some help wrt the new Noise Reduction controls.

 

Set the D300 to ISO 3200 and fired off a few shots into some dim corners using natural light.  My default settings are the same as ACR except I have Luminance default set to 20.

 

My first reaction is I may not need to use Neat Image much, the default results were good.  I increased Luminance to 30 with all the other settings at default (Luminance Detail = 50, Luminance Contrast = 0, Color = 25, Color Detail = 50) and the image at 100% looked smooth with little loss in detail.

 

I read the help screens as to detail and contrast adjustment effects.  However, I was hard pressed to find much use for these - Luminance Detail just seemed to either add or subtract from the Luminance setting, and Luminance Contrast seemed to have no effect at all.  And Color Detail also has little or no effect, at least to my eyes.

 

I was looking mainly at shadow areas, although I did examine some midtone and hightlight areas as well.  Perhaps somebody in the know could elaborae on how best to use the controls.

 

Richard Southworth

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 1, 2010 11:13 AM   in reply to RASouthworth

    Hi Richard, the effects of those controls become more visible on noisier images. Try using the highest extended ISO offered by your D300 (Hi-1? Hi-2? I forget the limit on the D300.)

     
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    May 2, 2010 12:47 AM   in reply to RASouthworth

    Luma Detail slide is a parameter that sets a balance between what is noise and what is detail.

     

    Try this:

     

    Take a really noisy image, but with fine detail. Crank up both NR amount and detail to 100 — this should wipe out all the noise in some areas and leave strong NR artifacts in others. Now, start to back off detail, and see the artifacts start to go away. Stop when the level of artifacts is acceptable. In the end, drop the amount, until the overall noise level is acceptable to you (i.e. the image doesn't look plastic).

     

    Also, I have a feeling that the detail slider woks differently from 0-50 and from 50 to 100. from 50-100 it works mostly on high frequency noise (finest detail). From 50 downward its effect on the high frequency noise stays pretty much constant, and it wokd mostly on med and low freq. noise (rougher detail). Maybe Eric can shed some light over it (if it's not a trade secret).

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated

    Yes, Detail is effectively the transition point between "what is noise" and "what is detail". As you drag it to the right you are more likely to preserve very fine, close-to-pixel-level detail but you are also likely to leave more spurious pixels (i.e., impulse noise) in your image. As you drag it to the left, you will get a smoother result with less chance of isolated pixel noise, but fine edges (hair, fur, etc.) are also more likely to get smoothed out (perhaps undesirably so). The tradeoff between noise & detail preservation is clearly subjective (user-dependent, content-dependent) and is left in the hands of the user, with the default setting of 50 considered to be a reasonable starting point for many images. There is not an inherent difference in behavior between values < 50 and values > 50.

     

    Note that Detail is particularly needed when processing non-raw images (e.g., JPEGs, TIFFs) because CR does not really know the history of the file. It could be a camera-produced JPEG, a fine-grained film scan, a noisy film scan, an already noise-reduced image, etc. So unlike with raw files, CR does not really "know" the inherent noise content of a non-raw file, so it may be more important to tweak this setting for non-raw files (for this reason, the effective range is also greatly expanded for non-raw files).

     

    Detail is very different from the Luminance slider. The latter is effectively a volume control, which says "how much" smoothing to apply to noisy areas. The former says "tell me what is and isn't noise". You can, for example, crank up Luminance to do a ton of smoothing in noisy areas, but if Detail is inappropriately set to a too-high value, then you'll still get a noisy result, because CR will incorrectly consider some truly noisy areas to be "detail" (and hence not smooth it).

     
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    May 2, 2010 8:17 AM   in reply to RASouthworth

    Ok I just spent about 45 minutes playing around with the noise settings per MadManChan's reply and advice on using the sliders. Bottom line is that while ACR 6.0 noise controls are a vast improvement, one click of NoiseWare beat my best efforts of 45 minutes of manual adjustment.

    What does Noiseware know that Adobe doesen't? DXO , NoiseWare, and FocusMagic lead the way in the bleeding edge of processing, Its too bad that Adobe with all its resources doesen't look closer at what they do and incorperate the technology.

     

    Don't get me wrong, I have purchased every version of Photoshop from 3.0 on, and will continue to do so. My bookshelfs contain a whole row of Photoshop boxes, and another shelf of Photoshop books and I have all of my digital images from 2002 on and can see the improvements in Image processing from the different products on the market by reprocessing my RAWs with each version and product and comparing them. Personaly I would like to see ACR evolve into a separate productthat could be invoked directly from Windows Explorer or Finder with Kelbys 7 basic functions and a few tweeks. Lightroom was a start in that direction until they added the database which is a PITA. Correct fileing in Explorer does the job quicker and easier.

    Paul

     
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    May 2, 2010 8:36 AM   in reply to sjprg

    sjprg wrote

     

    Its too bad that Adobe with all its resources doesen't look closer at what they do and incorperate the technology.

     

     

     

     

    Ever hear of the word Patent?

     

     

    Lightroom was a start in that direction until they added the database which is a PITA. Correct fileing in Explorer does the job quicker and easier.

     

     

    Lightroom has used a database since the very first public beta.

     
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    May 2, 2010 8:41 AM   in reply to MadManChan2000

    What we need is a truly stochastic noise reduction, a content aware algorithm for noise reduction. I get better, faster results with Nik, which can be set to Set it and forget it for camera/ ISO values.

     

    Where non-raw noise reduction plays a significant part in my work is cleaning up the noise that emerges when doing large corrections in the B&W conversions. It wuould likely be faster to do it in ACR6, but in any case I have to either save and load from PS to ACR, or invoke Dfine from the filter menu. At times, I'll make a selection before going to Dfine, or use the eraser after setting Dfine to the best compromise.

     
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    May 2, 2010 8:42 AM   in reply to sjprg

    Interesting feedback, but frankly it's not productive for us unless 

    you provide sample images that we can use for investigation to figure 

    out what's going on. We do have test images in-house and supplied by 

    end users where we feel comfortable that ACR 6 and LR 3 b2's noise 

    processing capabilities are second to none, even at default settings. 

    But there are obviously many variables involved, so we'll need more 

    info to have a productive discussion.

     

    Eric

     
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    May 2, 2010 9:31 AM   in reply to Ian Lyons

    sjprg wrote

     

    Its too bad that Adobe with all its resources doesen't look closer at what they do and incorperate the technology.

     

     

     

     

    Ever hear of the word Patent?

     

    So, Pay the royalties, give us the technology. Adobe has been known to buy small companies.

     

     

    Lightroom was a start in that direction until they added the database which is a PITA. Correct fileing in Explorer does the job quicker and easier.

     

     

    Lightroom has used a database since the very first public beta.

     

    That’s where they went wrong.

     
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    May 2, 2010 9:43 AM   in reply to MadManChan2000

    I tried to attach a CR2 from a Canon 1DSIII but this is too large for the forum message service.

     

    I'm sure that somewhere in Photoshop's labs there is a current copy of NoiseWare you can compare test images with.

    I'll be happy to send you a couple of images if you give me an email address to send to.

     
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    May 2, 2010 9:55 AM   in reply to sjprg

    Attach a 100% screenshot using the camera icon in the formatting bar.

     

    I'm really curious to see this.

     
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    May 2, 2010 7:37 PM   in reply to sjprg

    Sure. Please do send an image to YouSendIt.com with target email 

    address of madmanchan2000@yahoo.com. And yes I do have a personal 

    license for Noiseware Pro (and many other denoising packages).

     

    Eric

     
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    Aug 29, 2010 8:24 AM   in reply to MadManChan2000

    Just started using ACR 6.2 beta and am very impressed with the luninous noise reduction and sharpening using the sharpen mask. There is often no loss of discernable detail. I cannot match this with a very popular third party plugin.

     

    It did take awhile to understand the how well the luminous NR and Sharpening with mask can work together.

     

    Don't suppose the sharpening mask can be used for selective noise reduction, that would be so nice?

     
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