10 Replies Latest reply on Dec 6, 2015 5:22 AM by Keith_Reeder

    Sharpening

    Walrus

      Should you remove noise before sharpening?

        • 1. Re: Sharpening
          Keith_Reeder Level 4

          You'll get people sayng both "yes" and "no" to this - best to work out what works best for your own shooting style and subject matter (this last matters a lot).

           

          FWIW, I'm a wildlife and sport photographer (often in properly crappy light), and I sharpen first, NR afterwards.

          • 2. Re: Sharpening
            Per Berntsen Adobe Community Professional

            It doesn't really matter in which order you do it - the end result will be the same.

            But it's a good idea to sharpen first, and use the masking feature to prevent sharpening being applied to flat areas.

            Noise will be most visible in flat areas, and will be even more pronounced when sharpened.

            Hold down Alt/Option while dragging the slider, the black areas will be protected, and white areas will be sharpened.

            Once the image has been sharpened, apply the noise reducion. Use the Detail slider to protect details in the image.

            Always evaluate sharpening and noise reduction at 1:1 view - any other view will be misleading and incorrect.

            • 3. Re: Sharpening
              ManiacJoe Adobe Community Professional

              In LR, it really does not matter what order you do things in because you have no control over the order that LR is going to do the actions in when it plays back the edit commands.

              • 4. Re: Sharpening
                Walrus Level 1

                Hi.

                Thanks for all your replys, you can see why I asked the question, it would seem you pay your money and take your choice!!

                 

                Ron.

                • 5. Re: Sharpening
                  Per Berntsen Adobe Community Professional

                  Masking is probably the most overlooked feature in the Detail panel, and I suspect that a lot of people never use it.

                  It is tremendously helpful when sharpening noisy images, and I use it with low ISO images as well.

                  Even the slightest amount of noise will be increased by sharpening, and Masking does a great job preventing that.

                  If we could have masking for noise reduction as well, it would be perfect.

                  • 6. Re: Sharpening
                    Keith_Reeder Level 4

                    Per Berntsen wrote:

                     

                    Masking is probably the most overlooked feature in the Detail panel, and I suspect that a lot of people never use it.

                    I bang on all the time about the Masking slider when I teach people how to use Lr - it's utterly essential, IMO.

                     

                    And yes, NR Masking would be a brilliant addition. Harder to implement (it's easy to visualise where sharpening needs to be applied, but NR would be harder to visualise) but it'd be a real benefit.

                    • 7. Re: Sharpening
                      Keith_Reeder Level 4

                      Per Berntsen wrote:

                       

                      It doesn't really matter in which order you do it - the end result will be the same.

                       

                      Not entirely in agreement with this, Per (and Joe).

                       

                      It's true that Lr's "processing pipeline" will always commit sharpening and NR in the same order (all Raw converters have a locked-down order of applying adjustments). but in terms of visualising the desired end result I prefer to sharpen first - because I'm sharpening all the detail that's available - before then applying NR (I'm only talking about Luma NR here).

                       

                      I find that if people NR first, they then tend to over-sharpen what's left, in an attempt to make up for fine detail lost to NR. You can't sharpen back in, detail that has been killed by NR - but people try to anyway.

                       

                      I therefore sharpen everything first (using the Masking slider as necessary) in order to maximise detail: then I apply some degree of Luma NR in Lightroom (occasionally - rarely - with a brush). This works far better than some "experts" theorise that it will, because Luma noise and detail actually look very similar, and providing I control where sharpening isn't applied - backgrounds, for example - putting some sharpening on the noise that's sitting among the detail isn't detrimental to the end-result.

                       

                      But the truth is that Lr's NR isn't that good compared to that of rivals, so I tend to do any real NR heavy lifting outside of Lr: either by applying it selectively in PhotoShop (I'm a fan of the Topaz DeNoise plugin: I know I can run it in Lr too, but I prefer to apply it on a layer in PS, erasing it from the layer where it's not needed); or by using a different converter. Capture One, DxO Optics Pro and - especially - Photo Ninja, all provide better initial NR results from a given image than does Lightroom.

                       

                      So my initial reply up the page is a "general" response to the OP's question. not an Lr-specific one.

                       

                      And - to reiterate - what's being shot, and how, is hugely important to the discussion: I do things differently when I shoot gigs, for example, because the end-result I'm after is completely different, and maintaining detail isn't nearly as important...

                      • 8. Re: Sharpening
                        Keith_Reeder Level 4

                        Walrus wrote:

                         

                        it would seem you pay your money and take your choice!!

                        No. See above, Ron.

                        • 9. Re: Sharpening
                          Per Berntsen Adobe Community Professional

                          Per Berntsen wrote:

                           

                          It doesn't really matter in which order you do it - the end result will be the same.

                          Not entirely in agreement with this, Per (and Joe).

                          I see your point, but provided that the same settings are used, the order in which they are applied doesn't affect the end result.

                          But I agree totally that sharpening should be done first, if NR is done first, the detail you want to sharpen may be gone.

                           

                          I do very little high ISO work, so LR is usually adequate for noise reduction - apart from the missing masking.

                          But it's not adequate for scanned black & white film, which I do quite a bit. For that I use Photoshop - Reduce Noise (on a copy of the background layer) does a much better job than LR in preserving detail and reducing noise at the same time. And when that isn't good enough I use Bruce Fraser's technique with the NR done through an edge mask. BTW, I believe the sharpening module in LR is based on the PhotoKit Capture Sharpener, which again was based on Bruce Fraser's research.

                          • 10. Re: Sharpening
                            Keith_Reeder Level 4

                            Per Berntsen wrote:

                             

                            I see your point, but provided that the same settings are used, the order in which they are applied doesn't affect the end result.

                            For sure - it's when the same settings aren't used because of a misleading impression of how the file looks when NR is applied first, that problems arise.

                             

                            Per Berntsen wrote:


                            I believe the sharpening module in LR is based on the PhotoKit Capture Sharpener, which again was based on Bruce Fraser's research.

                            Yep, Bruce and Jeff Schewe, who still contributes here.