6 Replies Latest reply on Apr 18, 2017 4:05 PM by Kyselejsyrecek

    Erroneous sharpening and noise reduction in Camera RAW and Lightroom

    Kyselejsyrecek Level 1

      When exporting down-sampled images, I noticed that images created using Adobe Camera RAW version 9.1.1 through 9.10 are very noisy, lack much detail and micro contrast, far from preview the application shows. The same applies to Lightroom CC, which, however, cannot be forced to show precisely down-sampled previews of exported images during the development process at all.

       

      Images which I have originally found the issue with were long-exposure night-time photos involving blurred branches and quite a lot of noise, both of which can be gotten rid of (to some reasonable extent) by down-sampling the image. By resizing the image, setting noise reduction and a bit more aggressive sharpening, I was able to sharpen blurred branches and gain a good amount of detail whilst removing unwanted noise in ACR. The produced images did not match this preview at all, even though additional sharpening was disabled in export settings (results in dramatically more noise). It was then that I realized I probably had the same issue with my previous concert photos. Since I primarily publish my photos on the Internet where they are seldom viewed in original sizes (in low-light situations they are not even viewable), it is rather much more important that they are perfectly clean and sharp in lower resolutions. I developed the images the same way in ACR but had to withdraw them once published and reedit again due to excessive noise, which I did not notice during development.

       

      EDIT: Since both images lost quality on Adobe Forums, I uploaded them on an external service here http://imgur.com/kwbZrAF and here http://imgur.com/O0KiaCl respectively.

       

      Snímek z 2017-04-16 22-30-45.png

      (Example image with similar Sharpening/NR settings in ACR 9.10, displayed 100% preview is sharp and completely clean of noise.)

       

      IMG_8710.JPG

      (The output image without additional sharpening set in export options. Photo shows excessive amount of noise arranged in moiré pattern in this particular case. Note that the lack of detail is not evident in this image but is visible in other shots.)

       

      The same happens when the image is pushed to Photoshop or developed in Lightroom CC. Lightroom preview looks very similar to the one seen in ACR even though the application lacks 100%-magnified preview of the down-sampled image to be exported. I consider it a major flaw in image editing software since having precise preview of what I am about to publish is crucial in development and pixel-peeping at original image sizes does not say anything about the final image when resizing photos right away. Other than that, it is necessary that the picture preview and the actually saved image do match, which is not the case.

       

      Old posts from Adobe Forums which are probably related:
      Speckly image after ACR import back to PS CC 2015

      Differences with image in ACR and Ps/Lr

        • 1. Re: Erroneous sharpening and noise reduction in Camera RAW and Lightroom
          D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Your two screenshots posted above are for all practical purposes identical. Here they both are at 100%. I certainly can't see that one is more noisy than the other:

          Untitled-2.png

           

          BTW images don't lose quality by posting here. You get a reduced size thumbnail inserted in the thread, but if you click on that, the image is displayed at full / original size.

           

          Zoomed further in, here at 400%, it looks like the ACR version (top) is slightly more aggressively sharpened:

          Untitled-4.png

          • 2. Re: Erroneous sharpening and noise reduction in Camera RAW and Lightroom
            Kyselejsyrecek Level 1

            Please compare to the second image linked from Imgur (http://imgur.com/O0KiaCl) where too you can click on the image to see it in original size. You will see moiré rings from additional noise generated during export by ACR and Lightroom CC. The reason why the two images included in my original post here on Adobe Forums look identical is because they ARE almost identical due to loss of quality on the forum. That's why I decided to update the post with external links. Also note that this is just one particular example of wrong sharpening and noise reduction computation which may appear even more severe in other shots. My attempt was to present a minimal scenario needed to produce wrong, unpublishable output images.

            • 3. Re: Erroneous sharpening and noise reduction in Camera RAW and Lightroom
              D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              There is no loss of image quality in the forum, none whatsoever. I don't know where you get that idea.

               

              In addition, most regulars here dislike having to click on unknown outside links.

               

              So I would ask you to please post all your image examples here in the forum.

              • 4. Re: Erroneous sharpening and noise reduction in Camera RAW and Lightroom
                Kyselejsyrecek Level 1

                Please accept my apology, I have probably uploaded a wrong file. The correct images are as follows:

                 

                Snímek z 2017-04-16 22-30-45.png

                (Example image with similar Sharpening/NR settings in ACR 9.10, displayed 100% preview is sharp and completely clean of noise.)

                 

                IMG_8710_2.JPG

                (The output image without additional sharpening set in export options. Photo shows excessive amount of noise arranged in moiré pattern in this particular case. Note that the lack of detail is not evident in this image but is visible in other shots.)

                 

                As can be seen in the second example, artifacts produced by both ACR and Lightroom are easily visible even in half-resolution thumbnails. The output image is a result of 1.5 EV gain and only the settings from sharpening/NR tab shown in the screenshot. These adjustments are part of standard workflows of many photographers worldwide and I consider such inconsistency between in-application preview and output image a serious problem with the rendition process. Moreover, it is more than reasonable to expect Adobe Lightroom to provide image preview in exact output dimensions, something what is not possible at the moment.

                 

                I would be very grateful if these issues could be resolved with the upcoming updates of Adobe Camera RAW and Adobe Lightroom.

                • 5. Re: Erroneous sharpening and noise reduction in Camera RAW and Lightroom
                  D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  OK, now I see it. That doesn't look good at all, and it certainly looks like moire rings.

                   

                  Do you have lens correction turned on? I've seen something similar with what turned out to be a buggy lens profile, later corrected.

                   

                  Is the jpeg saved out from ACR, or Exported from Lightroom? Or do you get the same result from both?

                  • 6. Re: Erroneous sharpening and noise reduction in Camera RAW and Lightroom
                    Kyselejsyrecek Level 1

                    The JPEGs were exported from ACR, but Lightroom produces the same outputs with same settings.

                     

                    It turns out your guess about the moiré rings was right. Turning off lens correction profile Adobe (SIGMA 30mm F1.4 DC HSM A013, Canon)

                    effectively rendered the image without moiré rings, although still a bit noisier than the ACR preview.Snímek z 2017-04-18 23-55-42.png
                    (ACR 9.10, lens corrections disabled)

                     

                     

                    IMG_8710 (no corrections).JPG

                    (Exported image, additional noise visible in top-left and bottom-right quarts, no output sharpening applied except my original development setting.)

                     

                    It looks like the problem with excessive noise is caused by a sharpening option in ACR settings. Setting it to only sharpen image previews effectively eliminates all additionally generated noise. The output still differs from the preview on pixel level, but the differences are tiny and may be caused by more precise computation.

                     

                    However, it does not help with loss of detail during export. Here is another photo illustrating the phenomenon with Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens:

                     

                    Snímek z 2017-04-18 23-57-17.png

                    (ACR 9.10, lens profile "Adobe (Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM)", lens corrections enabled.)

                    Snímek z 2017-04-18 23-57-55.png

                    (ACR 9.10, lens corrections disabled.)

                     

                    IMG_6479 (corrections).JPG

                    (Output image, lens corrections enabled, sharpening enabled for all images in ACR settings, no additional output sharpening applied except my original development settings shown in first screenshot. Picture shows excessive noise, moiré rings near borders, overall gain in luminosity due to noise and high loss of detail.)

                    IMG_6479 (corrections, sharpening preview only).JPG

                    (Output image, lens corrections enabled, sharpening enabled for previews only in ACR settings, no additional output sharpening applied except my original development settings shown in first screenshot. Picture doesn't show additional noise nor moiré rings but displays high loss of detail.)

                     

                    IMG_6479 (corrections, sharpening preview only, additional sharpening for screen, standard).JPG

                    Output image, lens corrections enabled, sharpening enabled for previews only in ACR settings, additional output sharpening applied: Screen/Standard. Picture doesn't show additional noise but displays high loss of detail. Almost imperceptible gain in level of detail.)

                     

                    IMG_6479 (corrections, sharpening preview only, additional sharpening for screen, high).JPG

                    Output image, lens corrections enabled, sharpening enabled for previews only in ACR settings, additional output sharpening applied: Screen/High. Picture doesn't show additional noise but displays high loss of detail. Level of detail practically identical to previous setting.)

                    IMG_6479 (no corrections).JPG

                    (Output image, lens corrections disabled, sharpening enabled for all images in ACR settings, no additional output sharpening applied except my original development settings shown in first screenshot. Picture shows excessive noise, moiré rings near borders, overall gain in luminosity due to noise, high loss of detail and of course distorted perspective.)

                    IMG_6479 (no corrections, sharpening preview only).JPG
                    (Output image, lens corrections disabled, sharpening enabled for previews only in ACR settings, no additional output sharpening applied except my original development settings shown in first screenshot. Picture doesn't show additional noise nor moiré rings but displays high loss of detail and of course distorted perspective.)

                    Like with lens corrections enabled, applying additional output sharpening even at Screen/High has nearly no effect on the image.