17 Replies Latest reply on Aug 10, 2009 6:51 AM by the_wine_snob

    Photos look grainy

    Adobe1981

      When I add still shots they look really grainy on my PC. Is this normal?

       

      A photo in particular is 1.68MB so it's not like it is small.

        • 1. Re: Photos look grainy
          the_wine_snob Level 9

          You will need to give us a lot more detail about these still image files. In the meantime, take a look at this ARTICLE on using still images in an NLE.

           

          It is more likely that your images are too large, and PrE is doing a poor job of resizing them. In this case, the smaller size, prior to Import will impact the final result - bigger is NOT better.

           

          Good luck,

           

          Hunt

          • 2. Re: Photos look grainy
            Adobe1981 Level 1

            Ok, see I thought Larger was better.  I read your artical and will try to resize my photos to 720X480 and see if that does the trick and will report back.  Heading out of town for the week so hopefully Sunday I can work on this.

             

            Thanks

            Nik

            • 3. Re: Photos look grainy
              the_wine_snob Level 9
              I thought Larger was better.

               

              With respect to print work, it is. Using the "way-back machine," I used to shoot everything from full-page up on 8 x 10. Then, I dropped back to 4 x 5. When digitizing my film became an option, I'd always opt for 1000ppi scans as a minimum and just work from monster files. Nowadays, most of my still work is done on a 12 megapixel camera.

               

              Now with Video, we are constrained by the output size. [Similar happened when images were earlier used for Web work. Download times, and the display setups of users of the Internet dictated much smaller images.] If one is outputting to DVD, then either the NTSC, or PAL, sizes become the target. Shooting at the camera's highest possible resolution is still good advice, but one must find the ultimate method to get the images down to usable size.

               

              There are basically two ways to do this (one does have some variations). One can let the NLE do the work. Most are pretty good at this, but there are two problems: NLE's are designed to work with Video and not really to process still images - the quality suffers when resizing; like the bandwidth limitations of large images on the Web, computer resources are directed to processing these large images. Because of the former, I recommend using an image processing program, like PS to do the resizing. They are designed to do just this - handle still images in the best way possible. Also, one is now only processing that one image, not a Video of it, made up of many smaller images. Basically, you're processing one frame and not 30/second of Video. The algorithms used by an image processing program are better, more accurate and more efficient, than those used in an NLE.

               

              If I can achieve better quality and also lower the resource load on my computer, I view this as a win-win situation. As PS (and PSE) has Actions to "script" operations, I can batch process all of my still images in a few brief moments for use in Video. It takes me far longer just editing out the images that I will not use, than it does to process 1000 for use in a Video.

               

              Travel safely, and let me know how the quality looks, when you do the resizing outside of your NLE. Remember too, the Program Monitor in about all NLE's is just an emulation, a preview, if you will, of what that image will look like on a TV. For critical judgement, I strongly suggest doing a DVD RW (if one is going to DVD), and playing on a set-top player, hooked to a TV. If one only views on the Program Monitor of the NLE and on their computer screen, then I strongly recommend that the settings in the Program Monitor be set to High/Highest Quality, not Automatic, and the Magnification be set to 100% and not to Fit. Also, if the NLE indicates that the footage needs to be Rendered (red line above the footage in most NLE's), Render it first. Otherwise, with an un-Rendered Clip, the Program Monitor set to Automatic and Fit, it's a bit like trying to judge the quality of a photograph by looking only at the thumbnail of that photograph. You can only get a rough idea of the content of that photograph and can really make no judgement on its quality.

               

              Good luck,

               

              Hunt

              • 4. Re: Photos look grainy
                Adobe1981 Level 1

                So how do you render a clip?

                • 5. Re: Photos look grainy
                  the_wine_snob Level 9
                  So how do you render a clip?

                   

                  I am not sure that I understand your question. On the base level, you hit Enter. That Renders the Timeline. You can control what part of the Timeline is Rendered by adjusting the WAB (Work Area Bar).

                   

                  Somehow, I do not believe that this is your question. Can you be more specific?

                   

                  Hunt

                  • 6. Re: Photos look grainy
                    Adobe1981 Level 1

                    I wonder if I did something wrong when I did  [Process Multiple Files] in PSE because the file looks terrible when I view the file in PSE - Very pixilated

                     

                    The top picture was shunk down to 720x480 like suggested. The second  photo is the original (I don't know if you will be able to tell much on here).

                    I also did a Quick Fix Sharpen to the photo as well.  I have attached my setup for Process Multiple Files in PSE v7.

                     

                    Any tips would be appreciated.

                    • 7. Re: Photos look grainy
                      A.T. Romano Level 7

                      Adobe1981

                       

                      I would like to try to help you work through this present issue, but first I need to clarify some things:

                       

                      a. You say that your original photos had file sizes of  about 1.6 MB. But, what were the pixel dimensions of those photos? If you do not know, please take a representative photo to the Photoshop Elements Full Editor, go to the Image Menu/Resize/Image Resize and look in the Image Resize dialog for the width and height in pixels. It might be a good idea to take one of your grainy photos (assumed the resized ones) into the Image Resize and double check their pixel dimensions to make sure the values agree with what you set up for in the Process Multiple Files.

                       

                      b. Were the original photos always .jpeg or did you use any of them in the slideshow as .psd after editing them in a Photoshop Elements Full Editor editing session. If your photos are grossly oversized for the purpose of creating a DVD-VIDEO (720 x 480 pixels), then I would suggest that you resize to 1000 x 750 pixels instead of 720 x 480 to give you some "room" for your pans & zooms in Photoshop Elements.

                       

                      c. After you go through the above and if you want, we can go over the details of Process Multiple Files and then take it from there.

                       

                      ATR

                      1 person found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: Photos look grainy
                        the_wine_snob Level 9

                        A few additional thoughts:

                         

                        1.) what format did these files come in as? Did your camera shoot JPEG, TIFF or RAW? If JPEG, do NOT Save_As JPEG again. You will have two compressions applied. This is NEVER good and quality will suffer. If you start with JPEG, you will definitely want to resize, and Save_As .PSD or .TIFF. One JPEG compression is bad enough.

                         

                        2.) where are you judging the quality of the image? If you are going to SD DVD and have resized to that Frame Size, blowing that image up on a high-rez computer monitor will not tell you how it will look on a TV.

                         

                        Good luck,

                         

                        Hunt

                        1 person found this helpful
                        • 9. Re: Photos look grainy
                          Adobe1981 Level 1

                          a.  Original Photo size: 3888x2592

                          b.  Yes, the originals were always jpegs

                           

                          I will try and resize to 1000 x 750 and report back.

                          • 10. Re: Photos look grainy
                            the_wine_snob Level 9

                            For ultimate quality, do NOT Save_As JPEG again. Choose .PSD, or .TIFF for this.

                             

                            Good luck,

                             

                            Hunt

                            • 11. Re: Photos look grainy
                              Adobe1981 Level 1

                              Ok, processing them now (saving as psd)

                              • 12. Re: Photos look grainy
                                Adobe1981 Level 1

                                MUCH better!

                                 

                                Between saving the files as 1000 x 720 AND .psd the files (when viewed in PSE) look a TON better!

                                 

                                I did not have any idea that the files get compressed when a .jpeg thus to saving them as a .psd.  Great tip.

                                 

                                 

                                Thanks A.T and Hunt for the tips!

                                • 13. Re: Photos look grainy
                                  the_wine_snob Level 9
                                  Ok, processing them now (saving as psd)

                                   

                                  Great. I cannot promise that the quality will be exactly what you are looking for, but it will be "as good as it gets."

                                   

                                  As an analogy, let's say that the scene in front of your camera is a photograph printed on a 2880 x 1440 8-color printer. You take that photograph and your camera does JPEG compression on that image. That is like putting your 2880 x 1440 into a copier and making a color copy of it. Detail has been lost. Now, you resize the image (not perfect, but better in PS/PSE) and want to do something with it. Another JPEG is like sending that copy via a color FAX. Saving it to .PSD, or .TIFF is like making a second copy and handing that to the client. Would you rather have that second copy (not the same as the real scene, but as good as it gets), or would you rather have the FAX of that copy?

                                   

                                  Good luck, and hope that the output quality is up to the grade,

                                   

                                  Hunt

                                  • 14. Re: Photos look grainy
                                    A.T. Romano Level 7

                                    Adobe 1981

                                     

                                    I am so pleased that you are making progress. That was great news.


                                    But, I come with some but's....

                                     

                                    My feeling is not to mess with a good thing, however, this business about using the .psd instead of .jpg..  if you have the time and it does not mess up your schedule/workflow, do a comparison of .psd vs .jpg with the resizing to 1000 x 750. Depending on the preparation of the .psd and the presence of more than one layer in the Layers Palette, you can get into a file size issue which may impact the project, especially one with a lot of .psd contributions.


                                    If the .psd really does give you better quality, then be sure to flatten the layers in the Layers Palette in the .psd before you save. You cannot undo the flattening once the .psd is saved/closed/reopened. So, you may want to make 2 copies, one with flattening (the one that you use in the slideshow) and one without flattening (the one that you can use for possible future edits).

                                     

                                    In spite of existing thoughts, I use photos as jpg saved to my hard drive (shot as jpg) and get great results for slideshow and non slideshow purposes. But, go with what works best for you.

                                     

                                    I will be looking forward to your progress.

                                     

                                    ATR

                                    • 15. Re: Photos look grainy
                                      the_wine_snob Level 9

                                      Tony,

                                       

                                      The one problem with that workflow is that one is recompressing via JPEG a second time. Quality will suffer, even if one uses a high-quality setting. JPEG compresses the data, and will do so on each run of that algorithm.

                                       

                                      Now, if one has properly sized JPEG's as their source, there is nothing to be gained by keeping things in that format. If one does any processing, then quality will degrade. That is how JPEG compression works. Data is discarded, and more is discarded with each application. Just like my copy/FAX analogy. Will it still be OK? Well, that depends on how critical one is. Many could read that FAX of the copy. Many would want the copy, without the quality compromise of the FAX.

                                       

                                      Because the OP indicated a desire for the highest quality, I suggested my workflow. Now, if one wishes to use an image that has been degraded twice, that is their choice. I cannot do so, but then I come from a print advertising background, where quality is paramount.

                                       

                                      Heck, some are happy to use images from the Web that are then upscaled to 20x their size. They do not see the difference, so long as they can make out the image. I am not one of those.

                                       

                                      Hunt

                                      • 16. Re: Photos look grainy
                                        A.T. Romano Level 7

                                        I do not believe that the picture that you paint is as cut and dry as you seem to present it, namely, a right way and a personal acceptable one of lesser quality. The issue goes to a lot of factors in dealing with the jpeg in question in a home use and industrial setting.

                                         

                                        Repeated saving within the same editing session will not result in jpeg degradation, nor will copying a jpeg. It is only when the jpeg file is opened, edited, and saved again Save As that the countdown starts on grades of “distinguishable differences” with each subsequent Save As.

                                         

                                        Studies have been done on the actual amount of jpeg degradation each time a Save As has been applied. Here is but one that presents the results of such a study.

                                        http://www.prophotoshow.net/blog/2008/03/25/file-format-degradation-saving-destructive-edi ts-compared/

                                         

                                        The baggage in terms of file size that may or may not come with a lot of jpeg's as .psd's is as an important a consideration as the jpeg degradation that may exist after “repeated” Save As. It will be interesting to see Adobe1981’s comparison of jpeg vs psd and distinguishable differences in that specific workflow (import/edit/actual number of times the jpg is being Saved As as well as the file size of the .psd’s for the many that will be brought into the project)….all with possible quality impact.

                                         

                                        I have no agenda for jpeg or .psd, but rather what works for me in the real world. As you noticed in my reply to Adobe1981, I suggested to go with what gives the better quality.

                                         

                                        ATR

                                        • 17. Re: Photos look grainy
                                          the_wine_snob Level 9

                                          What you might want to do to satisfy your curiosity is to take your original JPEG, make changes to it and Save_As another JPEG with a different name. Bring that second JPEG into the first one as a Layer and then set Blend Mode to Difference.

                                           

                                          Now, if you cannot see the degredation, then by all means use your workflow. As I have clients with very critical needs, I choose a workflow that yields the maximum results. My testing indicates that my workflow is superior for most images, so I go with it in all cases, even ones where the degredation would be slight. I strive for the ultimate at all times and any overhead with .PSD's is minimal on my machines and in my workflow.

                                           

                                          It is in the eye of the beholder. I am not suggesting that you alter your personal workflow to match mine. That is your choice. Where a poster is wishing for the ultimate quality, I suggest my workflow.

                                           

                                          It is the exact same with regards to where and how to resize a still image for use in an NLE. If one cannot tell the difference (and some claim that they cannot), then go with multiple generational JPEG's and let the NLE do the resizing. It is the end result and how the viewer preceives it, that counts.

                                           

                                          Now, the majority of my still work is from scanned 4x5 film, or high-rez RAW images. I never go to JPEG unless a client needs something for the Web normally.

                                           

                                          Like I said, some are happy to take a 200x200 pxl image from the Web, resize it to 720x480 and use it in a Video. I am just not one of those people.

                                           

                                          Good luck,

                                           

                                          Hunt

                                           

                                          PS as an example, some clients would ask why I studied a Polaroid Type 55 negative with my 12x loupe for twenty minutes, before I tripped the shutter, when the image was only going to be used as an 1/8 page shot. My answer was that if I could find no errors at this magnification, then no one could ever find an error at the smaller size. It is about the persuit of perfection - something that I have spent most of my life involved in.