7 Replies Latest reply on Feb 24, 2010 9:49 AM by JimHess-8IPblY

    RAW NoiseNinja and HDR - what workflow ?

    Victor Burgin

      Here's what I want to do :

       

      1. Open Nikon D300 NEF files

      2. Remove chromatic aberration (in Camera RAW 5.5)

      3. Remove noise using NoiseNinja PS plugin

      4. Merge to HDR

       

      My problem is between stages 3 and 4, as I can't save the files to RAW in order to move on.

       

      Any ideas gratefully received

       

      Thanks !

        • 1. Re: RAW NoiseNinja and HDR - what workflow ?
          Level 4

          Once you open and manipulate a raw file you can never again resave it as a RAW file because the file has been cooked and it's no longer raw.

           

          If you cannot obtain satisfactory results with ACR's noise reduction capabilities, and if you therefore use Noise Ninja, you must save your file as a PSD or TIFF.

          • 2. Re: RAW NoiseNinja and HDR - what workflow ?
            Victor Burgin Level 1

            Thanks, the principle seems clear. But even if I only correct aberration (in ACR), "Merge to HDR" still treats the file the same.

            • 3. Re: RAW NoiseNinja and HDR - what workflow ?
              Level 4

              Any and all adjustments you perform in Camera Raw are kept only in Metadata, the raw file remains untouched—always.  That's why I mentioned the Noise Reduction capabilities of ACR.  That would also affect only metadata, not the raw file itself.

               

              But Noise Ninja can only work on files that have been converted (opened) already, not on raw files.

              • 4. Re: RAW NoiseNinja and HDR - what workflow ?
                Level 4

                The instant you click on the Open Image button in ACR, you open an already-cooked version (copy) of the file.  The raw file remains untouched.

                • 5. Re: RAW NoiseNinja and HDR - what workflow ?
                  Victor Burgin Level 1

                  Thanks again. I'm further enlightened (and now understand the value of keeping the metadata as a separate file), but you earlier seemed to suggest that if I leave Noise Ninja out of the equation, and do both defringing and noise reduction in ACR, then I can use the resulting file (which I appreciate is no longer strictly a RAW file) in Merge to HDR – which I can, but only after being warned that I have lost valuable tonal data.

                   

                  Summary : For optimum results, Merge to HDR will work only on an unaltered RAW file – but if "unaltered" by definition means that the file is marred by chromatic aberration and noise, then Merge to HDR is a completely useless component of CS4. Am I missing something ? 

                  • 6. Re: RAW NoiseNinja and HDR - what workflow ?
                    Level 4

                    Victor Burgin wrote:

                     

                    Thanks again. I'm further enlightened (and now understand the value of keeping the metadata as a separate file), but you earlier seemed to suggest that if I leave Noise Ninja out of the equation, and do both defringing and noise reduction in ACR, then I can use the resulting file (which I appreciate is no longer strictly a RAW file) in Merge to HDR – which I can, but only after being warned that I have lost valuable tonal data.

                     

                    Who says you lose any tonal data at all when you convert (open) a raw file and save it as a PSD or TIFF file?     If that were the case, there would be no purpose to shooting raw. 

                     

                    Or is your issue that you need raw files to convert to HDR?  Forgive me for that over-simplistic question, but never having seen an HDR image that I have even remotely liked, I have not played with that feature much.  When faced with a scene with extreme dynamic range, I combine multiple exposures (or multiple renditions of one or more raw files) in Photoshop, manually and judiciously as needed, and obtain infinitely better results than the HDR merge function can provide for me.

                     

                    Victor Burgin wrote:

                     

                    Summary : For optimum results, Merge to HDR will work only on an unaltered RAW file – but if "unaltered" by definition means that the file is marred by chromatic aberration and noise, then Merge to HDR is a completely useless component of CS4. Am I missing something ? 

                     

                       Again a misconception.  Any Merge function (to HDR or as a panorama) cannot possibly work on a raw image.  Instead the Merge function needs to call upon Camera Raw (in the background) to convert and cook the raw image data on the fly by opening it, and the conversion process will include any adjustments you have applied to its metadata, such as ACR Color Aberration correction, ACR Noise Reduction, spot adjustments, sharpening, vibrance, saturation, exposure, etc.  That's why the metadata is there, to be applied during the conversion.

                     

                    A raw file is a very, very dark grayscale image without anything that a human being can interpret as color, although there is color information to be used by the raw converter (in this case Adobe Camera Raw).  That's why the raw file must be converted before it can processed in any way.

                     

                    My apologies if my previous posts were unclear.  I hope this one is better crafted.

                     

                     

                    Wo Tai Lao Le

                     

                    我太老了

                    • 7. Re: RAW NoiseNinja and HDR - what workflow ?
                      JimHess-8IPblY Level 3

                      Once an image has been opened in Photoshop, it is no longer a raw image.  The title bar on the window only indicates where the file came from.  When you finish your editing in Photoshop you have to save your work or something other than a raw image.  Yes, there is a Photoshop Raw option, but that is not really a raw image.

                       

                      I don't like HDR images either.  But my suggestion would be to do as much to your images as possible in ACR.  Then go ahead and merge them to an HDR image and complete your editing in Photoshop.  Save the image as a TIFF, and then use Noise Ninja as a final step if you really think it is necessary.

                       

                      Personally, I think a lot of noise reduction is overrated.  If we could just enjoy the images for what the content might be, rather than scrutinizing every image at 400% to worry about every little bit of noise we see, I think we could forget about a lot of extra noise reduction.  I have printed images as large as 13 x 19 that I wondered about the noise as I looked at the image on the monitor, but the prints, even the large ones, are amazingly noise free.  I think a lot of noise reduction is just an exercise in futility.  That's just my opinion, not documented fact.