Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

June 9, 2008

Despecklation

Filed under: Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 2:46 pm

An interesting thing happened to me while I was working my way through the image sharpening for Blurb, I learned more about noise reduction. huh?

Okay, I have to admit, up to now, I just accepted noise in my digital images. I could easily see the noise in the skyes of my toned images for In Passing. And I did not realize the amount of noise in my scanned images, but since my workflow until recently was now fully digital, I did not worry about the scanned film. Ah, ignorance is bliss;- )

So now while I was trying to get the best book printed image and working through the issues of sharpening, I have realized the issues with noise and of course the need for noise reduction. And for most of you, I image you wonder what planet I have been on for the last couple of years, eh?

So I have been talking and working on some noise reduction routines to see if it makes a difference. And as you might guess, it does for some images a lot more than others. And it seeems to make more of a difference for my digital images from my XTi (10.2Mp) than it does from my scanned 120 film images.

So I do expect to try out Noise Nija shortly, but I have found that creating a duplicate layer in Photoshop and then going to the channel mixer, running a despeckle filter on each color channel to help a lot, sometimes running it twice on the blue channel, which is usually recognized as the “noisey” channel.

I don’t think that this is significant to the sharpening book, but I do see that I want to review most of my In Passing photographs and implement some noise reduction on them. Ah, always something to improve my work…

Best regards, Doug

Oh, and with a noise reduction on an phototgraph, I realize that it will probably require a little more sharpening action on the baseline file, as most noise reduction processes also soften the image. Which is why I am extremly happy that my sharpening action is on a seperate adjustment layer that can be easily pitched and replaced with a new adjustment layer;- )

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3 Comments »

  1. I\ve been using Despeckle in conjunction with sharpening for a while. It is part of the analysis I was looking at for Picture Window Pro a while back.

    If I was using a layers approach, I would be using some for of edge mask for both Despeckle & USM. USM would get used on the positive (the edges) and Despeckle on the negative (the bits in between).

    For my workflow I find I need Despeckly in 2 specific circumstances: large expanses of continuous tone (skies especially) and large areas of very fine detail (e.g. amongst braches & leaves of bushes).

    Comment by Martin Doonan — June 10, 2008 @ 8:10 am

  2. Hello Doug,
    I would also recommend giving Neat Image a try before you decide to purchase Noise Ninja. I tried both and found the results to be about the same (I thought the Noise Ninja plugin made things look just a bit more “plasticky”, but that could probably be refined by playing with the settings), but I preferred Neat Image’s interface and I think it may be a few dollars cheaper. I use it on digital and scanned film images with good results on both.

    Regards,
    Dalton

    Comment by Dalton — June 10, 2008 @ 10:32 am

  3. Martin, I was working on just one image tryting some different layered options to understand the effects. I quickly saw the need to be careful where the Despeckly is applied, you have a hard time with the sharpening to restore everything close to the original, as you really do lose something in the process. Thus the need for an adjustment layer with an area specific mask.

    Dalton, I have received a number of recommendations for NN but I am not familiar with Neat Image, so I plan to check it out shortly, thanks for your recommendation.

    Comment by Doug Stockdale — June 10, 2008 @ 2:54 pm


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