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Author Topic: Noise Reduction before or after RAW conv.  (Read 6967 times)
Diapositivo
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« on: March 05, 2008, 09:43:54 AM »
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Hallo everybody,

We know there are things that are intrinsically better done at the RAW development stage rather than with the TIFF at hand. Let's say if you want to apply curves or to correct white balance, you'd rather do that at an early stage, while developing the RAW image.

What about noise reduction? Is there an "intrinsic" advantage (for the algorithm, for the programmer, for the logic involved) in trying to reduce noise in the RAW file development phase rather than developing the RAW with all NR set to zero and than using a specialised program or Photoshop on the "developed" image?

On the one hand, programs such as Noise Ninja, Neat Image etc. are very "tweakable" and very specialized, and could have maybe better algorithm than those in, let's say, ACR.

On the other hand, maybe ACR has an "advantage" in separating noise from signal as it operates with the RAW image.

Experimenting did not lead me to any conclusion. Sometimes I feel it is better applying NR early, sometimes I feel it is better to apply NR with Photoshop. Maybe it all depends how "spot on" is the configuration of the NR in Photoshop for that image. Maybe a certain degree of NR is always better applied at RAW development stage.

Any comment appreciated

Cheers
Fabrizio
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tomrock
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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2008, 10:00:47 AM »
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If there's only a little noise, removing it in ACR will probably work acceptably. However, you'll do a better job in one of the specialized noise reduction programs if there's more noise in the image.
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Graeme Nattress
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2008, 10:42:34 AM »
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There's certainly theoretical (and often practical) advantage in removing noise as part of the RAW development process, but it all depends on the capabilities and algorithms of the RAW software.

Graeme
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2008, 10:37:49 AM »
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Hallo everybody,

We know there are things that are intrinsically better done at the RAW development stage rather than with the TIFF at hand. Let's say if you want to apply curves or to correct white balance, you'd rather do that at an early stage, while developing the RAW image.

What about noise reduction? Is there an "intrinsic" advantage (for the algorithm, for the programmer, for the logic involved) in trying to reduce noise in the RAW file development phase rather than developing the RAW with all NR set to zero and than using a specialised program or Photoshop on the "developed" image?

On the one hand, programs such as Noise Ninja, Neat Image etc. are very "tweakable" and very specialized, and could have maybe better algorithm than those in, let's say, ACR.

On the other hand, maybe ACR has an "advantage" in separating noise from signal as it operates with the RAW image.

Experimenting did not lead me to any conclusion. Sometimes I feel it is better applying NR early, sometimes I feel it is better to apply NR with Photoshop. Maybe it all depends how "spot on" is the configuration of the NR in Photoshop for that image. Maybe a certain degree of NR is always better applied at RAW development stage.

Any comment appreciated

Cheers
Fabrizio
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No image editing in raw format does any permament damage to your raw files, so experimenting with various workflow options is a free lunch to this extent. All noise reduction carries some cost in reduced acutance (undo-able in the raw file), so I generally don't reduce noise at the raw stage as I'm not keen to have a rendered image with reduced acutance. This is mainly because I often find that when I encounter noise, it is usually visble only in areas that can be easy to isolate on a separate layer and confine the noise reduction to those areas only. That way the acutance of the rest of the image remains unaffected by the noise reduction software. This cannot be done in raw - yet. Though in Camera Raw with CS3, you can sharpen the image and mask out the sharpening from frequencies where you don't want it to apply.  All this considered, I generally use Noiseware for selective noise reduction on a separate layer if absolutely necessary, then Sharpen with PK Sharpener, both in Photoshop.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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sesshin
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« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2008, 12:05:54 AM »
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I usually do mild noise reduction and sharpening in ACR as part of the capture process, and then further noise reduction as needed in Noise Ninja and creative sharpening in Photokit Sharpener.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2008, 08:44:39 AM »
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I usually do mild noise reduction and sharpening in ACR as part of the capture process, and then further noise reduction as needed in Noise Ninja and creative sharpening in Photokit Sharpener.
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Actually, the capture is what you do with the camera, and what you do in ACR is part of the conversion/rendering processes. There are umpteen ways to skin a cat with all this software and if that workflow serves you well so be it, but you are most likely aware that you complicate control over the image's ultimate appearance when you apply noise reduction and further sharpening to an already partially sharpened image, where some of the noise is "sharpened-in" to the rendered file. That said, I have little doubt that several workflow options would probably yield equally acceptable results over a variety of image types.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Jonathan Ratzlaff
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« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2008, 12:02:05 AM »
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It depends on how good Camera Raw's noise reduction algorithms are.  ALthough Camera raw does not affect the original image file, it certainly affects the file that you are working in at the outset.  So anything that Camera Raw introduces into your file will affect you all the way through your adjustments.   The issue may not become apparent until way into your editing process.  However if it does, you have to start over, wheras if you do it in the process as a plugin on a layer, it is reversible without wasting all the time you have spent up to that point.
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