Neat Image is a noise reduction plug-in (plugin for Photoshop) and standalone application designed to reduce visible noise and grain in photographic images. Neat Image is indispensable in low-light (indoors, night, astro) and high-speed (sport, action) photography.
Neat Image has 4 tabs right under the menu: Image Imput, Device Noise Profile, Noise Filter Settings, Output.
First thing you should do is to open an input image (button is in the first tab). Here we see Neat Image supports TIFF, JPEG and BMP.
On the second tab you choose an area of the picture (make sure its an uniform area) and create a noise profile: Auto Profiler will automacally find, select and analyze a featureless image area that contains only noise and no important details. After that, a new noise profile is ready and the input image can be processed.
Third tab, the noise settings, is the most important part:
Noise Filter Settings:
Adjusts estimations of noise levels in luminance and chrominance channels (relative to noise profile)
– positive values -> more image elements are considered noise
– negative values -> fewer image elements are considered noise
Noise Reduction Amount:
The bigger the precent, the more amount of noise is reduced.
Adjusts amount of sharpening applied to luminance channel
– high values -> more sharpening
– low values -> less sharpening
Neat Image will automatically select an area in the image and prepare a preview in the selection, but, you can manually select what you want also.
Finally, the last tab has two buttons: Apply and Save.
First apply the changes made before if you are pleased with the preview results, then save the output image and youre done!
Note: for this experiment, i used an ISO 400 image taken with Canon Powershot A520 in low-light.
Some images contain both noisy and clean areas and it may be preferable to filter only noisy areas. This can be manually done by combining two images – original and filtered one – in an image editor. For example, the following steps can be followed:
1. Filter an input image in Neat Image (so that noisy areas are well cleaned) and save the output image to a new file;
2. Open this new file in an image editor;
3. Place the filtered image in a new layer on top of the original image;
4. Adjust the transparency of the new layer so that noisy areas would look fine;
5. Select and delete the areas of the new layer where filtration is not necessary or excessive (you may want to use the eraser tool with adjustable transparency and shape).
To read more about Neat Image (considered to be the best noise reduction software) and download it, click here.
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