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Noise Ninja – Review update

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Noise Ninja – Review update

Photoshop plugin works wonders on noisy images



Keith reviewed the Beta version of the Noise Ninja plugin a while ago.

The full version is now available and Keith has written this update to cover a few features missed in the original Noise Ninja review.

kebab shop at night

The added features

The noise reduction features were covered in the original review, but automatic profile selection and the ‘Noise Brush’ were not.

Auto profile selection

The automated profile selection allows you to have a noise profile loaded based on various aspects of the image, including its EXIF data.

A noise profile automatically selected

In the example above, a 1Ds image at 1250 ISO has been matched to the profile shown at the bottom of the picture.

The long file name contains information that the matching process will use to make its choice. When you create your own profiles there is assistance available to help in naming.

A whole host of parameters you can use for automated selection -- even more under the 'other' tab

Note that you do not need profiles for every combination, but you may get better results if you create your own set.

The matching allows soft or exact matching or ignoring items. The documentation and online help are very clearly written and worth a good look if you are to get the best out of the software.

Photoshop actions

If I have a folder of images I can set up a Photoshop ‘Action’ to process them with Noise Ninja. Even if they were taken at mixed ISO settings (say 800 and 1250) the selection of settings can be automatic.

Setting the default behaviour of the plugin in Photoshop actions

This is particularly important when I’m looking to incorporate the noise reduction in a busy workflow.

The Noise Brush

Removing noise from an image can sometimes remove fine detail from images as well. The noise brush is a marking tool that allows you to selectively mask the noise reduction.

Using the Noise Brush

The brush allows its mode (luminance/colour) to be altered so that you might choose to selectively reduce luminance noise reduction whilst still getting rid of colour noise.

You could always try to get this effect with masked photoshop layers, but it is easy to do in the plugin.

Some examples

The examples below show a 1Ds image that has been auto matched, and then selectively masked.

Picture of Keith's piano taken at ISO 1250 with a Canon 1Ds

Notice that I’ve turned off USM (unsharp masking) since I like to apply it only at certain stages of my workflow.

A mask was painted in to bring back some of the lost detail in the music books.

Two 100% detail views of the original ISO 1250 image with quite a bit of noise.

If you mouse over the first image you will see it after Noise Ninja processing.

If you mouse over the second image, the masked version will appear. The mask (see green image below) was applied to bring back some detail in the books.

Note that this is quite a subtle effect and you are seeing a jpeg file on the web, so it’s close to what I saw on my monitor but not exact …

The mask (as shown in the plugin when selected)

The noise mask used for the example above

Summary

I used this software regularly as a Beta version, but now the extra features are working, it’s become a vital part of my workflow.

For example, I regularly take photos at events without the aid of flash, often at ISO 1250 where noise is quite noticeable on my 1Ds. I now incorporate Noise Ninja in several automated actions that I use for converting images to varying formats that clients may want.

You can get a demo of the very latest version (the plugin or stand alone version) at http://www.picturecode.com/download.htm

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