Michael Almond Portfolio

 

Imagenomic Noiseware Professional

URL: www.imagenomic.com
Cost: Free, $26 - $79
Platforms: PC and Mac
Version Tested: Professional 3.0 plug-in
Demo available: Yes

Noiseware is available seperately as a standalone program and a Photoshop plug-in, in free, standard, and pro versions. The all use the same noise reduction engine, with different file formats and capabilities (8bit v16bit, supported file formats, batch processing, etc). Noiseware's noise reduction engine automatically analyses each image and builds a noise profile. What makes Noiseware unique is that with each successive image, it learns and perfects the noise profile based on the EXIF data (camera make and model, ISO, exposure and image size). Pre-built noise profiles will also be available in the future. It's algorithm is very controllable, allowing the usual tweaking based on different noise frequencies (high, med, low, very low), but you can also apply reduction based on different tonal ranges (shadows, highlights, midtones), which really allows you get optimal results.

Noiseware did a great job, the splochy noise in the sky was greatly reduced, while key detail was retained everywhere else.

Settings:

  • Noise level
    • Luminance: 0%
    • Color: +10%
    • High freq: +45%
    • Med freq: 0%
    • low freq: 0%
    • very low: 0%
  • Noise supression
    • Luminance: 45%
    • Color: 75%
    • High freq: 100%
    • Med freq: 80%
    • low freq: 90%
    • very low: 90%
  • Tonal range
    • Shandows: 0%
    • Midtones: 0%
    • Highlights: 0%
  • Sharpening: -5
  • Processing degree: Auto

Noiseware performed flawlessly on this one, the noise is all gone and the transitions between the planes remain well defined.

Settings:

  • Noise level
    • Luminance: 0%
    • Color: 0%
    • High freq: +90%
    • Med freq: 0%
    • low freq: 0%
    • very low: 0%
  • Noise supression
    • Luminance: 80%
    • Color: 65%
    • High freq: 75%
    • Med freq: 100%
    • low freq: 100%
    • very low: 100%
  • Tonal range
    • Shandows: 0%
    • Midtones: 0%
    • Highlights: 0%
  • Sharpening: -5
  • Processing degree: High

Noiseware worked very well on this one as well, on par with the best of them.

Settings:

  • Noise level
    • Luminance: 0%
    • Color: 0%
    • High freq: 0%
    • Med freq: 0%
    • low freq: 0%
    • very low: 0%
  • Noise supression
    • Luminance: 50%
    • Color: 50%
    • High freq: 100%
    • Med freq: 80%
    • low freq: 90%
    • very low: 90%
  • Tonal range
    • Shandows: +25%
    • Midtones: 0%
    • Highlights: 0%
  • Sharpening: -5
  • Processing degree: Auto

Pros:

  • Noiseware produces very natural-looking images, (ie. images that look like they are actually noise-free, rather than processed to be noise-free).
  • Very fast, both for the preview and in applying.
  • Very good, clearly laid-out UI, with a large preview that can be zoomed between 100 and 400%.
  • Good value for money, plenty of purchasing options to suite your needs.

Cons:

  • No built-in help, not even tooltips (will be fixed in a future version).
  • No pre-built camera profiles (but they will be available soon).
  • No ability to manualy select areas of an image to profile.

Kodak DIGITAL GEM Professional

URL: www.asf.com
Cost: $50, $100
Platforms: PC and Mac
Version Tested: 1.0.1
Demo available: Yes

DIGITAl GEM is a Photoshop plugin available in two versions, regular and professional. The two versions of the plugin use different algorithms. The Professional version includes two noise reduction algorithms, "Coarse" for very aggressive noise reduction and "Fine" for less aggressive noise reduction. The regular plugin's algorithm is very similar to the course one. The professional version also adds 16-bit support, more control over the algorithms and the ability to blend the results with the original image. It can also show the noise that is going to be removed, as well as the usual before/after preview.

The Detail Sensitivity setting does just what it says, it allows you to retain detail while removing noise in smoother areas like the sky. DIGITAL GEM did a great job on the JPG artifacts in the sky.

Settings:

  • Suppression type: Fine
  • Blending: 100%
  • Suppression: 50
  • Detail Sensitivity: 100
  • Clarity: 0
  • Radius: 1

The Fine noise suppression type did not reduce this noisy image enough without blurring it a lot, so I used the coarse one, which gave good results.

Settings:

  • Suppression type: Coarse
  • Blending: 100%
  • Highlights: 19
  • Shadows: 75
  • Clarity: 0
  • Radius: 1

DIGITAl GEM did a great job on the mountains, but left some of the stronger noise in the sky, which resulted in the appearance of pockets of noise.

Settings:

  • Suppression type: Fine
  • Blending: 100%
  • Suppression: 61
  • Detail Sensitivity: 70
  • Clarity: 0
  • Radius: 1

Pros:

  • Quick
  • Two different noise reduction algorithms, which allows you to pick whichever approach works best for each image
  • Detail Sensitivity option really works.
  • Ability to see the noise that will be deleted

Cons:

  • Relatively small preview window
  • No ability to save settings
  • No separate controls for color and luminance noise reduction

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