Michael Almond Portfolio

 

Digital Deluxe Toolbox (Action)

URL: www.2morrow.dk/75ppi/coolpix/actions/
Cost: Free
Platforms: PC Only
Version Tested: 1.0

This is a very advanced set of actions offering a choice of three levels of noise reduction, a base level of noise reduction and two stromger ISO-noise removal options that can run after the base if needed. It has the nice feature of putting the cleaned image in a separate layer, making it very easy to compare the results.

Digital Deluxe Toolbox did a great job of keeping sharpness (thanks to an edge mask) while removing both luminance and chroma noise. I used just the base NR action.

This image needed the extra step of the mid-ISO noise removal which resulted in a beautifully clean image, while still retaining the detail of the trees without too much blurring.

This image also needed the extra mid-ISO NR step to further cut down the luminance noise in the sky. Sharpness is mostly maintained, but some blurring is evident between the mountain edge and the sky.

Pros:

  • The use of an edge mask helps keep the image sharp while still greatly reducing noise.
  • Three levels of NR to choose from.
  • Results are placed in a separate layer.
  • Seems like it can work on a single layer of a multi-layer image (complained about the lack of a background layer a few times, but the results looked fine).

Cons:

  • Not sure why the edge between the sky and the mountains in the last image was blurred so much.

E10 NR (Action)

URL: netnet.net/~llueck/NR.htm
Cost: Free
Platforms: Mac & PC
Version Tested: 01/26/2002

This is a another advanced set of actions offering three levels of noise reduction and a separate hot pixel removal action. The actions build a separate edge mask for each of the RGB channels and stop to allow you to interactively define each edge mask. It takes a very long time to complete - 20 minutes on my PII-300 laptop and used 1.3GB of scratch space! This is mostly because it doubles the size of the original image before working on it.

The medium NR action softened the image too much, so I had to use the low one. The low one did an acceptable, but not quite as good, job on the chroma noise.

Settings:

  • Red threshold: 228
  • Green threshold: 233
  • Blue threshold:234

The low NR action left a little bit of luminance noise, so I ended up settling for the medium NR action, which cleaned this image up almost perfectly. The edge masks that the action builds kept the trees pretty sharp.

Settings:

  • Red threshold: 215
  • Green threshold: 213
  • Blue threshold:213

For this one the high NR action worked the best, nicely smoothing the sky (except for some nasty JPEG artifacts), while retaining the detail in the mountain.

Settings:

  • Red threshold: 218
  • Green threshold: 215
  • Blue threshold:213

Pros:

  • The use of not just one, but a per-channel edge mask, results in a clean but surprisingly sharp image.
  • Three levels of NR to choose from.

Cons:

  • As with most actions, can only be used with files that only contain a single layer.
  • Very, very slow.

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