Michael Almond Portfolio

 

SmarterNR

URL: http://knm.homeip.net:8081/Public/SmarterNR
Cost: $20
Platforms: PC Only
Version Tested: 2.2
Demo available: Yes.

Detail was retained, even in the tip of the rock.

Settings:

  • Luma: 6
  • Color: 5

Great job removing noise and keeping the transitions sharp. A little bit of JPG artifacts remain.

Settings:

  • Luma: 7
  • Color: 4

I switched to the advanced settings to get the best results for this one.

Settings:

  • Window size: 1
  • Detail: 40
  • Blackpoint: 39
  • Cb size: 3
  • Cr size: 3
  • Blend: 75

Pros:

  • The differences between setting are very subtle, which allows you to really fine tune the results
  • In the Advanced section, the preview can show the mask, which makes it easy to adjust the sliders so that the detailed areas are masked just right.

Cons:

  • Fixed-size preview window that can only zoom in 100%

PictureCode Noise Ninja

URL: www.picturecode.com
Cost: $35, $45, $70, $80 (see here for features for each version)
Platforms: PC and Mac
Version Tested: 2.0.2
Demo available: Yes

Noise Ninja is available as a standalone program and as a Photoshop plugin. It analyses your image and produces a noise profile in similar manner to Neat Image and Grain Surgery. The best results are obtained by using pre-built noise profiles for your camera. You can build your own using a special calibration target that Noise Ninja will automatically scan and process, or download one of the pre-built ones from PictureCode website. Unique to Noise Ninja is its ability to boost color saturation (noise reduction usually results in a loss of saturation) and contrast enhancement. Noise Ninja also has batch processing capabilities and a touch-up brush that lets you paint back the original image for critical areas (although I prefer to do that with layers in Photoshop).

Noise Ninja did great on this one, noise in the trees was perfectly eliminated while still retaining detail in the rock.

Settings:

  • Olympus C4100 profile
  • Luminance:
    • Strength: 1
    • Smoothness: -5
    • Contrast: 5
  • Color:
    • Strength: 1
    • Smoothness: 0
    • Saturation: 5
  • Sharpening off
  • Suppress halos on
  • Turbo mode off

Noise Ninja performed flawlessly on this one. Version 2 did an even better job of suppressing JPG artifacts.

Settings:

  • Minolta 7Hi profile
  • Luminance:
    • Strength: 5
    • Smoothness: 0
    • Contrast: 5
  • Color:
    • Strength: 0
    • Smoothness: 0
    • Saturation: 5
  • Sharpening off
  • Suppress halos on
  • Turbo mode off

Again Noise Ninja did a really good job, removing noise in the sky, but keeping detail in the mountains.

Settings:

  • Minolta 7Hi profile
  • Luminance:
    • Strength: -3
    • Smoothness: -2
    • Contrast: 2
  • Color:
    • Strength: 0
    • Smoothness: 0
    • Saturation: 5
  • Sharpening off
  • Suppress halos on
  • Turbo mode off

Pros:

  • Noise Ninja produces more natural images, leaving behind less artifacts that stand out in otherwise smooth areas.
  • Ability to apply specific filtering to specific colors, which is great for applying stronger noise reduction to skies
  • Noise Ninja retains more overall brightness and color saturation than the competition.
  • Faster than Neat Image.
  • Great documentation, with an easy to follow tutorial that helps you get the best out of the program.
  • Fixed from version 1: larger preview that can now be switched between the original and cleaned image for faster fine tuning of the settings.
  • Fixed from version 1: now available for the Mac and as a plugin.

Cons:

  • Building a profile from an image does not produce an optimal noise profile (but the automatic profiler in version 2 is much improved over version 1), building a noise profile from the calibration target is better.
  • The range and default values of the settings are different between the standalone version and the plugin

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