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I often see photographs pass by covered in sometimes a very, very thick layer of noise, and I always ask myself:
"Why did the photographer choose not to remove it? Is it because they don't know how to?"

Noise is something that, in my opinion, can definitely break your photograph. Most people love to see clear, crisp shots and if a photograph is covered in noise.. it is quite often, here on deviantArt, that your work will not be accepted in to groups just for that very reason. I am not a big fan of noise either. There obviously are occassions where "noise" works well, if used correctly, however, that is not usually called noise but "grain". Let's take a look at the difference between noise and grain before we move on:

ISO 3200 by Yuukon
This is noise. In this case, caused by a high ISO setting. 

Untitled by Yuukon
This is a grain. 

Can you see the difference between the two? Noise often brings some of his friends along in the form of some ugly and weird colour patches in extreme cases, but even with lighter cases, you can see them when you zoom in. Grain is much "cleaner", and used decoratively. It often works extremely well in black and white photographs to achieve the "old photograph" effect. 

In this tutorial, you will learn about removing that cheeky bastard called "noise" (and also his friends).

Since there are many software out there, I decided to go with what is most "popular", Adobe Photoshop, and one of the free Noise Reducing software on my Photography Resources List, "Neat Image".

So if you don't have Photoshop, scroll down to the second part of this tutorial!


PHOTOSHOP

STEP ONE.
Let's start off with opening our noisy photograph up in Photoshop. In this case, I am taking the example noise photograph I used above. It should look something like this:
Ss+(2016-04-04+at+10.11.10) by Yuukon
When you open this screenshot, you will see that I opened my .CR2 file in Photoshop. This is the format Canon uses for RAW files. If you use Nikon, this will be a .NEF file, and with Sony this is likely .SR2. Every brand has a different file extension, but in the end, they're all RAW and they work the exact same way. (If you want to learn more about RAW, keep an eye on my Photography 101 course, I will be doing a chapter on that soon.)

STEP TWO.
First off, it helps to zoom in so you can see more details, like how the strong the noise on your photography really is...

Ss+(2016-04-04+at+10.20.51) by Yuukon
In this case: very strong.

STEP THREE.
Let's locate the option to reduce noise in Photoshop.

FILTER - NOISE - REDUCE NOISE
Ss+(2016-04-04+at+10.23.29) by Yuukon
Go ahead and click it!

STEP FOUR.

Once you've clicked on "Reduce Noise", you will see this:
Ss+(2016-04-04+at+10.25.29) by Yuukon
In this window you can play with the settings and figure out what cleans up your image. In cases of noise as strong as in this case, it's not always possible to clean it up all the way, though it will definitely improve the quality of your photograph a LOT. You just have to be careful not to overdo it, or you might experience some loss of detail (There is always a catch!). 

When I was done, it looked like this:
Ss+(2016-04-04+at+10.30.42) by Yuukon
Quite the improvement, right? Even though I didn't get it all, it looks a lot better now!

You can take a look at the photograph here:
Untitled by Yuukon


However, not everybody has photoshop, which is why I decided to pick one of the free software of my Photography Resources List to show you in there as well.

NEAT IMAGE

(download HERE)

STEP ONE.
Let's open the photograph in Neat Image
Ss+(2016-04-04+at+10.40.26) by Yuukon
As you can see, this looks a whole lot different than Photoshop, however, this program is solely for the purpose of reducing noise, so there is nothing else you can do with it. But, that's totally okay. 
As you can see, I opened a .JPEG version of this file in Neat Image, this is because the demo version of Neat Image that we can use for free has some restrictions, and one of them is that you can not open RAW files in it. This is not a problem, noise reduction also works on .JPEG, but my recommendation is to always work on RAW files if possible. 

STEP TWO.
Pick a "noise profile"
In the top, you can see all these little "tabs", "Input Image", "Device Noise Profile", "Noise Filter Settings" and "Output Image". We will need to click on "Device Noise Profile". 
Ss+(2016-04-04+at+10.46.33) by Yuukon
As you can see, we have acquired some new buttons underneath the tabs. Let's do this the lazy way and let the program figure out the noise profile for us. 
Click on "Auto Profile".

Ss+(2016-04-04+at+10.48.13) by Yuukon
The program will pick up a piece of noise and "analyze" it. 

STEP THREE.
Click on the tab "Noise Filter Settings", next to the tab we clicked in step two.
Ss+(2016-04-04+at+10.51.02) by Yuukon
After you click, the software will start to filter your image. Depending on the size of your image and the specifications of your computer, this can take a little while. Be patient! 
When it's done, it will say "Filtered" in the top right corner of the image, as you can see in my screenshot. This is also the point where you can tweak some of the settings if you are not satisfied with what the software has delivered to you, these settings are on the right side of the program. 

STEP FOUR.

Once your satisfied with your image, click on "Output Image". This is the part where we save the image to our harddrive. 
Ss+(2016-04-04+at+10.54.05) by Yuukon
The software will filter the image again here, also to apply your new settings if you have changed any. I haven't, in this case. 

Now you click on File - Save Output Image As... or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+S. 
Ss+(2016-04-04+at+10.55.15) by Yuukon
Pick the location where you want to save your image, and hit save. 

This is the result I got:
IMG 9463 filtered by Yuukon


That's it! Easy, right?
I hope this helps, and if you have questions, please ask them! 

If you want to learn more about Photography, make sure to check out my group PhotographyGuide
:iconphotographyguide:

This tutorial was made for the following groups:
:iconphotographyguide: :iconwereallylovephotos: :iconthemedgroup:
Do you want it in your group as well? Feel free to request it!





Skin by SimplySilent
How to: Reduce noise in your photograph!
Add a Comment:
 
:iconvisualstripes:
VisualStripes Featured By Owner Edited Apr 1, 2017  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks for the tip! I don't have photoshop, and Neat works fine. It makes it the colours blend softer/smoother. :-) But, I should repost all my photos now because I see a lot of noise! :D (Big Grin)  
Reply
:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2017   Photographer
I'm glad to hear it helped!
Reply
:iconvisualstripes:
VisualStripes Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2017  Hobbyist Photographer
It sure did. And that's exactly why I wanted to join the PhotographyGuide group. :-)
Reply
:iconamoddatye:
amoddatye Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
thanks a nice write up
Reply
:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2016   Photographer
Thank you! I hope it is useful to you!
Reply
:iconahmedqatar:
Ahmedqatar Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
Simple yet effective!
Reply
:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2016   Photographer
Thank you! I hope it's useful for you! :nod:
Reply
:iconahmedqatar:
Ahmedqatar Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
It is in fact!
Reply
:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2016   Photographer
It makes me very happy to hear so! :nod:
Reply
:iconahmedqatar:
Ahmedqatar Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
:)
Reply
:iconwanderingmogwai:
WanderingMogwai Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2016   Photographer
This is very helpful!  Thx  :D
Reply
:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2016   Photographer
I'm glad! You're welcome!
Reply
:iconnergling:
Nergling Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2016
I use Pixlr that's a great photoshop proxy, lots of functions and similar tools :)
Reply
:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2016   Photographer
Nice! :nod:
Reply
:iconbgai:
BGai Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2016
Thank you for this! Have you done - or will you do one on contrast and sharpening too? I often see photos that really could do with this and I'm surprised people don't give it a go as most programs, even on phones, can do something. I'm not an expert by any means but I won't submit something that has looks like it has a smoke screen - unless it's meant to look like that or it's an interesting shot for some other reason and I can't get it any better!
Reply
:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2016   Photographer
You're welcome! I hope it's helpful to you!
At this point I am still working on subjects and ideas for these shorter tutorials. Contrast and sharpening sounds like a good idea, thank you. I am also still working on my Photography 101 course, and I am kind of trying to "split" content between the two, if that makes sense. Thank you for your suggestions though- those are always welcome!
Reply
:iconbgai:
BGai Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2016
Monique, that link doesn't lead to your Photography 101 courses - it takes me to DA's browse page! I tried a few times then went to your page to check they are still there - of course they are - so something seems to be wrong with the link.
Reply
:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2016   Photographer
Oh dear! I am a dummy! Trying to link things from my phone is clearly a bad idea! 

If you go to my profile page, and check out my ID, it shows all the articles I have written so far, Photography 101 course included!
Reply
:iconbgai:
BGai Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2016
Yep, thank you I did find them there! But bed time shortly so no point in reading it now!
Reply
:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2016   Photographer
I'm glad, and, sleep well! :sleep:
Reply
:iconbgai:
BGai Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2016
Thank you, I think I will - you too - whenever that is in your part of the world!
Reply
:iconbgai:
BGai Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2016
You are welcome - I'm hoping I'll learn something from them if you do!
Reply
:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2016   Photographer
I hope so too! Please let me know! :nod:
Reply
:iconbgai:
BGai Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2016
:) (Smile) Will do.
Reply
:iconmynonsensespot:
MyNonsenseSpot Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
Extremely helpful.
As an amateur photographer,I enjoy any tips I can get.
Thank you for sharing.
Reply
:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2016   Photographer
I'm glad it's helpful to you!
Reply
:icontrekatu:
trekatu Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
this'll be helpful in time.
Reply
:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2016   Photographer
I'm glad!
Reply
:iconfrancescadelfino:
FrancescaDelfino Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
Good work Monique, hope it will be helpful for many deviants ;)
Reply
:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2016   Photographer
Thank you Francesca! :bow:
Reply
:iconfrancescadelfino:
FrancescaDelfino Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
:dance:
Reply
:icongregs99:
GregS99 Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
This tutorial helped me a lot. Thank you for it :)
Reply
:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2016   Photographer
You're very welcome, I am glad it is useful to you!
Reply
:iconartedigitalsa:
ArteDigitalSA Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2016  Student General Artist
thank you for this!! it really helped me a lot
Reply
:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2016   Photographer
You're very welcome! I'm glad it's been useful to you!
Reply
:icontehangelscry:
TehAngelsCry Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2016  Professional Interface Designer
Another method which I use is Filter > Blur >Surface Blur :)
Reply
:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2016   Photographer
I must test that! :eager:

I generally use the noise reduction filter in Lightroom myself, tbh. It's proven me worthy!
Reply
:iconnicolasdominique:
NicolasDominique Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2016  Professional Artist
How to reduce noise? Be quiet :>

Also, nice tutorial, Yuu ^^
Reply
:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2016   Photographer
That works too :rofl:

Thank you! :D
Reply
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