Using Grain Surgery To Remove Digital Noise

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© 2002 Gregory Georges

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© 2002 Gregory Georges

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© 2002 Gregory Georges

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© 2002 Gregory Georges

ABOUT THE IMAGE

Great Horned Owl Canon EOS D30, f/2.8 300mm IS, ISO 800, f/3.2 @ 1/125, 16-bit RAW setting, 1440 x 2160 pixels converted to 9.3MB 8-bit .tif, iCorrect Professional and Photoshop 7 Levels have been applied

Unwanted digital noise (or grain) in a digital image can be a gigantic stumbling block to making a digital photo look as good as if the nasty stuff weren't there at all! Besides appearing as variegated spots of color in a color image, the noise usually becomes even more pronounced when the image undergoes necessary image sharpening.

In Technique 11, we looked at several ways to remove the digital noise found in the photo of a great horned owl that was taken with an ISO 800 setting. In the end, the noise was simply diminished by applying the Gaussian Blur filter to the areas where it showed the most. Removing noise without also removing important fine detail and ultimately ending up with a loss of image sharpness in an image is very, very challenging when using the tools found in Photoshop 7. Thankfully, several software vendors have created excellent noise-reduction plug-ins that are able to remove a remarkable amount of grain from a wide variety of digital images.

Two of the more advanced and capable noise-removing plug-ins are Grain Surgery by Visual Infinity (www.visinf.com) and Quantum Mechanic Pro by Camera Bits (www.camerabits.com). Both vendors offer several versions of their products. Depending on the variety and type of digital images that you edit, one or both of these products ought to work for your intended use. For this technique, we use Grain Surgery for no other reason than one had to be selected and it works extremely well without much fussing with the parameters, plus I like the fact that it also can be used to match or add grain.

To learn more about Grain Surgery and to get a free downloadable trial version, visit www.visinf. com orwww.reallyusefulpage.com\50ps7\ plug-ins.htm to get a clickable link to the Visual Infinity Web page and read any notes and updates about this and many other Photoshop 7 compatible plug-ins.

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