Solution

For this solution, we'll need to apply a few filters to the image. Before you make any changes, you may want to duplicate the original image layer so that you have a backup.

The first step is to apply a Despeckle filter to the image. Select Filter > Noise > Despeckle. This will reduce the grain or noise slightly, as shown at right.

After using the Despeckle filter

After using the Despeckle filter

Next, we'll apply another filter to reduce the noise further. Select Filter > Noise > Reduce Noise. In the Reduce Noise dialog box that appears, increase the values for the Strength and Reduce Color Noise fields, as shown in the example at the top of the next page. If there's a lot of fine detail, try increasing the value of the Preserve Details field as well. You can also experiment with the Sharpen Details field, although, personally, I prefer to sharpen the image myself as I find that I have more control over it that way. (I'll show you how to sharpen images later in the chapter.)

Reduce Noise dialog options

On the far right are the results of the Reduce Noise filter, alongside those of the Despeckle filter. As you can see, most of the noise has disappeared, and the graininess has been reduced somewhat. Our work is not done yet, though!

Despeckle filter

Results of the Reduce Noise filter

Results of the Reduce Noise filter

Surface Blur options

The image could still be a bit smoother. Select Filter > Blur > Surface Blur. In the dialog box that appears, increase the Radius and Threshold values by a few pixels, as shown at left. You'll see the effect of this step on the image in the dialog box's preview window. Click and drag the mouse around the window to see how other areas of the image are affected. Once you're happy with the way everything looks, click OK to apply the filter.

Surface Blur options

Here we can see the result of the Surface Blur filter on a zoomed-in portion of the photo.

Reduce Noise

After applying the Surface Blur filter

Take a look at our final image below: a smoother, cleaner photo. If you wanted to, you could take it a step further and sharpen the image as well. I'll show you how to do this in the solution for "Sharpening Images" that follows.

Original photo compared with final photo
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