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Thread: How does noise reduction fit into your RAW workflow?

  1. #1

    Default How does noise reduction fit into your RAW workflow?

    Hi all,

    Although I have always shot JPGs, I occasionally do a fair amount of post-processing so I thought I would give RAW file processing a try. One of the reasons is because during PP the JPG files seem a bit prone to artifacts which is apparent esp. after noise reduction and sharpening.

    Went for a test drive with Capture NX2 - interesting software, totally different UI from the Paint.NET that I am used to. Basic concepts seem to be the same though but with additional flexibility I guess. Still looking for in-depth tutorials, although Jason Odell's is a good introduction.

    Anyway, after working with the NX2's noise reduction, I found that it is quite tedious and fairly inadequate compared to Neat Image which I have used for the JPGs. I googled a bit and found out that a few people do this:
    1. Export the RAWs as TIFF after global adjustments
    2. Use specialized software for NR e.g. Topaz, Noise Ninja.
    3. Open up the TIFF again and do local adjustments.

    So, my questions to you all is:
    1. When does NR come into play when you are PPing? Last step along with sharpening (after global+local adjustments)?
    2. What software do you use for NR (is it the same as the raw-converting program e.g. NX2? Converting between formats as described above negates the "non-destructive editing" advantage of working with RAWs?

    Would appreciate all your inputs on this matter, or even tips on workflow. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does noise reduction fit into your RAW workflow?

    I use noise ninja, and I only do noise reduction after all my adjustments, right before resizing.

  3. #3
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does noise reduction fit into your RAW workflow?

    I do it as a last few steps also, but very seldom use NR nowadays. If I do, then I will run the pic through a full force NR, then overlay on the original picture and adjust visibility until I get something that's not too noisy yet retaining enough details. I will also most likely use layer mask to retain full details (without NR) on certain portions of the pic, or the other way (full NR on certain portions of pic), as I normally NR only the sky area.

    Using Imagenomic's Noiseware, coz I had that software since before I bought my DSLR and never moved to anything else.
    Last edited by wildcat; 13th September 2010 at 06:58 PM.

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    Senior Member ovaltinemilo's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does noise reduction fit into your RAW workflow?

    noise ninja when needed...I feel it gives pleasant results...usually only run the NR(default values) after all adjustments..but I'm really not too particular with noise...
    Last edited by ovaltinemilo; 13th September 2010 at 07:30 PM.
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    Default Re: How does noise reduction fit into your RAW workflow?

    NR in LR3 works wonders...
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  6. #6

    Default Re: How does noise reduction fit into your RAW workflow?

    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil123 View Post
    I use noise ninja, and I only do noise reduction after all my adjustments, right before resizing.
    same.

    i usually mask out the areas where i don't foresee a need for NR.

    the smoother areas are the parts where you might notice noise more easily.

  7. #7

    Default Re: How does noise reduction fit into your RAW workflow?

    Ah, I guess it's more convenient for PS users because of various plug-ins like Noise Ninja and Noiseware. I wonder if non-PS users have to export the file to the Noise Reduction program then have to reopen the file again in the image editor for final touches.

  8. #8
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does noise reduction fit into your RAW workflow?

    Quote Originally Posted by wkteoh View Post
    Ah, I guess it's more convenient for PS users because of various plug-ins like Noise Ninja and Noiseware. I wonder if non-PS users have to export the file to the Noise Reduction program then have to reopen the file again in the image editor for final touches.
    Actually mine is not the plug-in version although I'm sure it's somewhere if I bothered to look hard for it. So I save as jpeg, NR, then overlay as a separate layer onto the original file in PS.

  9. #9

    Default Re: How does noise reduction fit into your RAW workflow?

    oh wait, I see. I can just use one copy for NR then overlay it on top of the original RAW file - then I can keep all the previous modifications done on the raw file. Need to find the steps to do it, but thanks guys.

  10. #10

    Default Re: How does noise reduction fit into your RAW workflow?

    Camera Raw in CS5 has much improved noise reduction, so I use that first. If I need further NR in Photoshop, I use Imagenomic Noiseware.

  11. #11

    Default Re: How does noise reduction fit into your RAW workflow?

    Thanks but I'm just going to stick with Capture NX2 for now, see if I can get used to it. Gonna start a new thread for NX2-specific questions.

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