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How to both reduce noise and sharpen an image non-destructively.


Mads Hildebrandt

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Ok, hey guys.

I've got this macroshot of a grasshoppers face with the rest of the body going into shallow dof-ness. Only the very front of the face is sharp and even the back of the eyes starts to go blurry. The image is great, but I got a problem. I can't figure out how to sharpen the front of the face and then reduce the noise where the image starts to go blurry.

But I'm not sure how to work individually on the face and from where the image starts to go blurry. Was it a hard edge I would just make a lasso around the face and make a copy of that and turn it into a smart object, so that I would have a layer with the whole image and one with the face. But when there is a smooth transistion between sharp and blurry, I'm not sure how to go about it, when I want to work non-destructively.

How would you go about it?
Thanks

DSC_4039.jpg
 
Last edited:

fredfish

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If you convert the layer to a smart object first then when you apply any effect (be it noise reduction via the camera raw filter or any other effect) you get a mask that you can use to mask out the effect.

Alternatively duplicate the layer - apply the effect and then add a layer mask and use a soft brush to paint away where you don't want the effect applied.

Cheers

John
 

Mads Hildebrandt

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If you convert the layer to a smart object first then when you apply any effect (be it noise reduction via the camera raw filter or any other effect) you get a mask that you can use to mask out the effect.

Alternatively duplicate the layer - apply the effect and then add a layer mask and use a soft brush to paint away where you don't want the effect applied.

Cheers

John
But I want to do both sharpen and reduce noise on different parts of the image. If I convert to smart object, apply noise reduction and mask it where I want/don't want it, what am I gonna do when I want to sharpen, I can't just create a new mask within that smart object, it can only have one mask. Then how am I to sharpen just parts of the face afterwards?
 

Eggy

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I assume that what you want is to sharpen the 'face' of the grasshopper.
'Deblurring' the rest is not possible in PS. There's a 'shake reduction' filter but don't expect miracles from that.

First convert the picture into a smart object.
Go to raw filters and click the sharpening/noise reduction tab.
In the sharpening section crank the sliders completely to the maximum.
This will sharpen the face but also produce noise in the rest of the image.

Untitled-1.jpg

By making it a smart object a layer mask is applied automaticly.
Use that layer mask to brush away the noisy part of the image. (except face)

Untitled-2.jpg
 

Eggy

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To do that see my post #5.

To remove the noise make a snapshot of the picture by selecting the top layer and press shift+crtl+alt+E.
This will make a new layer from the underlaying layers.

Turn that into a smart object, go to raw filters, set the sharpening tools to 0 and start working on reducing the noise with the luminance slider.
When you think the noise is gone enough (except face), use the layer mask to brush away the face so it becomes sharp again.

Now you have a sharp face and removed the noise from the rest.
 
Last edited:

Mads Hildebrandt

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Yes, but I have not worked non-destructively. I can't go back to the layer beneath the "shift, option, cmd, e" layer and alter that. That's my problem, I want to be able to do it non-destructively.
 

Eggy

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You don't have to go back because that shortcut makes a new layer from all the layers beneath...it does not merge them!
Then, with that 'new' layer you can start with the denoising.

But when working on a picture you should never work on the original but make a copy of it (ctrl+J) and disable the original.

Untitled-1.jpg
 

Mads Hildebrandt

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But if I want to go back to the background layer and maybe add more or less noise, it is not possible anymore, and then I don't work non-destructively anymore. I do understand all you are saying. But what is important to me, is to learn to work non-destructively, and by that I mean, that by anytime in the process of editing the image, I want to be able to go back to the layer at the bottum and alter that if need be.
 

Eggy

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Well, by using layers turned into smart objects, everytime you apply an effect or filter on them, a layer mask is created, meaning that by using the layer mask you work non- destructively...
 

IamSam

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This is simple, double click your smart object, make a copy of the "bottom" layer and convert to smart object, then make your "noise" changes, layer mask. Save.

This will non-destructively edit the "bottom" layer while maintaining any changes made by using the accompanying layer mask in the original document.
 

Mads Hildebrandt

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Guys, thanks for your effort, but I'm not sure you really understand what I'm trying to say/do. I may not be good enough at explaning. I will start all over.

I want to reduce the noise on the blurry part of the image, and
I want to sharpen the face, and
I want to be able to go back at any time in the process of editing the image and alter the sharpening and the noise reduction if that need be, aka work non-destructively.
 

IamSam

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Guys, thanks for your effort, but I'm not sure you really understand what I'm trying to say/do. I may not be good enough at explaning. I will start all over.

I want to reduce the noise on the blurry part of the image, and
I want to sharpen the face, and
I want to be able to go back at any time in the process of editing the image and alter the sharpening and the noise reduction if that need be, aka work non-destructively.
All of this has been carefully explained to you! We completely understand. We really want to help you out but your having some trouble understanding us. What can we do?
 

Mads Hildebrandt

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Please show me the post where you mean the process is explained and I will try to explain what I mean is not fully understood. Thanks for the patience.
 

Mads Hildebrandt

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In post 5, I end up with the same noise as I started with, no noise-reduction is applied.
In post 12, when I make a copy of a layer, I can't go back and make changes to the layer under the new copy.
 

Mads Hildebrandt

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I guess nesting smart objects is the only option when I want to use two filters (camera raw and smart sharpening) with two different masks.
 

IamSam

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In post 5, I end up with the same noise as I started with, no noise-reduction is applied.
See post #7

Mads Hildebrandt said:
In post 12, when I make a copy of a layer, I can't go back and make changes to the layer under the new copy.
Yes you can. Double click the smart object..........make any changes you desire.

You do understand how smart objects work?
 

IamSam

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I see where I made one mistake in post #12, I have corrected it in red.
 

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