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Thread: How to remove noise from faces?

  1. #1

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    How to remove noise from faces?

    I am presently figthing with a large number of photos taken by my son-in-law that contains a lot of noise. They are all important to my family and I would like to improve them as much as possible. The framing and subjects are good but they are taken with a not too good camera. I have used Neat Image with some improvement. Yet especially the faces need some extra help. I cannot use Portrait Professional on thousands of faces (and also I find the result too unnatural).

    Here is my problem/question:
    In addition I have also used the Blur Tool in my PS CS6 which seem to improve the impression of the faces a lot. When I, much later, do my sharpening it seems to work. I.e. the images incl. the faces appear sharp but without the noise reappearing.

    Does that make you shudder? Is it too destructive? Other suggestions?

    Forgive the eager amateur grandmother!

    Git

  2. #2

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    Re: How to remove noise from faces?

    Yes I sometimes use the Blur Tool as a suitable opacity soft edged brush for selectively reducing noise. With care it can be applied to the 'smoother areas' of a face but still leave eyes etc sharp.

    Likewise, I often do selective sharpening by creating an image layer which is sharpened then an edited mask controls the areas and amount of sharpening which gets applied to the background image.

    Sometimes, where sharpening is a problem, it can help to change the layer blend mode to Luminosity.

    Another layer trick which I sometimes use is to apply more noise reduction to the layer which, when used with a suitable mask, selectively applies the effect instead of an overall application.

    I often use this when converting from Raw. Make two conversions with different settings (one with extra noise reduction) and combine the two conversions as layers with masks.

    If the conversion is done as a Smart Object you can keep going back to the original Raw settings with copies of the smart objects for extra raw editing.
    Last edited by Geoff F; 28th September 2013 at 06:51 PM.

  3. #3

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    Re: How to remove noise from faces?

    I will oftentimes make a selection of the noisy area, in any image, and apply noise reduction to that area.

  4. #4
    Davey's Avatar
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    Re: How to remove noise from faces?

    you can always save as tiff (rgb16,no layers etc) so it's openable in ACR and use ACR to do the denoise. As for sharpening if you apply it with layer mask you can control how much is sharpened and where more. Only other suggestion I can make is some methods are more forgiving on fine noise, I find high pass filter produces less problems than USM although I still use USM for some things.

  5. #5

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    Re: How to remove noise from faces?

    With thousands of faces perhaps the solution is to ignore the noise which is after all a digital age pre-occupation and didn't in the past with its film equivalent grain cause the amount of fuss noise seems to these days.
    I wonder if it a symptom of glossy paper being the only surface readilly available in early days. In film days one shot with MF or LF if grain was a consideration or for 35mm Agfa Pan F as I did in 'newbie enthusiasm'.
    I would need to see an example to know as to if it should be ignored or not IMO .

  6. #6

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    Re: How to remove noise from faces?

    IMO, unless the noise is overwhelming, it may be better to leave some of it on than have it completely smoothed out. This can also depend on grain pattern of the noise though.

  7. #7
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    Re: How to remove noise from faces?

    Hi Birgitte,

    I am surprised Neat Image didn't solve the problem, any chance you can show us an example and tell us what the source is; e.g. early P&S digital, scanned slide/negative or print, etc.?

    Or PM me a link to DropBox with a file and I'll see if I can do any better

    Thanks,

  8. #8

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    Re: How to remove noise from faces?

    Just download the free version of Noisware community edition

    DO A CUSTOM INSTALL to avoid installing toolbars you don't want

  9. #9

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    Re: How to remove noise from faces?

    Sorry Geoff F that I have not reacted to your answer before now (because of illness).

    It confirms my impression that it helped to first blur and sharpen locally. Thank you! I had started to fear that I migth deteriorate the file too much and maybe end up with artefacts in the printed file.

    I shall also try your suggestion with the double raw conversion. All my own files are raw that I most often open as smarts objects but the "inherited" family ones (that I try to save and improve) are all poorer quality JPEGs that came into my hands after conversion to TIFFs and I hope to improve these at least somewhat.

    Git

    Your answer was very helpful!

  10. #10

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    Re: How to remove noise from faces?

    Thank you Chauncey and excuse my late reading of the answer. This supports me like the first answer.

    Git
    Last edited by Git; 27th October 2013 at 09:29 AM.

  11. #11

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    Re: How to remove noise from faces?

    Hi Davey, I thougth that I had just made a reply but it seems to have disappeared.

    I shall try the high pass filter. Thank you!

    Git

  12. #12

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    Re: How to remove noise from faces?

    Hi jcuknz and Robertsmx,

    You are probably rigth that I should accept the photos as they were made - it least it is a giant task that I have given myself.

    They are nearly all only going to be used in family photo books (my own files are in addition used for experimenting and giving a more "artistic" expressure before being printed out at home with my good Epson printer - only a few of these "inherited files are good enough for that but I would like to make them as pleasing to the eyes of my grandchildren as possible).

    I will try to find an example to show.

    Git

    P.S. I am not sure what IMO means?

  13. #13

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    Re: How to remove noise from faces?

    Hi Dave H,

    Thats kind of you.

    As soon as I get organised again after my illness I shall find examples and try to treat them in various of the above proposed ways.

    I am at present in doubt wether to use ACR CC noise removal and sharpening or Neat Image on a smart object without sharpening before output. I have been worried that too much sharpening during the course of editing the files in PS migth cause artefacts in the output. The truth is that I am only an amateur and that these files do really contain a lot o luminance and color noise and also may have empty pixels.

    Git

  14. #14

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    Re: How to remove noise from faces?

    Hi JR1,

    I shall try this software.

    Git

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    Re: How to remove noise from faces?

    I think that IMO was "in my opinion", but there are 46 other options from
    http://www.acronymfinder.com/IMO.html
    (I'm moving on, I mean obviously etc, but probably not the Irish Medical Organisation)

  16. #16

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    Re: How to remove noise from faces?

    Hi Birgitte,

    Almost by definition noise reduction and sharpening are a trade-off.

    Theory is one thing, but in practice it might be different -- what would really help is if you could post us a link to a full-resolution version (one that's not too personal) for us to evaluate.

    Photoshop has some incredibly powerful batch-processing tools that may be able to be applied to all 1000 images in just a few clicks -- but no way to know without seeing at least one image to start with.

  17. #17

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    Re: How to remove noise from faces?

    Noiseware community edition, free and simple

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