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Mar 01, 2016

How to Reduce Noise in Photoshop

How to Reduce Noise in Photoshop

The best way to reduce noise in an image is to shoot with a low ISO in camera. The camera creates an exposure based on three values – ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed. ISO is the only variable that will result in noise. Ideally, one would adjust the shutter speed and aperture (to let in enough light to create an exposure) at a low ISO to prevent image noise.

The best ISO settings to use for lower noise levels are 100, 200, 400 and 800. Anything above that is likely to create noise on the image. Cameras are getting better all the time, and there will come a day when ISO 6400 looks perfectly clean, but until then, keep ISO as low as possible!

Reduce Noise Filter

The first step in removing noise in your image is to use the ‘Reduce Noise Filter’. In the ‘Reduce Noise Dialog’ one can control strength, preserve details, reduce color noise, and sharpen details. The strength of the filter determines how much it reduces noise – go as high as you need to remove noise, but don’t over-do it. Bringing the ‘Reduce Noise’ lower will make the filter more effective, but will also reduce detail in the image – find the balance that works best.

If there is a lot of color noise, use the ‘Reduce Color’ noise option to remove it. Also, there is an option in ‘Advanced Settings’ to reduce noise on each color channel individually. ‘Sharpen Details’ will add artificial sharpening to your image after the ‘Reduce Noise’ filter is added, so it’s best to keep this at zero.

Using the Surface Blur to Reduce Noise

If there is still noise after the ‘Reduce Noise’ filter is used, adding a Surface Blur may help. The key to using a Surface Blur to reduce noise in photos is to balance the radius and threshold. If the threshold is too low, the image will not be effected. Threshold controls where the blur will stop. It uses differences in tone to find edges, and tries to preserve those edges. The higher the threshold, the more separate elements in the image will blur into each other. The Blur radius determines the area that will be blurred – the larger the radius, the more blur.

It’s best to bring both of these values as high as possible without destroying image details.

25 Comments


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    Stephen

    Thanks I was just this means morning looking at this in Photoshop. Later I discovered your site.
    Great help.
    Again thanks
    Stephen

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    Stephen

    Thanks I was just this morning looking at this in Photoshop. Later I discovered your site. Very cool timing.
    You solved all my questions.
    Great help.
    Again thanks
    Stephen

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    Raymond

    Hi Arron great tutorial like always, very useful for me since I do a lot of dance clubs photography. I shoot raw and also recommend the camera raw filter, I use it to get rid of my noise on top of that smooth out the skin to a little bit not plastic looking I’ll never do that lol

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    Rafael Rincon

    Great work Aaron.

    Thanks for taking the time to create this videos

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    Colin Hart

    This is superb! I’ve shared it to “Concert photographers around the world” on Facebook as it’s such a great tutorial for the challenges that we often face

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    Yves

    Please for a next post…. How to Reduce Noise in Lightroom, and is that the same result with the same image ?
    Thank’s for this tut.
    Yves/CH Switzerland.

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    Alex Wolf

    Thanks for the tips Aaron!

    Do you find yourself also using noise reduction in Lightroom or Camera Raw before bringing in Photoshop? Curious to know how it compares.

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    Mark Sachs

    The timing was perfect for this Phlearning experience. I really liked the way you recapped the highlights at the end. It was very easy to follow and I can’t wait to try it out on some shots from this week.

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    Rudel

    I really appreciate your way of teaching photoshop, I have learned a whole lot from your videos. I have a problem trying to get 2 photos into one workflow area so I can take the sky from one photo and add it to another photo. I get the 2 photos up but they are on 2 separate tabs. How can I get them in the same tab?

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    Philip(Photophil) Henderson

    Hi Aaron, I have been a retired photographer while my son was growing up. Now that he is almost 18 & I am now single again i will be getting back on the road again to meet back up with the bands i shot with my 35mm film cameras. Yes Yours are the BEST videos I have seen to date! I have much to learn and will most likely give Thanks to you when I write my book and show my shots thru the years with shots & interviews I will soon be traveling to capture. I am not 1/2 way in scanning my 35mm files and have so much work to be done editing my “Golden Oldies” . I look forward to seeing what you have to teach this ol dog. Keep up the Great Job!! Each of your videos will be greatly beneficial to me as i am sure they are to the rest of the world. Rock On!

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    dave wettlaufer

    Like always, i have always learned something from your programs, I use my “state of the art” cellphone/camera when Im out and about and the photos shows a lot of noise, Now I cant do much of the fixed setting but with photoshop maybe my photos wont be a bust.
    love the show.

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    Steve

    Aaron;
    Been watching your photoshop videos for some time, learned a ton. Thanks
    Trying to remove the background contained in drink glasses, can’t seem to find a video on the
    web that describes how to do this. Do you have a video that shows how this is done, or perhaps
    you could do one. I’m sure that I’m not the only person who wants to know this.

    Enjoy Mexico.

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    David

    Thanks for another great lesson. I do a lot of concerts and this is so helpful. Sorry that you want to leave Chicago, especially now that winter is over. Thanks for opening up your studio for the CL event in Chicago.

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    Peter b

    As always Aaron a great presentation. This is a useful technique for modest amounts of noise but if you have a serious problem, like iso 20,000 for example, then I recommend the Topaz Denoise plugin for Photoshop & Lightroom. It is very effective at removing noise whilst doing an outstanding job of retaining detail. Version 6 has just been released and that has a standalone mode.

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    NelNieves

    Wouldn’t the Median filter do a better job than the surface blur? That filter is found just under the Noise filter. I figure they must be in the same category for a reason…

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    Saad

    thanks you so much Aaron! and your “arrivederci” was good enough 😛

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    kellyn

    thank you so much for this! and the vid on using the Shadow/Highlight adjustment. Ur the Phlearnmaster.

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    Andrea Fine

    I love our visits. I always learn so much and enjoy you as a presenter. Educational and Fun? What a concept.