Quick question NR before or after PP
Trevor Carpenter wrote:
Just like people's opinion which do you think is the most effective.eg I've just cropped, output looks a little noisy , I could do some NR or I could go back to original do some NR and then recrop-- hide signature --
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Any heavier tonal adjustments or sharpening in PP can exaggerate noise and create artifacts. So if I'm going to apply heavier tonal adjustments or sharpening I will do a pass or noise reduction before attempting any PP, and maybe another pass.
If you haven't tried it I would try Topaz DeNoise 5. It'is by far the best noise reduction software I've used for removing noise and leaving the detail. It can be quite magic in how it does it, as even pixel peeping at several hundred percent you can't see any true detail being removed. What's more that's just with the pre-sets. You will get the odd image where very fine detail is lost. If you want to keep the detail it's relatively easy to create a mask layer to avoid that part being effected. There's also an excellent tutorial video on YouTube which shows how to customize the settings. The main downside to DeNoise is that it isn't as fast as software like Neat Image. Although it's not slow on a newer computer, and it's only really if you were batch processing lots of files where this might be an issue. DeNoise is available on a 30 day trial so nothing is lost if you don't like it.
I'd recommend putting noise reduction and sharpening on separate layers. This makes it easy to fine tune adjustments by using the density sliders on the layers. So if the noise reduction or sharpening is a bit too much for your taste it's easy to reduce the effect just by reducing the density of the layers. I've even tweaked white balance like that. Sometimes the best result lies between the present white balance and a slightly tweaked version. The solution is simple, just reduce the layer density until you've got the best compromise. It means you don't have to make any final decisions on the strength of a setting until the end. Plus if you want to think about for a bit, just save it in a file format where layers can be saved, and you can put it aside.
Having said all that, if it's just removing a bit of noise induced by PP, a single pass at the end will do. However, if you're a perfectionist and you want the best possible results that can stand pixel peeping, you've got to remove the noise before PP, and preferrably starting with a flat, unsharpened, and un-noise reduced original. That's because DeNoise makes a much better job of noise reduction than any in camera noise reduction or even on computer based noise reduction software. If you don't remove the noise first it can act as a key for the sharpening. It's much more difficult to correct these artifacts after they have occurred, than by removing the noise before it forms these artifacts.