Raw PP, how to get smooth colors like OOC Jpeg?

Started Dec 16, 2012 | Discussions thread
Karl Gohl Contributing Member • Posts: 718
Move back from your monitor

If your screen is 100ppi, looking at your photo at 100% is like looking at a 49" (125cm) wide print. Normal viewing distance for an image that big is two to five times farther back than normal monitor viewing distance.   If you view from farther back, you may see that the "noisy" version looks better than the smoothed out jpeg version.  When you have noise and detail mixed together, you have to trade off removing noise with losing detail, and viewing at 100% will often lead you to overdo the noise reduction (unless you view from farther back).

In-camera conversions usually apply a lot of noise reduction so people won't see much noise even in low detail areas (e.g. skies) when viewing at 100%. But that means detail in high detail areas is smoothed away.  One of the advantages of using raw is that you can apply different levels of noise reduction to different parts of the image.  For example, consider a picture of trees below a blue sky.  Setting global noise-reduction high enough to get a noiseless sky (especially if viewed at 100%) may leave the trees looking blah.  It's not uncommon for me to use an adjustment brush in Lightroom to apply extra noise reduction to the sky or set a high global noise reduction amount and then use an adjustment brush to reduce the noise reduction in high detail areas.

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