Noise reduction


TPF Noob!
Sep 30, 2011
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I'm a beginner at photography. I have Lightroom and photoshop. My questions are, At what stage would you recommend applying the noise reduction? Should I apply at the RAW file in Lightroom or Camera RAW when I'm doing my initial Post Processing or should I do my initial post proceeding in Lightroom or Camera RAW, then move it to photoshop and apply the noise reduction using the photoshop filter? Should I wait till the end right before sharpening? Thank you for your help!!
Noise reduction and sharpening go hand-in-hand...but noise reduction should be done before sharpening. And don't just think that sharpening is the last step, a good sharpening routine will likely include some 'input sharpening', maybe some image specific sharpening and then output sharpening that is tailored to your final form (print (print size) or screen etc.)

As with most things in your digital workflow, it's best to do as much as possible before the RAW is processed. So that would be in LR or ACR. It doesn't really matter which order you do things in LR or ACR, when you export/process the image, the software will apply the edits in the best order.

So certainly do your noise reduction in LR or ACR...but if you have your image in PS instead, do the noise reduction first, because you don't want to sharpen noise.
Thank you for the helpful information. I appreciate it a lot.
I agree to an extent with Mike especially that sharpening and NR go hand in hand ( and we all have our own ways within the workflow)

In my many years of processing, I have found that noise reduction can be accomplished in many ways, but for me, the most accurate comes later in the workflo.

I always perform capture sharpening, not necessarily while in ACR though. If a general sharpening with unsharp mask can be done in the overall scene, then yes, otherwise I like to be able to be accurate and I can do that once converted to jpg, tiff or whatever you choose.

Sharpening is dependent on contrast and once you perform adjustments to the tonal range - be it color, curves, brightness etc, any sharpening after that will be done against that new contrast you may have created in your adjustment. With that said, this is why I choose to handle noise later in the workflow.

Color Banding, grain, and artifacts may now be more prevelant. I do a lot of my noise reduction with a PS plug in called noise ninja. I highly reccomend it or any of the other products out there. I always perform this on a stampped layer and I am able to mask and paint away any areas that do not need the NR.

This is jut my workflo and nothing contradicting the work of others. If you have nay questions, I'd be happy to answer them.
Thanks that's very helpful too, I know with photography there many workflow. It's good to see other people's workflow and the way they think about it. I usually would do it later in the workflow too, but before the sharpening. I'm still new to photoshop, I'm sure I will develop my workflow as I learn. I was mostly wondering about what people would recommend, if applying the noise reduction to the RAW file or to the file after imported to photoshop. Wondering what people prefer, the LR and ACR noise reduction or the PS noise reduction.
Gerado, You will find what works best for you and your intended output, whether it be for the web, small prints or large stuff.

The main reason I started doing it the way I described above was because I/my clients print a large number of large prints where I wouldn't want there to be a hint of noise. Although no one has ever mentioned it, I can look back on years of prints and see now in some images where I wished I would have processed a bit better at the time.

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