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Old Jul 15, 2003, 1:20 PM   #1
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Who uses Neat Image to eliminate noise?

What settings do you use. All I seem to end up with is a soft blurry image.

I'd appreciate any advice as my Oly 730's images are often noisy.
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Old Jul 15, 2003, 1:49 PM   #2
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i do.

first thing you must learn is to read the manual from end to end. you will learn that in better then 60% of the time you will not use what i refer to as autopilot (letting the program do the all the work)
it is not. i have had great success with it.

you work with it for a while and create a profile or 2 or 3. it is not the easiest program to use.

this is an iso 1000 image from a 1Ds that cleaned up fairly well. hand held too

http://www.pbase.com/image/18747451
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Old Jul 15, 2003, 1:59 PM   #3
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Steve,

Neat Image takes a bit of practice, but nothing else I've found does as good a job on noise. I have colleagues who regularly return from visiting clients (schools and colleges), bringing back horribly under-exposed and noisy pictures taken in large halls. Boosting the brightness of the pic (using layers and screen in PSP or PS) produces a reasonably bright but very noisy picture. Neat Image rarely fails to rescue the situation.

There are no "right" settings - it depends on your camera, on the ISO setting in use and a number of other factors - and on the result you want to achieve. Take a look at www.neatimage.com. Select "How to use" then "Test target". The test targets are available by clicking the appropriate resolution in point 1 under "Digital camera profiling". Take shots directly of the screen using your favourite camera settings, remembering that each ISO setting will need its own calibration file.

When fine tuning the settings, be quite conservative - leave a little noise in the picture or it is likely to get that partially-melted plastic look. Save the calibrations to disk for reuse. This will save you having to calibrate individually for each picture, though there will still be times when this produces the best result.

If you use any other sharpening process, like Nik or Qimage, or if you routinely sharpen in your editor after all other processing, I find it best to turn off the sharpening in Neat Image.

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Old Jul 15, 2003, 3:02 PM   #4
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I do too.
The key point is defining your noise pattern, ie selecting the right “offending” pattern (or area). If you select a too wide area , you end up to smooth even the right details to keep (what I suspect you did) .
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Old Jul 15, 2003, 3:34 PM   #5
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You've already had a lot of very good answers, but to add one further point to it - you'll almost always find that setting the noise removal at 100% will produce an unatural and plastic look - I very rarely work with the noise reduction at more than about 60%.

The beauty is that you can preview the results before you process the entire image - select an important area and try it at different settings and see which you like the look of best. You will almost certainly have to compromise between noise reduction and loss of detail and textures, there is a point that if you cross, your images will look like they've been through NeatImage and won't look natural.

So as suggested, set a custom profile by testing the noise in various plain areas of the images and then the noise reduction settings for that image. If you have a lot of images from the same shoot on the same settings, save your settings for further use on the same batch, once done and working to your satisfaction, it will spead up the rest of the batch.

It really does work, it has saved many images for me as I do a lot of low light live music work.
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Old Jul 15, 2003, 4:02 PM   #6
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You get the 'blurry look' if you haven't read the guide and choose an area of your picture that has detail in it to create a profile e.g grass! As long as you can find a plain area of colour or grey without detail it works great - but it's a bit slow on 6Mpix images.

After a while you realise that it's not always possible to find a plain area in every pic, so making your own profiles for the camera settings likely to produce noise will help.

Another tip, is when shooting at the higher ISO's or shutter speeds, pop a shot of something plain, under similar lighting and exposure settings, get close to fill the frame if you have to and defocus a bit, avoid electronic zoom, a plain featureless wall or ceiling works OK. Try this out as a custom profile when you get back to the PC.

I tried the sharpening, but I still prefer PS. This program really does work! VOX
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Old Jul 16, 2003, 12:17 PM   #7
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Thanks Guys, good useful info. I've had a few more goes and I'm getting there - had the noise settings too high.

Quote:
I very rarely work with the noise reduction at more than about 60%.
I reckon I agree with that.

Quote:
first thing you must learn is to read the manual from end to end
Steady-on, that's a bit drastic :lol:

Quote:
this is an iso 1000 image from a 1Ds that cleaned up fairly well. hand held too
Very good that!!
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Old Jul 16, 2003, 2:14 PM   #8
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After reading everyone's posts, I'm still confused as to how to properly use this darn program!!

DOH!

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Old Jul 16, 2003, 3:27 PM   #9
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have you read the manual on its use? :shock:
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Old Jul 16, 2003, 5:54 PM   #10
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I must admit I missed the preview option the first time round, but once found and with a decent featureless part of a pic to profile, and some waiting patience (even on a 1Ghz PC) the results were very good.

Starting at the cheapest end I thought the batch mode for more than 15 pics would be worthwhile. Now I've seen how long NI takes to do one 6Mpix image (6 minutes!) I shall only be using it on selected pics that need it. The Pro+ version though is worth the extra for the PS plugin and uncompressed output file options, keeping all the workflow inside PS, avoids the need to produce a TIFF first and import it.

You might not need NI on new cams if this link is anything to go by:

http://www.eet.com/semi/news/OEG20030527S0023

VOX
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