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Old May 16, 2011, 7:55 PM   #11
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Here is what I did with it with Noiseware, curves, sharpening and shadow/highlight. I left a little grain in or it would have smoothed out the faces to plastic. It should print pretty well for a album. Thanks for sharing and congratulations.
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Old May 17, 2011, 12:23 AM   #12
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Hi mtnman,

This will be a pretty long post, but I'll try to explain what I did and why.

Again, with the full resolution original to work with, this would be better than this result.

By downsizing with relatively high compression, compression artifacts were introduced (mostly at the bottom of the image) which took some additional processing. There was also some horizontal banding at the bottom, but this wasn't hard to deal with in the dark robes.

One thing that you might have noticed was that the noise wasn't as bad on the downsized image, and this is the first trick. By downsizing an image, each individual pixel of noise is blended with surrounding pixels which lowers the differentiation between them. With a very noisy image, I'll usually downsize it a bit as a first step, then apply NR (I use Topaz DeNoise). This allows you to use less NR, which usually blurs details. Of course, downsizing blurs details also, but usually less than most NR programs, especially if you use a good resizing algorithm (yes, there are different methods, so choose a good one like "Smart Size" or "Buicubic"). I like to downsize in steps -- the more fine detail I want to keep, the smaller the steps. I'll go with anywhere between two and 5 steps to get to the final image size. I'll sometimes use sharpening in between resizing steps if I see that the detail I want to keep is starting to fuzz out from the resizing.

Most current sources usually quote 300DPI as the ideal print resolution, but you can definitely get away with less. Some vision authorities say that most people can't tell much, if any difference between images printed at 160 or 300 DPI at regular viewing distances, and I agree. I even have quite a few 8x10 prints from files that yield as few as 80 DPI, and gotten wow-type comments. Don't take my word for it, try it yourself and establish your own standards. Once you've established a minimum DPI standard for your yourself, then just multiply by the size you want on the long side for output to determine how far you can ultimately downsize the image in PP.

Normally, I'd crop first, then downsize a K20 file to 3000 pixels on the long side, and for noisy shots, down to 2400 on the long side. I then apply DeNoise, starting with the Light jpeg preset, and moving up as needed. This example needed "Med Jpeg", backed off a little. When I find one that eliminates all the noise, I'll usually back it off a bit so it doesn't look completely smooth. I check the darker shadows and bump up the Adjust Shadow slider if necessary. With this example, there was a lot of Chroma (color) Noise, so I bumped the "Clean Color" slider quite a bit. I also used a bit of Horizontal Debanding.

Finally, I added a little bit of grain to keep it from looking too plasticky.

To get rid of the purple fringing (this differs from lateral CA in that there's no corresponding complimentary color band on the opposite side of the dark object like green/magenta, cyan/red, or blue/yellow) in the mortar boards, I used color mode cloning as Harriet mentioned to turn the color green using the lower section of the mortar board as the source and painting the color on the fringing. If you get sloppy and accidentally color the background, you can then use the background as the source color and redo the sloppy areas.

The fringed portion is usually brighter, so I then used the clone brush again, using the "darken" mode to bring it down to the same luminance as the rest or the mortar board. I went over the entire image to find areas where the color wasn't right and used the clone brush to make adjustments. I also used a large brush with the color clone to make the reddish area at the bottom of the image green again to match the rest of the robes.

As far as I know, using color cloning for CA/PF is my own invention, but I've never researched it, so I'm not sure.

Because of the compression artifacts, I also used Topaz DeJpeg with a light application to smooth the areas where the compression built little squares in the dark sections of the robes. This would not normally have to be done on originals.

I used Corel Paint Shop Photo Pro X2 to do all of this, but you could do all of this with the tools in PSE 9 AFAIK.

Topaz Denoise5 is the best NR program I've found, and if you don't want noise in your images, it's well worth the cost, IMO. I've used it for about the past year, and it's paid for itself about 10 times over for me. I use it on virtually all the images I process as it gives me the ability to do whatever I want without the risk of adding much in the way of unwanted artifacts.

Sounds hard, but it's not really. Hope that helps some.

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Old May 17, 2011, 1:06 PM   #13
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great results, you should put a tutorial together on de-noise an image.

You did a awesome job.

Please consider putting the Tut. together....

Kit lens 18-55mm
Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro Autofocus
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Old May 17, 2011, 5:06 PM   #14
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Scott, thank you very much for your very detailed explanation. I am very much encouraged that the photos I took will definitely be salvageable. I cannot say how much I appreciate your help.

I second Armando's suggestion that you put together a tutorial!
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Old May 17, 2011, 9:01 PM   #15
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MtnMan - Congratulations to the graduate!

Scott - Some amazing denoising work, and thanks for the detailed, thorough explanation!
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