Software Review: Topaz DeNoise

Topaz Labs - Topaz DeNoise Photoshop Plugin

I sat down last night to see if Topaz DeNoise was all it’s cracked up to be. No matter how hard you try, every so often you will find yourself in a situation where your settings were off or the light changed or you’re shooting at night and your image has a lot of noise. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the most technical photographer out there when it comes to making sure I have everything set properly in-camera. So this happens to me every so often.

To show an example of the kind of noise that can arise when your settings are a little off, here’s a closeup detail of shot I took over the summer with Kim and I took off for Niagara Falls for a spontaneous weekend away. It was a little dark and when I increased the exposure in post, the noise really came out.

Topaz DeNoise Before

As you can see, it’s not too bad, but is noticeable and it’s got to go. I usually do some noise reduction in Lightroom or ACR but it’s not quite right. So, I brought the image into Photoshop CS4 as a Smart Object and applied the Topaz DeNoise plugin to it so it would work as a Smart Filter. I used one of the presets and played with the sliders only a little bit here and there and the results were fantastic:

Topaz DeNoise After

I was expecting to lose detail as though I used a surface blur but Topaz DeNoise targeted only the noise within the image and left the edges and details alone. This wasn’t necessarily a “throw away” shot before, but it’s definitely a keeper now. With just a few clicks I was saved from having to make some tough choices about sacrificing detail to lose the noise.

There’s really not much else to say about it, other than Topaz DeNoise simply does what it’s supposed to. It has all of the pros and cons I mentioned in my post about Topaz Adjust and the price ($79.99) is definitely with reach and I’d say is worth it for the job that it does fixing a tough problem.

I couldn’t just leave the photo at that, I had to keep playing around with Adjust to make the shot even better. Here’s the original:

Original Image - Before Topaz DeNoise and Topaz Adjust

And here is the final image. All I did was adjust the exposure and white balance in ACR, apply Topaz DeNoise, make a few enhancements based on a preset in Topaz Adjust, and add a touch of lens vignetting:

Niagara Falls - After Topaz DeNoise and Topaz Adjust

Comments:
  • Pretty impressive stuff Jason. I still don’t think LR/ACR has it quite right yet and these types of plug-ins are very useful. It’s done a great job of this image.

    September 30, 2009 at 3:51 am
  • The difference between “before” and “after” is remarkable. Thank you for demonstrating this plug-in so clearly.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:44 pm

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