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Smoothing HUGE grain globally yet retaining detail

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  #1  
Old 10-23-2009, 05:54 AM
terraform terraform is offline
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Talking Smoothing HUGE grain globally yet retaining detail

hello
I have an interesting dilemma...
I have many video still that I need to retouch to make as nice as humanly possible.

the problem (one of the problems)
is that there was a adapter on the camera that shot the video
this adapter adds grain to the video to make it look more cinematic.

for video it works and looks great.

however when we extract the stills there is HUGE grain that needs to be minimized.

is there a way to smooth these areas without loosing much detail?
any methods, tricks, tutorials, setting or any other pointers will be greatly appreciated.

I have included a link to 2 images
one is a straight video grab and the second is with some highpass sharpening (which works but also sharpens the "grain")

for those of you curious of the workflow

I pick and export the stills using Aqaufadas Snapflow
saved as a tiff
imported into photoshop
upResed with Genuine Fractals
then sharpened with a highpass filter (around 3) and a opacity overlay

here it is straight
here

and below it is sharpened

here

thanks for looking...
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  #2  
Old 10-23-2009, 08:15 AM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: Smoothing HUGE grain globally yet retaining de

The first thing you should do is run a good noise filter on the images - like Noiseware or Noise Ninja. Stills from video tend to have a lot of noise and the detail quality is poor to begin with, so sharpening is a challenge.With high pass sharpening you may need to be careful with the radius. If your images are the same resolution and size as the one in your link, you may need to go lower than 3px. For these types of images it is often desireable to create an Edge Mask and apply it to the sharpened layer. This however adds a number of steps and may be rather time consuming if you have a large number of images.
Regards, Murray
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File Type: jpg Terraform 001 Noiseware.jpg (166.0 KB, 38 views)
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Old 10-23-2009, 08:35 AM
terraform terraform is offline
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Re: Smoothing HUGE grain globally yet retaining de

Hey Murray
thanks so much for the quick reply
the attached images does look considerably better.
what noise filter did you use if you don't mind my asking.

I am not set on any particular workflow it was suggested by me to try the high pass method.

with what you are describing with an Edge Mask (which I have never used before but will look into it) would you apply that mask to the high pass layer or would you not go the high pass route at all

I really don't mind having a number of steps as this project is pretty important to me...

I shot a documentary film in India this last year and I have so many great frames that I would really like to get the image quality to the point where I could maybe publish a modest size book or even have a gallery show of stills (smaller prints of course)

any advice for workflows or general image enhancement are very welcome.

I am a longtime PS user (12 years) but unfortunately have not kept up with the advancements but am willing to do what it takes to do justice to many of these great frames.

ideally I would love to have a automated workflow for the more generic steps
then go in and really retouch and make each still perfect.

thanks so much for getting back to me again.

in general if anyone has any suggestions to software (plugins or standalone)
that will help this process please let me know.
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Old 10-23-2009, 08:44 AM
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philbach philbach is offline
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Getting the Noise Out

I first copied the layer and used screen blending mode to lighten up the image
Next I used Neat Image to remove the noise
Finally I sharpened the image using the Lightness Channel in Lab
And if you have numerous images you could make an action to run this on numerous photos
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File Type: jpg NeatImage.jpg (188.0 KB, 31 views)
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  #5  
Old 10-23-2009, 09:29 AM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: Smoothing HUGE grain globally yet retaining de

Despite Photoshop being around now for almost 20 years, the programs dumb noise filters are seriously lacking when it comes to some types of noise removal and most members find the need for dedicated 3rd party noise removal plug-in or programs. The most popular ones out there are Noisware, Neat Image, Noise Ninja, and Denoise (Topaz Labs). I have tried them all and prefer Noiseware by Imagenomic.

Yes, The Edge Mask is applied to the High Pass layer. It basically exposes the edges of the image to sharpening and masks out the smooth areas where you have not a lot of detail but noise or specs that you do not want sharpened.
With this technique you can add three additional dimensions of control over your sharpening:
1. Add a Curves or Levels adj layer above the High Pass layer and clip it to to High Pass layer. By adjusting the contrast of the HP layer you will increase or decrease the amount of sharpening.
2. You can click on the layer mask and do a levels or curve adjustment on it which will also allow you to increase or decrease the sharpening effect.
3. You can reduce the opacity of the HP + Mask layer to back off the entire sharpening effect.

One of the best tutorials I have seen on creating an Edge Mask was done by Deke McCleland. Here is a link. If you follow the link you may not be able to access the tutorial content until you register.
http://www.deke.com/content/correcti...shop-edge-mask

Regards, Murray
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Old 10-23-2009, 11:42 AM
terraform terraform is offline
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Re: Smoothing HUGE grain globally yet retaining de

@ philbach
thanks for the advice I will play around with that
the demo version that I am trying for Neat Image seems pretty customizable.
however I can't seem to get as good of results as I am seeing from Noiseware
which out of the box is pretty damn impressive.

@ Mistermonday

again thanks for all of the advice
I did register for Deke's site but was having trouble finding the tutorial you mentioned
I did find a refine edge tut.
I am assuming that that is what you were referring to.
but if not please let me know.

also thanks for all the advice with the HP and edge sharpening
it seems like that will be the key to nailing this is smoothing the low detail areas and maintaining the edge and important details.

as far as thoughts on workflow for this does this seem logical

1. capture and export frame with SnapFlow (as Tiff which gives a 720 x 480 72 dpi image)
2. use a noise reduction plug in to minimize the noise.
3. make all other adjustments, and sharpen edges.
4. use Genuine Fractals (or any other suggestions?) program to up Res
5. apply any final output sharpening to the image.
6. use AlienSkin Exposure to add film grain and possibly a film stock "curve" to the image.

does that seem about right?

thanks again everyone.
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Old 10-23-2009, 12:58 PM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: Smoothing HUGE grain globally yet retaining de

No, it is not the Refine Edge Tut. The link I posted above will take you to the Tut called Correcting Archival Photo with Edge Mask (see the attachment below). While the tutorial shows how to sharpen a vintage B&W with an edgemask, the process is the same for color and the steps tp create the edge mask and sharpen the image are the same. Antique photos have the same problem - poor detail, lots of noise (and tiny mold spots etc).
As for the work flow, my tendency would be to upsize with GF right up front, then do all of the edits with sharpening last.
Rgds, Murray
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Edge Mask Tut.jpg (194.9 KB, 15 views)
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  #8  
Old 10-24-2009, 03:12 AM
terraform terraform is offline
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Re: Smoothing HUGE grain globally yet retaining de

and again thank you this tutorial looks very promising.
I most certainly see what you are saying about vid and vintage pix having the same issues.
I will play with this this weekend and see what I can come up with.
again thanks Murray!
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