There are some last words that I want to say about noise reduction. First, almost all noise reduction plugins on the market work globally, reducing noise in the whole image. I believe that is what Neat Image does, Noise Ninja does so and Topaz Denoise does so as well. Only Nik Dfine is an exception.
Of course you can always use masks to either paint the noise reduction onto the image, just like you do it with Noise Ninja’s “noise brush”, or use an inverted luminance mask to tie the intensity of the noise reduction to tonal value, or use a mask derived from a color range selection. In that way Nik Dfine’s control points (called U-Points) are just another, admittedly very clever way to define a mask.
I have never used Nik Dfine, but I know Nik’s U-Point technology from Nikon Capture NX2. It is a very easily understandable way of selection and of direct control. I have no doubt that it works for noise reduction just as well as it does for contrast, brightness and saturation.
Topaz Denoise, on the other hand, works globally, but it also offers plenty of control, and it does so in very meaningful ways. You can control the overall strength of the effect, adjust separately for the red and the blue channel, for the shadows and the highlights, you have separate sliders for recovering details and for removing blur (which is a kind of sharpening, but not exactly so), and you can even add in a variable amount of fine monochrome noise. But although this is plenty of control, even my first efforts came out better than what Noise Ninja would offer me. Since then I have played around many times, often with the images that I have already shown you, and in almost all cases I can do even better now.
To conclude this, Topaz Denoise works reasonably well with one of the presets, and with experience and some effort you can turn the results to excellent. While the advantage over other plugins, when using the presets, is not that big, it becomes dramatic as soon as you know what you’re doing and as soon as you invest a minute tweaking an image. Thus if you are looking for a good noise reduction plugin, Topaz Denoise should be among those that you try. I’m sure you’ll like it.
This is hail in the Image of the Day. We had quite some thunderstorm on Monday, and I was lucky to not get caught in the open 🙂