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There used to be quite a few noise reduction tools/plugins on the market. Over the past few years most software makers have eliminated the one-trick ponies in favor of a generic noise reduction tool in their jack-of-all-trades editing suites.
While it is certainly convenient to have all of your tools in one place, I think quality of some of these tools, specifically those for noise reduction, have suffered.
Thankfully my friends at Topaz Labs haven’t forgotten the value of a piece of software that does one thing – and does it exceptionally well.
Topaz Labs recently released Topaz DeNoise AI – the long-awaited update to the original Topaz DeNoise. DeNoise AI is a new artificial intelligence/machine learning powered noise reduction tool that can reduce (and often eliminate) noise while preserving an exceptional amount of detail.
I’ve been running several different types of images through Topaz DeNoise AI – high ISO, low-quality iPhone photos, under-exposed raw images where I dramatically opened up the shadows – and in all of those situations, the results from DeNoise AI have been impressive.
The Topaz DeNoise AI Interface
Topaz DeNoise AI’s interface is simple and intuitive. You can drag and drop a photo, and the application does the work.
There are a few options:
- Auto Brighten Preview
- Remove Noise
- Enhance Sharpness
- Restore Detail
Most often I stick with the default settings, but there have been a few images where I’ve had to increase the Remove Noise slider a bit. I encourage you to play with the sliders (there are only 3 of them!) to see how they affect your photo.
It is worth noting that on my somewhat aged MacBook Pro (mid 2015) it does take a bit of time to process each image. There is a ton of fancy math going on behind the scenes so make sure you allow for refresh time between adjustments, and time for the final processing when you hit Save.
Reducing Noise on High-ISO Photos
Most modern cameras have exceptional capabilities at high-ISOs. I’m still shooting with my trusty Canon 6D, which is by technology standards, is getting a bit long in the tooth. It does pretty well at high-ISOs, but in the image below I was at ISO 5000 – and it shows.
I opened my raw .CR2 file directly into Topaz DeNoise AI and the photos below show the result of the default settings. The only thing I altered was Auto Brighten Preview which lets me see the effect of the noise reduction a bit better – it doesn’t alter the brightness of the final image.
I don’t know about you, but I find those results to be wildly impressive! DeNoise AI did a spectacular job of removing noise while retaining crisp detail.
Noise Reduction for Under Exposed Images
We’re all guilty….taking the shot before checking our settings. Perhaps we caught the moment, but the photograph is under exposed. Luckily we shoot raw (you do shoot raw, right? If not, you should…but that is a topic for another day) so we can open up the shadows.
We head into our tone settings and brighten up the image only to see that there is a TON of noise in those shadows, even though we were shooting at a low ISO. Luckily, Topaz DeNoise AI can help in this situation, too!
Given the amount I had to brighten that image (3 full stops!!) I’m pretty stoked with the artifacts that I was able to remove and the detail that remains.
Removing Small Sensor (iPhone) Noise
I captured this image of my fuzzy buddy, Pumpkin, in a hotel room (we recently moved across country). The light was perfect and I loved the contrast of his gorgeous fur with the teal chair. He looked so regal!
I grabbed my iPhone 7+ and snapped a few photos with the Lightroom Mobile camera which captures images in DNG format. Even though this photo was captured at ISO 32, the small sensor size of the iPhone creates a lot of unwanted artifacts.
I found it absolutely remarkable that Topaz DeNoise AI retained so much of the upholstery’s texture. The after image also has great detail in his eyes, fur, and the wall…but the noise is gone!
Get Topaz DeNoise AI
Topaz DeNoise AI is replacing:
Already own the original Topaz DeNoise or Topaz AI Clear? DeNoise AI is a free upgrade!! Simply download DeNoise AI from the Topaz Labs website and sign in using your email/username for your Topaz account.
New users: Click here to get DeNoise AI and be sure to enter ANGANDRIEUX at checkout to save an additional 15% on your entire Topaz Labs purchase! Want to try before you buy? Topaz also offers a free 30 day trial!