When it comes to HDR tone mapping, noise can be your worst enemy and many times can separate a good shot from a great shot.  However, there are a plethora of options on the market for noise reduction.  If you are anything like me, you like to attack the noise after the images have been tone mapped and more specifically, like to tackle this noise as the first step in your post processing.  I here it all the time, well what about Lightroom and Camera Raw?  Sure they are 2 of the very good noise reduction options, but I like to make my noise reduction on a separate layer so I can have full control of it’s effects and not be limited by sliders and adjustment brushes.

Due to my post processing I have found Topaz DeNoise to be an awesome addition to my HDR tool box.  It is built right into Photoshop and aids in seamless noise reduction during my post processing.  I can treat my noise reduced layer as a mask, add blending options to it and a whole lot more.

The Interface:

The Good:  

  • The built in presets are perfect for a quick noise fix and quite honestly will be your go to option for a while before you feel comfortable moving sliders around.
  • The noise reduction is very clean and accurate.  When it comes to noise reduction, regardless of what program or software you are using, you are going to lose detail, that is a given.  DeNoise, does a great job of retaining a great amount of detail while still allowing for a clean noise reduction to the photo globally.
  • DeNoise processes relatively fast for what it is doing.  Many other programs run a tad slower.
  • DeNoise can really make a poor quality JPEG look great and even puts up a serious fight against JPEG artifacts.
  • Complete color noise control during the reduction process.  You can pop in and out of each channel individually to really get in and rub that pesky color noise out.
  • Applying the noise reduction to a duplicate layer in Photoshop really allows one with full control over the effects of the noise reduction at hand.
  • The quality of the finished product is impeccable!

The Bad:

  • The inability to create the noise reduction on a duplicate layer directly in the DeNoise plug-in.  I often forget to duplicate my layer prior to opening DeNoise, I then apply the noise reduction and have to undo, duplicate my layer and then reapply the noise.

The Bottom Line:

While it may seem pretty steep at $80.00 it is worth every pretty penny.  Noise can make or break an HDR image, it is nice to have such an incredible noise reduction tool at my fingertips.  With DeNoise, I have the presence of mind that my HDR images are in good hands when it comes to superb noise reduction.  Try it for 30 days, you can’t go wrong.

Blake Rudis
f.64 Academy and f.64 Elite are the brainchildren of Blake Rudis. While he is a landscape photographer he is most passionate about post-processing images in Photoshop and mentoring others.

For Blake, it is less about the art and more about the process. He dives deep into difficult topics and makes them easy to understand through his outside the box thinking.
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