Dfine vs Neat Image PS Plug-ins for Nikon D100

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Steve Edwards, Jan 26, 2004.

  1. I'm trying to decide on one of these two plug-ins. I want to use them for
    digital pictures from a Nikon D100. The pictures are at high ISO 800-1600
    and I would like to be able to do batch operations.

    Any suggestions or watch outs?

    thanks

    Steve
     
    Steve Edwards, Jan 26, 2004
    #1
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  2. Steve Edwards

    Paolo Pizzi Guest

    I use NeatImage Pro Plus. It comes with a stand-alone application
    and a PS plugin. I use the latter all the time, very powerful and
    extremely convenient. Similar NR products may be a little easier
    to learn and maybe less expensive but IMHO none is as powerful
    as Neat Image. It takes some time before you master it, but once
    you fully understand how it works, you will get great results.
     
    Paolo Pizzi, Jan 26, 2004
    #2
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  3. Thanks

    I liked the results I got from the Neat Image demo better than Dfine, so I
    continue to lean that way.

    Steve
     
    Steve Edwards, Jan 26, 2004
    #3
  4. Steve Edwards

    Dave Oddie Guest

    When used as a plug-in can the noise reduction be limited to a selection or the
    contents of a layer?

    The reason I ask is I have tried Neat Image as a stand alone application trying
    to de-noise some high ISO shots from the dpreview site as a test case.

    I chose one with trees in the shot and when de-noising the image well enough to
    remove noise from areas of smooth texture it also lost most of the detail in
    the leaves on the trees.

    I then tried Noise Ninja and that has a nice little feature whereby you can
    "paint" over the filtered image so that the original pixels replace those in
    the output image.

    So I was able to get the detail back in trees.

    However it would be nice to be able to apply the noise reduction selectively in
    the first place rather than go through this post-noise reduction step.

    Maybe I have been missing something on how to use Neat Image but with high iso
    high noise images whenever I got rid of the noise I got rid of other detail as
    well.

    Dave
     
    Dave Oddie, Jan 27, 2004
    #4
  5. SNIP
    Yes on both counts.
    That indicates that the settings were not optimal. With practice, detail
    loss can practically be avoided while noise reduction is still performed. It
    is also beneficial to leave a little noise in the image, because that
    reduced potential posterization.
    A layer technique in Photoshop gives most flexibility, because you can
    adjust a mask on the Neat layer indefinitely.
    Try reducing the Luminance noise reduction amount (Y) a bit (40-50%).
    Building a good noise profile in the first place, helps tremendously.

    Bart
     
    Bart van der Wolf, Jan 27, 2004
    #5
  6. Hi Bart and Dave --

    Just want to add 2 cents to the idea that
    Neat Image, when set correctly, can remove
    copious amounts of noise while preserving
    and even enhancing all useful/visible detail.
    You've gotta practice a bit, but for deep-imaging-geeks addicted to
    playful exploration of cybernia and its pixellated environs
    that's a no-painer.

    -- stan
     
    Stanley Krute, Jan 27, 2004
    #6
  7. Steve Edwards

    Paolo Pizzi Guest

    Yes and yes.
    Sounds like your settings aren't right. You need a reliable noise
    profile to start with. Check with the ABSoft website, they have
    a bunch available for download for all DSLR's.
     
    Paolo Pizzi, Jan 28, 2004
    #7
  8. Steve Edwards

    Dave Oddie Guest

    Very good................I think :)

    Dave
     
    Dave Oddie, Jan 28, 2004
    #8
  9. Steve Edwards

    Dave Oddie Guest

    I have a Minolta A1 and tried the profile on the Neat Image site for that which
    was produced by another A1 user (I think).

    I am curious as to how a noise profile which sounds like a "one size fits all"
    approach to noise reduction can work for all images. Surely some images will
    have fine detail that will be taken as noise by the noise reduction software?

    Dave
     
    Dave Oddie, Jan 28, 2004
    #9
  10. Steve Edwards

    Paolo Pizzi Guest

    NeatImage works very much by "pattern recognition".
    In fact, the first step to successful noise removal is to
    have the program analyze the most consistent and featurless
    area in your photo. That's why loading a camera-specific
    profile is important, so that program knows what kind of
    noise pattern to look for, by comparing the profile to the
    section of the photo it is analyzing. But that's only the
    beginning...
     
    Paolo Pizzi, Jan 28, 2004
    #10
  11. Steve Edwards

    Dave Oddie Guest

    Ok. Before buying the A1 I was using a download of one of Phil Askey's images
    taken with that camera at ISO 400 as a test.

    This one in fact:

    http://img2.dpreview.com/gallery/minoltadimagea1_samples1/originals/030923-1833-29-a.jpg

    The trees at the bottom left lost all detail when I Neat Imaged it to get rid
    of the noise on the white walls - which it got rid of very well. It just took
    half the leaves with it.

    The was using the noise profile for the A1 from the Neat Image web site.

    If you could give a clue as to how to de-noise this image properly that would
    be great as aquiring the skill to do so would be useful for the type of images
    I shoot.

    I tend to prefer the Neat Image GUI to that of Noise Ninja and especially like
    the ability to switch instantly from the processed to the unprocessed image
    (which NN does not allow).

    Dave
     
    Dave Oddie, Jan 28, 2004
    #11
  12. Steve Edwards

    Paolo Pizzi Guest

    http://img2.dpreview.com/gallery/minoltadimagea1_samples1/originals/030923-1833-29-a.jpg

    Whoa, this is one I would toss rather than try to fix... :)
    This is possibly one of the worst case scenarios, since the
    photo ranges from severely under-exposed (at the bottom)
    to severely over-exposed (at the top.) Obviously there is
    no way you can fix it with common settings, you'll have
    to work section by section and it will be VERY time-
    consuming.

    You start by identifying the various areas of the picture
    that need more or less treatment and you work with
    PS selections. Find "consistent" patches (i.e. solid color
    areas with no details) within every area and have them
    analyzed by NeatImage. Work with layers so that every
    attempt can be easily undone. A good job on this one
    would take hours and the results will not be breathtaking.
    In other words, it's not worth it. Way too much detail
    is permanently lost and NeatImage is not a miraculous
    cure.
     
    Paolo Pizzi, Jan 29, 2004
    #12
  13. Steve Edwards

    Dave Oddie Guest

    Well I guess I did choose a bad one!
    That is what I thought (about Neat Image having its limitations) but I was
    starting to think there were Neat Image experts out there who could rescue this
    image by a few judicious tweaks here and there in one go.

    Given what you say you would have to do to use Neat Image on this photo I think
    Noise Ninja is a better tool to try and get something out it. As I said you
    can apply a general noise reduction and then use a wand type tool to restore
    original pixels (in the tress for example) to fix the over-processed parts of
    the image.

    While waving the wand over the image is a bit time consuming it sounds a lot
    less time consuming than the process you describe and probably equates better
    to how much effort it is worth spending on the image.

    Conclusion? Have both Neat Image and Noise Ninja available!

    Dave
     
    Dave Oddie, Jan 29, 2004
    #13
  14. Steve Edwards

    Paolo Pizzi Guest

    You can do the same with NeatImage. Select areas you don't
    want affected by the NR first, invert the selection and proceed.
     
    Paolo Pizzi, Jan 29, 2004
    #14
  15. Steve Edwards

    Chris Hoopes Guest

    The nice thing about NeatImage is that if you don't want to use one of the
    ready-made camera-specific profiles, you can create your own profiles for
    each ISO directly from your own camera.
     
    Chris Hoopes, Jan 29, 2004
    #15
  16. I gave it a try as an overall NI operation.
    http://www.xs4all.nl/~bvdwolf/temp/030923-1833-29-a-NI.png (6.62MB), I saved
    it as a lossless PNG, so it's three times bigger than the JPEG, but I didn't
    want to lose more detail. It'll be up for download temporarily.

    Because it was a JPEG it also accumulated JPEG artifacts, which had to be
    removed (in addition to the ISO 400 noise). I usually work on better base
    material, and work on layers. This, which I didn't do for this one, allows
    to keep the noise where it could be mistaken for detail (like in the leaves)
    and clean-up the obvious featureless areas. Figuring out the parameters took
    about 2-3 minutes (there are too many small tweaks to summarize), but it
    takes restraint and a bit of practice...

    Bart
     
    Bart van der Wolf, Jan 30, 2004
    #16
  17. Steve Edwards

    Dave Oddie Guest

    Is selecting areas you don't want affected available in Neat Image stand alone
    or when used as a plug in?

    Dave
     
    Dave Oddie, Jan 30, 2004
    #17
  18. Steve Edwards

    Dave Oddie Guest

    I would have thought that was the way to go in the long run as there must be
    some sample variability between each camera.

    I think I need to do some more research into the program.

    Dave
     
    Dave Oddie, Jan 30, 2004
    #18
  19. Steve Edwards

    Dave Oddie Guest

    Thanks for having a go, the 2mbit DSL link at work downloaded it PDQ :)
    I shall experiment myself to see what I can come up with. Don't hold your
    breath I reckon its going to take some time to master the program and since I
    am off on holiday a less than a couple of weeks I shall have other things to do
    :)

    Dave
     
    Dave Oddie, Jan 30, 2004
    #19
  20. SNIP
    Either as layers in Photoshop, masking whatever you want to keep untoughed
    or not, or by making a selection first and running the plug-in on that
    selection.

    Bart
     
    Bart van der Wolf, Jan 30, 2004
    #20
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