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Topaz DeNoise Review
I am not trying to put together a technical review here. In fact, I don’t think I even qualify to do one. Instead, I want to demonstrate how I use TopazLabs DeNoise as a photographer and designer, and how it fits into my workflow.
Canon Digital Rebel and Digital Noise
I started in photography with a Canon Digital Rebel. At that time I was working as a graphic designer, and the post processing learning curve was not that steep for me. I was comfortable with Photoshop, but what I did not have to deal with as a designer was the noise in digital images. This aspect of digital photography workflow I had to learn from scratch, and at that time the noise was a real issue. My Digital Rebel produced quite a lot of noise even in properly exposed photos.
I spent years experimenting with different programs, sticking for a while with one, and then jumping to another. But I was never satisfied with any of them. Using them was a struggle; too many options, and too many sliders. Sometimes I found myself spending more time in noise reduction programs than in Photoshop, and even after I was happy with my noise reduction settings I still had to do some masking in Photoshop.
Everything changed when I upgraded to the Canon 60D and Lightroom 3 (see My Tools and Resources page). The new Canon produced much cleaner digital files, even at high ISO with higher bit depth, and could process images in 16-bit mode. Also, Adobe had come out with a more sophisticated noise reduction algorithm in Lightroom 3. This is when I realized that I did not need dedicated noise reduction software.
I thought my days as a noise fighter were over. What I did not realize is that very soon I would be jumping into the exciting world of HDR Photography, and all digital files processed for HDR would have even more noise than my old Rebel used to produce.
That was when I discovered Topaz DeNoise. It was a very different experience from the very first time I used it. It still has multiple sliders like my old programs, but what is cool about DeNoise is that I do not have to use them anymore. The presets that come with Topaz DeNoise cover 99% of my needs, and I spend very little time in the application, sometimes only seconds.
The second huge advantage for me is that I hardly have to do any masking in Photoshop after applying Topaz DeNoise settings to my photos. Somehow Topaz DeNoise detects the areas I want to apply noise filtering on (normally sky and water), but keeps intact the areas I want to keep sharp.
Only on rare occasions, in very complex cases, do I have to do some masking in Photoshop.
Here is the list of the 3 variations of my Topaz DeNoise workflow.
1.Preset based. No Photoshop masking required.
Takes less than 1 minute. Covers 90% of my cases.
2. Preset based. Photoshop masking with Brush or Lasso tools.
Takes less than 5 minutes. Covers 8% of my cases.
3. Preset or Custom settings. Fancy Photoshop masking with luminance masks.
Takes less than 10 minutes. Covers 2% of my cases.
Topaz DeNoise Coupon
Once again, if you are ready to buy the plugin, Topaz DeNoise coupon code PHOTOTRACES at checkout to get 15% off at Topaz Store. Also, you can always download fully functional 30 days trail on TopazLabs website – TopazLabs DeNoise FREE TRIAL.
Below are some examples of HDR processed photos where I used TopazLabs DeNoise to reduce or completely eliminate digital noise
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