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When to apply noise reduction & sharpening



  • Rick Sammartino Community moderator

    I prefer to apply both NoNoise and sharpening first for two reasons. 1, if the photo doesn't look reasonable after nonoise and sharpening, then I won't waste time trying to edit it. 2) Adding sharpening last and after the other edits makes it too easy to over sharpen.

    For me, it's better to do it first so I know what I have to work with.

  • David Tillett
    Great answers

    In PhotoRAW 2023 with NoNoise and TackSharp it doesn't matter at which point you actually make changes to their settings they will have an impact right at the beginning of processing as they are part of the initial processing of a RAW file. Everything else from Tone & Colour and Effects is applied on top of this.

    I look at these features as helping to get best basic image by dealing with noise and "soft" images, more targeted adjustments, particularly for sharpening, can then be applied later in the processing by using filters such as Dynamic Contrast. I tend to start with NoNoise set to Medium and TackSharp deblur at 50% which I have found to be a good starting point for most of my images.

    Unless you bake in adjustments by creating some form of stamped layer, for example by calling a plugin, then you can always go back and adjust NoNoise and TackSharp at any point in your processing.

  • Brian Lawson Community moderator

    There are different kinds of sharpening which should be applied at different points in your workflow.

    There is pre-sharpening which compensates for the inherent softness created by the way the CCD works. This is what TackSharp and the sharpening in NoNoise AI are for.

    There is "editorial" sharpening which is applied to localized areas and is used to attract the viewers attention to specific points in the image. That happens when it is appropriate as you edit your image.

    Finally, there is post-sharpening or output sharpening which is used to compensate for the loss of sharpness when the image is sent to its final destination. Ink bleeds when put on paper and even more when applied to canvas so there are different sharpening settings for them. The same for an image to be printed on metal or just displayed on a monitor.

  • David Orlando

    Brian, do you happen to know a good reference or guide for applying output sharpening appropriate to the media - paper vs canvas vs metal?  Or is it a situation where you need to ask the specific printer before you send it to them?

  • Brian Lawson Community moderator

    There are presets in the Sharpening portion of the Export panel. I usually go to the printer's web site then ask if I can't find anything.

    The printers that do my prints, one for metal, one for everything else, does the print sharpening for me. They are local and I know them so that helps.


  • Roger Gough

    Returning to the original question, there is another potential benefit of applying NoNoise first. This is because the before and after preview in NoNoise will include all edits in the "after" panel, but not in the "before" panel. In other words the preview shows the effect of all edits and not just those made in NoNoise. This can make is more difficult to see the effect of the changes made in NoNoise. 


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