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Neat Image - worth keeping?

Joined
Aug 4, 2020
Messages
9
Location
West Wales
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
Classic
Lightroom Version
LR Classic 8.4 on Win7
Operating System
Windows 7
LR Classic (and Photoshop) come with extensive NR and sharpening tools these days. I haven't explored them to any great degree as I've long been in the habit of using Neat Image NR (which also includes sharpening facilities) as a final step in photo-editing. I have various camera/ISO Neat Image profiles that I apply as a batch process in Photoshop.

But given the constant improvements in the tools of LR and Photoshop, is it a better strategy now to abandon Neat Image and employ the NR and sharpening tools of LR and PS, deriving camera/ISO profiles for them in the same way as can be done for Neat Image?

All advice, experience and opinions welcome.
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
16,491
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Houston, TX USA
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Power User
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Cloud Service
I would do all of my editing efforts in Lightroom Classic . If I am unable to get the results with the tools that LrC offers, then I might create an intermediate derivative image containing the LrC adjustments and use an external editor on that derivative file. That external Editor can be Photoshop, Photoshop using the NeatImage plugin, or NeatImage as a standalone editor.
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2020
Messages
9
Location
West Wales
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
Classic
I can use LR noise reduction and sharpening tools - as well as the clarity et al sliders - to reach a good balance of detail and un-speckled skies etcetera. I can even save the settings as part of a profile for that camera/ISO in LR to use on subsequent images. But the advantage of Neat Image to me, the lazy one, is it's ability to analyse an image and derive a good balance of NR and sharpening via its clever algorithms for a particular camera at a particular ISO. In short - the automation of NR & sharpening. It seems to generate very good results that are often better than my attempts in LR. .... But I'm an inexperienced LR user.

There are also user-made NR & sharpening profiles for many cameras at various ISOs available on the Neat Image website - although these are not for my particular camera, just for my camera model. These too seem to (largely) provide good results. But perhaps there are similar LR profiles for various camera models .....? My lazy streak is happy to employ the efforts of others.

It would be more efficient (more pleasing to my natural sense of economy) to be able to use LR for everything, including NR and sharpening. But how to get the best results other than by trial and error? I suppose I must read Mrs Queen's books very carefully. :)

Lataxe
 
Joined
Nov 30, 2012
Messages
459
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic
But the advantage of Neat Image to me, the lazy one, is it's ability to analyse an image and derive a good balance of NR and sharpening via its clever algorithms for a particular camera at a particular ISO. In short - the automation of NR & sharpening. It seems to generate very good results that are often better than my attempts in LR. .... But I'm an inexperienced LR user.
For that, you might want to investigate the new ISO-adaptive presets that you can set up for Lightroom Classic. They don’t do any analysis, but you can at least set up default presets that represent what you think looks good at specific high and low ISO settings for specific cameras, and let Lightroom Classic interpolate noise reduction between the extremes you set.
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2020
Messages
9
Location
West Wales
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
Classic
For that, you might want to investigate the new ISO-adaptive presets that you can set up for Lightroom Classic. They don’t do any analysis, but you can at least set up default presets that represent what you think looks good at specific high and low ISO settings for specific cameras, and let Lightroom Classic interpolate noise reduction between the extremes you set.
Thanks for that reference (and the pointer to another place to learn even more LR stuff).

As I'm still using Windows7 I believe I can't update Lightroom above V 8.4 .... However, I do already have some basic presets tied to camera model/ISO that include basic NR and sharpening.

I suppose my problem is that I don't know enough yet about the LR noise and sharpening tools. Perhaps the first step is to peruse Mrs Queen's "Missing FAQ" book, that I've just bought and downloaded, to obtain a better understanding of what can be achieved with LR.

I found that the Neat Image presets that it automatically derives are very good for many but not all subjects, so I do have a couple of variants from it's recommendations (mostly to apply less sharpening). If I can learn enough about LR noise and sharpening capabilities, I imagine I can set basic + variant presets for all my (3) cameras and their commonly-used ISOs, in time. But in my present state of ignorance, this looks like rather a lot of work. :oops:

I wonder - are there LR presets offered within the LR user community for various camara/ISOs that contain suggested Lightroom NR and sharpening settings - perhaps also including some settings for clarity, texture & dehaze? There seem so many variables to try that the task of finding ideal settings is very daunting.
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2017
Messages
830
Location
UK
Lightroom Experience
Power User
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