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Question about noise reduction

adonetok

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I just start to save raw file and learn how to reduce noise.
I use Lr Classic and Topaz DeNoise.
I have a few questions.

1) Do I need to use two softwares? If yes, which one first? If no, which one is better?
2) Doing noise reduction before or after crop?
 
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It doesn't matter whether you use noise reduction before or after your crop, although using it after means you're not worried about areas in an image you cannot see. While I find the noise reduction to get better with every upgrade, I sometimes use other noise reduction software in addition to LR's, but for me, that's usually in PS, using The Nik Collection or Imagenomic - or even the noise reduction in PS itself.

A great trick in LR, if you don't already know, is once you've reduced the noise, is to hold the option key (on a Mac) while using the Masking slider. As you move to the right the noise will show up looking like dust or dots, and the farther you move to the right, the more they will go away. I only worry about noise in areas without much definition, like skies and walls, and the masking is really helpful in not using too much noise reduction, which can soften an image.
 
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1) Do I need to use two softwares? If yes, which one first? If no, which one is better?
2) Doing noise reduction before or after crop?
Using Topax NR is your decision. Apply NR in Lightroom. Lightroom will apply the develop step in it own sequence WHether cropping occurs before NR is irrelevant. If you are satisfied with the NR that Lightroom Classic can do, then you are done. If you want to see if Topaz can improve on that, then Create an intermediate file and use Topaz as an external editor.


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Using Topaz Denoise means you will break the raw workflow and create a tiff or psd. That is something to consider when you choose between Lightroom or Topaz. It also means that the order of edits will become relevant. If you choose Topaz, then disable any sharpening in Lightroom before you send the image to Topaz. Sharpen the image that comes back. Cropping is pretty irrelevant, but I would also do that on the returned image, to keep it non-destructive.
 
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Good points about where to move the call to Topaz in your workflow. After you call it you will need to work with the TIF file rather than the raw. For that reason my call to either denoise or sharpen to Topaz is the last step.
 
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Good points about where to move the call to Topaz in your workflow. After you call it you will need to work with the TIF file rather than the raw. For that reason my call to either denoise or sharpen to Topaz is the last step.
You may reconsider that. Noise reduction is something you should normally do early on in your workflow, and most certainly before sharpening.
 
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Noise reduction is something you should normally do early on in your workflow, and most certainly before sharpening
Johnan, I never do both; either sharpen or denoise since each has attributes of the other.

However, in relation to order, my understanding is that in LR it doesn't matter. When you export or print LR applies the changes as it sees fit.
 
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Johnan, I never do both; either sharpen or denoise since each has attributes of the other.
However, in relation to order, my understanding is that in LR it doesn't matter. When you export or print LR applies the changes as it sees fit.
It does matter when you send the image to Topaz Denoise, because that breaks the raw workflow. If you have sharpening enabled before you send the image to Topaz, then you will send a sharpened image to Topaz, because Lightroom edits are applied to the TIFF that is sent to an external editor or plugin. Be aware that Lightroom sets a default sharpening to all images! That is why I suggest you should reset the default sharpening to zero before you send the image to Topaz. When the denoised TIFF comes back into Lightroom, you can then sharpen this image if needed.

BTW, noise reduction and sharpening can definitely go together. Noise reduction removes noise mainly from areas without much detail (and in areas with lots of detail the noise won’t show that much anyway), while sharpening affects edges and detail. That means it is usually not one or the other, but both.
 
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Be aware that Lightroom sets a default sharpening to all images!
Thanks Johan. I never realized that before. Just went into Details and noticed Sharpening was 40 and Noise Reduction 0. I saw your answers in this LRQ post Import Sharpening Amount went from 25 to 40.

Now to see if there is a way to create a preset to set Sharpening to 0 when invoking Topaz Sharpen
 
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If you have sharpening enabled before you send the image to Topaz, then you will send a sharpened image to Topaz,
Some sharpening and Some NR is done on conversion of RAW to RGB. On Export to TIFF, Output Sharpening is applied. This is not expressly stated in the Edit In process, but I will bet it is applied there too.

JPEGS from the camera have in camera sharpening and NR. Topaz is design to work with these JPEG files. So I don't think ir really matters what happens to a file before it gets to Topaz.
 
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Some sharpening and Some NR is done on conversion of RAW to RGB. On Export to TIFF, Output Sharpening is applied. This is not expressly stated in the Edit In process, but I will bet it is applied there too.

JPEGS from the camera have in camera sharpening and NR. Topaz is design to work with these JPEG files. So I don't think ir really matters what happens to a file before it gets to Topaz.
I think it does matter. Yes, some sharpening may be applied that you cannot switch off. So be it. But do not add any sharpening if you can avoid it. Even if Topaz can handle noise reduction in (sharpened) jpegs, that does not mean you won't get better results if you did not sharpen. What you are basically saying is "Topaz has some foolproof settings, so you don't have to think about your workflow yourself". I disagree with that.
 
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