About making pictures   - Post Processing 2 by  Waeshael


1. noise reduction

I use Nikon Capture NX2 for most noise suppression. It does a very good job, and can eliminate noise completely. It also has good controls for color fringing. Also it uses U-point technology which enables you to limit NR to specific areas, and specific colors, so you can, for instance, just reduce noise in the shadows, or in the mid tones, or just a portion of someone’s face. And you can do your adjustments to the picture in any order - it rebuilds the modified image each time you change anything. The original file is untouched and the edits are saved in a NEF file together with the original image. If, like me, you convert all your captured images to TIFF before doing any editing, you will then have the original JPEG (4 MB), a TIFF file (36 MB), the NEF file (40 MB) and the final JPEG file for the WEB (2MB), for a total of 82MB (typical for a 12 MP camera.) With the NEF file saved you can go back and make whatever changes you like.

Capture NX2 opens any TIFF, JPEG or Nikon NEF (raw and processed) files. It costs $180 from NikonUSA. It is a very good editor for any TIFF or JPEG image.  It may soon be a discontinued product, because they no longer own the U-point technology. It runs on Vista MAC Tiger Snow leopard, Lion and Mountain Lion (in 64 bit mode also.)

The original picture is at the top. This was made on a Fujifilm F50fd compact camera set to ISO 1600. The picture has been noise reduced by the camera but in the process it became a little soft.

Color noise is still evident in the dark gray material.

In NX2 I was able to reduce the noise in the gray material, and increase the sharpness everywhere else, using the U-point technology to select specific colors to be either sharpened or noise reduced. The white areas in the top shot show where sharpening occurred. The white areas in the bottom shot show where noise reduction was applied. Masks made by NX2 automatically.