Image cleanup that really works

Hiya kitties~

I just got in a couple hours ago from a 6.5 mile walk with Neil through Windsor Park. We packed sandwiches, dressed warm, broke in new walking boots and sported fancy telescopic walking sticks. You can safely assume that the cameras were not left at the flat…

Armed with my trusty Sony Cybershot DSC-P41, (it’s only 4.1 mega pixel, but pretty good nonetheless), I snapped over 100 photos during our leisurely excursion. Some good, many bad, but all necessary, as with the advent of digital cameras, why not take more photos than you need… you can always delete them later. 🙂

Today’s weather was cold, sometimes sunny, and often times overcast. This poses a tricky issue when using a camera, and with digital you can get this nasty fuzzy effect called “noise.” Photoshop can help on it’s own and there are plenty of techniques in dozens of books and websites tutoring you on how to achieve cleaner results with the flawed image. I found a cool Photoshop Plug-In a few weeks ago that truly did something that no other I’d seen was achieving. I read about it at Creative Pro, (I get their newsletter), and decided to demo it. It was mighty impressive. It’s called Neat Image, by ABSoft. We ended up buying a two-seat license for it this week. Here’s a sample of the Auto Profile correction I generated with one click in the main dialogue. (I can store this profile and apply it to more images I shoot with my model of camera.)

This image is a small part magnified to 300 percent in Photoshop:
300Percent

Here’s a section at 100 percent:
Screenshot 05
Notice the clock face, the sky… nice cleanup on flat surfaces but leaving the detail of the building itself intact. And this is completely set to automatic- just think what I can do when I really tweak it!
Cool stuff.

Go check out the links above for the Creative Pro review and for the Neat Image site. This software is nearly frighteningly customisable with it’s settings and certainly provides impressive image clean up when you need to correct noise or sharpening matters, be they subtle requests or dramatic.

I’ll share some photos from my recent adventures when I get geeky tomorrow… (I likely won’t clean up the ones I share here- but will for any I may decide to print.)

smooches~
jEN

3 thoughts on “Image cleanup that really works”

  1. Hi jEN,

    the results from Neat image look impressive. The next thing I want to do with some of my images is to get some poster size printouts. There are a few places on the web offering the service but I have also spotted a place up the road from me that is doing large format printing so I might try and find out their pricing.

    Kev

  2. Hi Kev!
    Yes- Neat Image is impressive. If you want me to try it on one of your images, let me know. Then you can see for yourself. 🙂
    If you’re going to do a poster enlargement, I used to frequently use Genuine Fractals Pro by Lizard Soft. Excellent stuff. I still have the plug-in and could do an enlargement for you if you like… I think they have a demo of the plug-in, but to do big stuff in CMYK you need the pro version. It’s pretty amazing stuff too.

    smooches~
    jEN

  3. Hey Jen,

    Interesting photo cleanup technique. A really usefull tool I’ve picked up is Kodak DigitalSHO, it brightens and ups the contrast / colour of dark areas in the image, so you can do an exposure for the sky, and still get shadow detail. It lets you fake a high dynamic range.

    I had a rare tech victory with a freeware tool that reverse engineers the Nikon coolpix diagnostic tools so I was able to map out the 20 or so pixels stuck on full that were killing my night shots – major happyness.

    Cheers
    Matt

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