Neat Image can not only reduce digital camera noise, but also reduce:
Here are some screenshots of the Neat Image interface. The first image shows the Noise Filter Settings window in Standard Mode, the second one shows it in Advanced Mode. Click on the thumbnail(s) to open a larger image:
|Demo||Freeware edition with limited functionality|
|Home||Standalone edition for home use to process small batches only.|
|Home+||Home edition with Photoshop-compatible plug-in included|
|Pro||Standalone with 16-bit image processing and unlimited batching|
|Pro +||Pro edition with Photoshop-compatible plug-in included.|
The result is a smooth, pretty much noise free image with text that's as sharp as in the original image, if not sharper.
In this test the complete image was processed. By selecting everything except the wooden post before you process the image in Neat Image, you will be able to keep the fine detailed texture of the post intact.
For comparison I've added an example of the same image, this time however processed with the new noise removal tools of Photoshop CS2 (Filter/Noise/Reduce Noise...):
Photoshop CS2 noise removal
It was impossible with this Photoshop tool to completely fix the sky. It was also not easy to find a nice balance between sharpness and noise removal. In Neat Image I was able to remove the noise within 15 sec (which includes creating the profile), in Photoshop CS2 it took between 1-2 minutes fiddling with the sliders to get a somewhat descent result.
Now let me remind you that the profile I created in Neat Image was an automated profile, it wasn't even calibrated. Once you have a descent profile you would save even more time, because then it's just a matter of clicking on the apply button. Important to mention is that Neat Image works best with reasonable large images in a losless format like TIFF or RAW. But even with smaller images or lossy formats like JPEG I was able to get descent results.
To only way for Photoshop to come close to the Neat Image result was by creating a separate selection of the blue sky and the green in the sign and then applying lens blur, but even then we'll lose some fine details in several areas, not to mention that it takes us a lot more steps. It also means that we would have to make new selections for every other image, whereas Neat Image can use its device profile in combination with its advanced noise removal algorithm.
Also the results speak for itself; not only is Neat Image more effective than the best noise removal solution in Photoshop, it also allows you to sharpen the image during the noise removal process.
One other advantage of noise reduction by Neat Image is that the reduction of noise will allow you to have smaller file sizes for JPEG image with the same quality setting (a reduction of 30-40% is possible according to the makers).
Neat Image is easy to use for both beginners and experienced users. Neat Image was not the king of speed in earlier versions, but things have improved immensely and now it's possible with version 5.x to process a 8 mega pixel image in less than 8 second on the fastest Pentium 4. Greater improvements can be achieved with dual core and multi processors because of specific optimizations in the software.
All in all a very good product that produces excellent results in a short time, it's easy to use, fast , supports Windows, Mac and Linux, supports latest duo core processors and its price is more than reasonable.
Visit Neat Image's web site for more information.