How to Sharpen a Really Noisy Image

How-to-Sharpen-a-Noisy-Image-post-bannerNoise and sharpening, don’t go together well. If you sharpen a noisy image, the noise is sharpened too, making it even noisier. And if you apply noise reduction first, the image gets very soft and loses all the details that you may want to sharpen. It takes a few Photoshop tricks to get around this problem.

In the video below, a photographer by the name Gabriel F shares a very interesting technique. He sharpens a really noisy image by extracting the details (including the edges to be sharpened) into a separate layer. Then he reduces the noise on that details layer and sharpens it subsequently. When he overlays this layer on the image, the noise is untouched while the edges are sharpened.

This is similar to well-known techniques for frequency separation and details enhancement. But the specific trick here is to apply high amounts of noise reduction and sharpening to the details layer only.

My tip: The technique shown in the video relies on Topaz DeNoise for the noise reduction. Having dedicated noise removal software can surely help in creating a clean and sharp image, but you can also apply Photoshop’s own Reduce Noise filter to get started. The results will be good too as the noise removal task is greatly simplified by the prior detail extraction.

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