Digital Diary; Manic Monday Or How I Learned To Stop Worring And Love Noise Page 2

Nik Dfine
nik Multimedia's Dfine (www.nik multimedia.com) is a two-part Photoshop compatible plug-in. Dfine removes noise and unwanted imperfections that may be a part of your image and allows you to control and redefine image details. It performs noise reduction, JPEG artifact reduction, and enhances color and light to create better image files prints. Dfine adapts to your needs and the needs of each individual image because the second part of the package is a profile that targets specific noise. The cost of these profiles varies depending on their complexity. For example, a profile for a Canon EOS 10D is $39.95, on top of what the plug-in costs--$99.95. The cost of a Nikon D2H profile is $49.95 but the Olympus AZ-1 I am testing is not yet on their quite comprehensive list of profiles.

Noise Ninja is not a Photoshop compatible plug-in, but is a stand-alone application that also uses camera profiles to target digital camera noise. Profiles may be downloaded free from the company's website.

Free Photoshop Actions
Another way to reduce noise is with specialized Photoshop actions. Ron Pacheco's DNR Actions set (http://rondayview.com/000002.php#actionset) is a set of free Photoshop actions that does an impressive job cleaning noisy files. Another freebie designed specifically for Canon EOS 1D cameras can be downloaded from www.tow.com/photo/ articles/actions.

Instead of a "one size fits all" approach to noise reduction, nik Multimedia's Dfine form uses profiles for specific digital cameras to make sure that the noise is suppressed in specific ways.

My Take On Noise
Should we just live with digital noise like we did the grain of high-speed films? Have you embraced the aesthetics of noise? Heck, have you embraced the look of film grain? At the risk of being called wishy-washy, like my pal C. Brown, sometimes I like noise and sometimes I don't. If noise occurs where I least expect it, I don't like it, but it's OK if it's in part of the image that doesn't matter. The main thing to remember is something the late Eddie Bafford once told me about working in the darkroom, "You need somebody standing next to you with a 2x4 to whack you `upside your head' if you get too carried away." That's true for digital noise removal, too.

Plug Me In
You don't need Photoshop to use compatible plug-ins. Adobe Systems may have defined a standard, but compatible plug-ins can be used with many other image-editing programs including Ulead Systems' PhotoImpact, Corel's Painter and PhotoPaint, JASC's PaintShop Pro, MicroFrontier's Color-It!, Enhance, and Digital Darkroom, and lots more.

Contacts:
Adobe Sytems Inc.
(408) 536-6000
www.adobe.com

Kodak's Austin Development Center
(512) 651-6200
www.asf.com

nik Multimedia
(619) 725-3150
www.nikmultimedia.com

Picture Code
www.picturecode.com

The Imaging Factory
www.theimagingfactory.com

Visual Infinity, Inc.
(800) 598-1050
www.visinf.com

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