If you use a third party app (Topaz, ON1, DxO, etc…) for Noise Reduction then you’ve probably thought about when you should do that in your workflow. Many of the companies actually suggest you do your noise reduction first, on the raw file for the best results. But to me, it’s a horrible workflow to open some other app first. So is it worth it? Are the results of doing the noise reduction on the raw file that much better than doing it later? Let’s take a look…
Save 65% on Topaz: https://mattk.com/course-updates-topaz-big-sale
Matt’s Topaz Mini Course: https://mattk.com/deep-dive-topaz
My standard workflow is DXOPureRaw2 -> CaptureOne -> Radiant. I do have most of the other well known programs, such as LR/PS, Affinity Photo, Topaz AI and ON1. The main reason why I use this workflow is, that DXOPureRAW2 is a batch processor. Download, RAW in, RAW out and go for a coffee break. After that I use C1 and Radiant if needed. In some special cases I may use one of the other programs if necessary.
I do a lot of performance and concert photography, using the A1 and A9. The ISO is often 12800, but can go up to 64000 in some rare cases. I was made aware of this website by looking at your presets on the radiant site.
Hi Matt, I have a question about this…
I also find that the workflow is much easier if the image is sent to Photo AI after processing in LRC. But let’s assume that you really want to get the most out of it and send the image as RAW to Photo AI first. Then finished the editing in LRC and also cropped the image. How would you increase the resolution again? Send it back to Photo AI, or rather go to Gigapixel and disable everything there except upscaling?
Hi. I’d just send it there once and do it all at the same time. Thanks.
Thanks so much Mack for this lovely well put together video. Your input is always very helpful and creative. Thanks again, John.
Great comparisons and very helpful. I was a minimal user of 3rd party sharpeners before watching this video. I use small adjustments in Lightroom Texture, Clarity, and Dehaze so now I need to figure out if I should just leave those settings at zero (0) and make all sharpening adjustments in Topaz.
As always, thanks for your timely videos.
I too have always used TDNAi at the end of my processing an image. In LRc I create a Virtual Copy, work on the RAW image, including any cropping (which may increase noise) and sometimes go to PS mostly to remove distractions. Then I “polish” the image in DeNoise, with the final file rendered as a TIFF.
I have never done a pre and post comparison but I do think that even with lower ISO images Topaz DeNoise does a great job sharpening the final result.
I always find your tutorials and courses easy to follow and very helpful. Thank you!
I am confused
You still comment on the Non-Raw image
Aren’t you always using the raw image
If you open its Topaz you mean DNG
Are you saving the final topaz version as a TIFf?
Hi. You have the choice of opening your raw file directly, or opening it from LR or PS which means it’s no longer a raw file. Thanks.
Another great video Matt. Thanks for your input.
Thank you! Good stuff!
Thanks ,, I always appreciate your videos.
I have one question regarding the Topaz first workflow scenario, have you definitively determined if this workflow has any effect, or diminish in any way. the ability to further refine/manipulate the image in Lightroom vs. using Lightroom manipulation first ?
Hi Mike. Nothing diminishes the ability to further work on your photo. My hope with this video was to show people it just doesn’t matter and to stop thinking about the order in which you do things and just edit 🙂 Thanks.
Hi Matt – I like hearing about thought processes that help make decisions. I’ve tried several different workflows with DeNoiseAI and PaintAI. When you go from LrC to PaintAI with an edited raw file that is converted to a TIFF using the “Edit in” function, there is a new message in PaintAI that suggests using a different workflow from LrC. Topaz suggests using File->Plug-in Extras->Process with Topaz Photo AI in LrC with your raw file. Paint AI will process it and convert it to DNG which goes back to LrC. But, you lose the edits you made on your original raw file. You have to sync the develop settings if you want to keep your original edits in the DNG file.
This is an ugly workflow, in my opinion.
Regards – Jay
Thanks, This was very helpful.
Another great comparison video. Your opinions and workflow are well explained, at least in humble opinion.
Fantastic shot of the eagle. Please tell me the shutter speed and aperture. I’m an amature just getting into wildlife photography.
A very useful video…this was a major doubt I always had. thank you for sharing your thoughts!
Thanks Matt, love your teaching!
I agree that the difference in result is not great enough (for most photos) to determine the sequence, but it seems appropriate to denoise fairly early, at least before cropping since that might change in future display choices. Each denoise operation creates a new file and takes additional time. Same can probably be said for sharpening although that may be affected if any up-sizing is to be done.
Absolutely great review and comparison. Re-enforces my thinking.
Thanks so much for creating this “comparison? video. I watched it twice and learned a lot. I also bought the Topaz upgrade bundle and downloaded the updated “Deep Dive” video.
I routinely have been saving RAW files in DNG. Isn’t DNG a “raw” format, and if yes, then your recommendation and video should ALSO be followed with my DNG format, CORRECT??
Hi Louis. I don’t care for DNG. I can’t say it’s bad, I’m just not a fan of the format.
this is simply a thank you note for your videos. I’ve been a faithful follower and you have made decisions much easier for me when deciding systems, applications and techniques.
Keep it up, you’re the best.
If one uses On1 Raw one can perform NoNoise on the raw file first and then adjustments after without having to create new files as with LR/PS. Or do it your way, with adjustments first then NoNoise. But I think not having noise in the image when adjusting is better, so I perform NoNoise first when I have a high ISO image. That is another comparison you could do.
Matt, Sometime you have to substantially lighten the shadows. Do that change the equation by raising the loose level differential ly?
Would be different for every photo. Give it a try and see.
I have a strange question, but when you are doing these comparisons and leaving the previous type of denoise, isn’t it technically stacking noise reduction and not showing a clear picture/comparison of the individual types you are discussing? If not, I am curious about what occurs if you would use multiple denoise versions or even sharpening versions.
I applied noise reduction to un-edited versions of the photo each time. I didn’t stack it, or apply noise reduction to the same photo multiple times.
Thank you. All good to know.
what ever happened on layer 3 the image was made bluer
I’ve been wondering which way to go with Topaz as well Matt and have both DeNoise and Photo Ai. So when do you crop before you take it into Photoshop and then Topaz or after it’s been rendered by Topaz? Thanks, you are one of the best teachers out there and your Photoshop course helped me tremendously.
I have enjoyed and appreciated your tutorials and reviews for quite a few years, from your days at NAPP Photoshop User videos with Scott Kelby.
I have been shooting and editing photos for some time and feel that for the most part we are doing so much work that most of it will be unnoticed. I feel that most of those who will purchase and/or view those photos will not notice or care if there is some noise, chromatic aberration/color fringe, slight banding, color shift and other issues, that we photographers feel is vital that we correct.
Other than very large gallery-standard fine art images, do we really need to put so much effort into very fine details that will not be seen by most and will not alter the image that much, neither will it deter viewers from liking that image any less if the imperfections WE see are not dealt with.
I sold my photos at art shows for a few years and saw other photographers’ works. Some were great and some not so great. Some over edited their photos with way too much HDR and over sharpening, some didn’t make any corrections whatsoever, and yet all had enthusiastic viewers that purchased their photos, warts and all. The discerning artists that bothered to use their talents and tools and created flawless images that were blown up to several feet, also sold a few works, perhaps for more money.
But in the end, I wonder if we’re not getting bogged down in minute details that will not matter much in the long run.
I have had many patrons come into my booth at shows and delight at my work. A few purchased, most said: “Keep up the good work”. None made any comments as to any imperfections they may have noticed in my images.
I wonder how many hours I have spent on minute corrections, sharpening and noise reduction that were totally unnoticed by viewers. They never saw the before and after. Did I waste my time trying to make my images perfect? Did it matter in the end?
I may have reached the limit of trying to constantly improve and update my tools. But I will always gladly learn techniques from you and other pros.
“I wonder how many hours I have spent on minute corrections, sharpening and noise reduction that were totally unnoticed by viewers.”
Almost all of them. Viewers simply don’t care. If they do care about your noise in your photos, then you did something horribly wrong and created a photo that doesn’t resonate to begin with.
That said, in today’s way of showing off photos, especially wildlife with tight crops, something showing off a really tightly cropped photo would be noisy and some noise reduction will help. Or at least help other photographers appreciate it – the rest of the world won’t care 🙂
Great observation, Bari. I’m a photographer, too, and have sold in a co-op gallery. Comments were always limited to content, not image quality.
I also have a day job as a pre-press retoucher. Unlike everybody here, with the exception of Matt, I see images in every imaginable form, from iPhones, to 100mp captures to scans from 8×10 transparencies. For the vast majority of images, when the ink hits the paper, it doesn’t matter. Occasionally, I reduce noise, especially chroma noise–luminance noise is often cancelled by the half-tone screen during the printing process. But, in most cases I’m working from files supplied by stock photo agencies and individual photographers: they are already processed. They all need some adjustments to the brightness and contrast and to a lesser extent sharpness. I also resize to fit the layout.
Modern cameras produce fabulous captures. Let’s stop the hand wringing over noise and concentrate on make the images look great.
Matt, I appreciate your comparison here. I do have a question. I use the DXO Photolab 6 editor that integrates their denoise module with the rest of their raw editing. Do you know which comes first, the raw editing or the denoise processing?
Hi Paul. Most noise reduction apps suggest doing noise reduction first. Not sure about DxO other than I know their Deep Prime stuff suggests noise reduction first.
In Topaz AI the sliders don’t seem to change anything !
Would you make the same conclusion if not shooting in raw?
Thanks for the comparison. I watched it on my phone and couldn’t see a difference in the first couple of comparisons. Only the last one was there a noticeable difference.
I use noise reduction after making my edits in Lightroom, but before I do any cropping. This way I can change how I’ve cropped the image and not have to redo the entire image.
Hi Bruce. A phone is small, so you’d never even see noise in a photo to need to remove it.
I feel ancient and behind on processing as I still use DXO(NIK) and you do not seem to mention it very much. What’s your thoughts on Nik’s Define 2 and overall Nik. I am sure I have probably missed a video or something so please just send me a link as I cannot find anything about your thoughts on this. Thank you very much always enjoy your educational videos:)
Hi Renee – I don’t think there is a place in today’s workflow or Nik Define. But that said, if it works for you, and it’s not broke then maybe don’t fix it.
Matt, What is your issue with DNG files?
Hi. I don’t like DNG and I believe it’s trying to solve a problem that will never exist. And just about every company that creates a DNG is not a raw editor, so you’re trusting them to read your raw file and process it with technology that is lacking compared to Adobe.
That was my question too. Before or after processing in LrC. Thank you.
I have a question Suppose you bring into light room first and then use Denoise AI. it does give several options in side. In your video you were not clear at all what you used. But one could chose raw here as well or any other models. Please clarify which one to use?
Another question is suppose you first open the *.Arw file in Denoise AI and then chose raw model then, the resulting file is what type? tiff, or dng or still ARW. I am trying to understand this an the details are missing in your video. Please clarify and thanks in advance.
Why would you want to edit a noisy image? That is the reason I will continue to denoise first and sharpen last. I do use Lightroom as my photo catalog and use the tools as plugins so they are not processing the RAW image.
The noise has nothing to do with the edits for me personally? It’s just a final finishing touch for me.
If Lightroom is not processing the RAW image, what is it processing ???