Creative Graphics Photo Editing

Blur Gallery Noise Matching: The video tutorial and by the book


New to the Blur Gallery filters is an option to add noise. This movie tutorial shows how you can use the new Noise panel controls to help blend blurred areas when processing noisy/grainy images. Click below to watch video.

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Noise panel

One of the problems you get when adding Blur Gallery effects to create the impression of shallow focus is that the blur effect will also blur the underlying noise structure of the image. Now, this is not such a problem if the image you are working on has no visible noise. But if you are editing a high ISO capture (like the example shown here), this is where the Noise panel can come in handy, because it allows you to generate noise that can be added just to the blurred areas.

Figure 9.12 & 9.13 This shows a close-up view of the image shown here where the top view shows the outcome with no noise added and below where grain noise was added to the Blur Gallery effect.

When working with any of the Blur Gallery filters you simply go to the Noise panel shown. If the noise panel is not visible, choose Reset Blur Gallery from the workspace menu in the top right (see Figure 9.12). You can then check to add noise, select a noise method from the top menu (Gaussian, Uniform or Grain) and adjust the Amount slider to determine how much noise is added. In Grain mode, the controls are the same as those found in the Camera Raw Effects panel and you can adjust the Size and Randomness sliders. The Color slider controls the monochrome to color ratio (this can help you match the appearance of color noise present in the underlying image). Lastly, there is the Highlights slider. This can be used to reduce the noise in the highlight areas to achieve better highlight/shadow matching.

1. This photograph was shot using the Canon EOS 550D at 6400 ISO. As one might expect, there is a fair amount of luminance and color noise visible in this image. It can be treated to some extent using the Detail panel, but not completely.

2. I went to the Filter menu and chose Blur Gallery ➯ Iris Blur. I manipulated the iris shape to achieve the desired shape and applied a 35 pixel blur. However, the blur effect also blurred the underlying grain in the image.

3. To correct this, I enabled noise in the Noise panel, set the mode to ‘Grain’ (circled) and adjusted the Amount slider to add more noise, adjusting the Size and Roughness. I then went to the Color slider and set this to 15% to make the added noise less monochrome. With the Highlights slider I left this set to 100%. Basically, these controls allow you to kind of mimic the appearance of the underlying grain in the photograph (a close-up of the before and after versions can be seen in Figure 9.13).

An excerpt from Adobe Photoshop CC  for Photographers, 2015 Release by Martin Evening © 2015 Taylor & Francis Group. All Rights Reserved.

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