For the past few days I’ve been mucking around with a new Mac app that cleans up noise from photos and images. What is noise? Think of noise in a photo as digital artifacts, a by-product of the electronics which capture a scene and convert it to a photo.
Photo noise can be almost imperceptible, or highly noticeable depending on the lighting, subject matter, and camera used to capture the image. A good example of such noise is from photos taken in low light situations, which appears much like grain in photos processed with film.
We’ve all taken low light photos and we’ve all experienced photos with a measure of grain. How can you get rid of such visible noise? This weekend I tried out an app called Noiseless (the pro version) which reduces visible noise in photos and does so with a few clicks.
Here’s a good example.
The low-light grain on the left is smoothed out and sharpened on the right. Noiseless makes that happen. How?
Well, without going into the algorithms and technology, if you can point and click you can make it happen on your Mac. Noiseless has a typically Mac-like interface which means the tools you need to reduce noise and visible artifacts are self explanatory.
For example, if a photo’s noise is nominal, click the Light tool. If the grain is severe, click Strongest or Extreme. Noiseless then works to remove the noise, sharpen the image, and smooth out tones; particularly so with skin tones.
The included presets make it drop dead easy to rid photos of what makes them look underexposed when the real issue is noise or visible artifacts left over from the digital processing of the image. Noiseless has a simple and obvious slider bar to adjust intensity for each preset. And you can see both before and after processing with a vertical slider bar.
Even better, Noiseless has two versions for Mac users. The basic version is more affordable, still has eight presets and uses the same noise reduction technology in the Pro version, which has more presets, including a couple of presets for RAW images, options for Adobe RGB color space, batch image processing (haven’t tried that yet), and plugins for Lightroom and Photoshop.
Noiseless is the real deal, folks, and deserving of all the five star reviews on the Mac App Store. The developer has a try-before-you-buy option available, too (MAS does not), but the Pro version is not available on the Mac App Store due to Apple’s requirements which cripple some professional-level applications.
I found a few apps which claim to do the same kind of noise reduction for less money, but I can’t see myself buying knockoff products from a company whose claim to fame is copying application design and features from developers who truly love creating apps for the Mac.