If you’ve ever used Topaz DeNoise for high ISO noise reduction you might have noticed a posterized effect occur on certain images. Often this posterization isn’t evident until you increase the auto-brightness, where you then see the unnatural swerving of tone gradation going this way and that.

Baffled by this effect, like a scientist I sought to figure out how to get rid of it, mixing the sliders up every which way until…eureka! To get rid of posterization all you have to do is increase the ‘Add Grain’ slider and bam! Posterization depleted.

Screen Shot 2014-04-10 at 9.52.19 AMPosterization
Screen Shot 2014-04-10 at 9.52.34 AMGrain added – No posterization

Now you might be thinking, “why would I want to add grain back in when I’m trying to remove noise artifacts?”. Well, this is the pretty kind of grain – the kind you’d see on film that isn’t a major distraction like digital noise.

Also, let’s say your image has a ton of noise to the point where you’re losing image details when the noise is removed. If you increase the ‘Recover Detail’ slider this is only going to worsen that noise. So in its place you can increase the grain slider to bring back the appearance of detail without worsening noise artifacts.

After smoothing out the noise in this image with DeNoise, I brought it into Topaz Detail and applied the ‘Cloud Detail I’ effect to give the clouds a minuscule punch. Important note: when using Detail on a noisy image be sure not to increase the small detail sliders, which will only amplify the noise.

Topaz Detail – Cloud Detail I

It’s better to increase medium and large detail sliders, and then decrease the small detail boost slider when dealing with noisy images in Detail. And don’t forget about the Effect Mask which will allow you to creatively sharpen specific areas and leave other areas untouched!

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