Boundary Noise Reduction Manual
Start by clicking the Profile button for the type of camera used to capture your image (digital or film).
You can click the corresponding checkboxes if you want profiling to occur automatically whenever the plugin's user interface is loaded. If you are using smart filters, you may wish to disable this behaviour by entering the UI, disabling the checkbox, and then clicking cancel.
For slightly better results than what the Profile button determines, you can manually tweak the filter parameters.
For the highest quality results, shoot RAW and turn off any sharpening and noise reduction performed in RAW processing software.
Use the mouse wheel or the 100%, 200% and 400% buttons to change the zoom level. Click and drag the red box in the overview area to quickly move around the entire image. Click-drag the bottom right corner of the window to change how large the preview area is. Double-click the text to the left of the sliders to reset that particular setting.
That's all you need to know to get started!
If you wish to avoid noise reduction in the highlights, adjust the Highlight
protect threshold (highlight protection) and Highlight protect
feather settings. Check the Show advanced controls checkbox if these sliders are hidden. Values above the threshold will have
reduced or no noise reduction. Setting feather higher will create a more gradual
transition between full noise reduction and no noise reduction. This pair
is useful in situations where you need to remove only shadow noise.
Depending on your HDR application, you may find that you get the best results from applying BNR before you combine your bracketed exposures. For the brightest exposure, you may wish to reduce the highlight protect threshold setting as the brightest exposure likely has little noise in the highlights and any NR would be more damaging than helpful.
Reset All: Resets all settings. Double-clicking on the text beside the sliders will reset that particular control.
If either of the profile on startup checkboxes are enabled, hitting Reset All will use the Profile algorithm to find reasonable base settings.
Profile Digital Image and Profile Film Image: Profiles the image and guesses reasonable settings.
Profile (digital) / (film) on startup: Profiles the image when the user interface is loaded. If you re-apply the filter (Crtl-F) onto a layer that is not a Smart Object, the last previous settings will be used and no profiling will occur. If you want profiling to occur, call the filter via Filters -> Colormancer -> Boundary Noise Reduction so that the user interface will load.
If you are using smart filters, you may wish to disable this behaviour by entering the UI, disabling the checkbox, and then clicking cancel. The profiling feature will not overwrite previous settings after doing this.
Show advanced controls: Hides the advanced controls that are usually not needed.
Overall Noise Level: This setting tells the plugin the noise level of the image / how noisy the image is.
If set too low, noise 'outliers' (e.g. specks of noise) will remain in the image. If set too high, image detail will be unnecessarily blurred.
Set overall noise level high enough to remove noise outliers and use the "Mix in original B&W detail" setting to add back original detail.
When adjusting this setting, you can check the Preview without original detail mixed in checkbox so that what you see is not affected by sharpening or mixing in original detail.
Highlights noise level: Images taken with a digital camera will have greater noise in the shadows than the highlights, while images taken with a film camera will have roughly the same amount of noise throughout the entire tonal range. The highlights noise level setting tells the plugin how much noise is in the highlights relative to the shadows.
Very fine, fine, broad, and very broad noise level: These settings are linked to "overall noise level" and allow for further control over the noise level for very fine, fine, broad, and very broad noise/detail. These settings are equivalent to the low/high frequency settings in other noise reduction plugins (very high frequency = very fine detail, very low frequency = very broad detail).
Decrease the very fine noise level setting if you wish to get sharper edges and retail more fine detail. This may have the side effect of revealing specks of noise. You generally do not need to use the noise level controls for the other levels of detail.
If you prefer more aggressive or conservative settings for noise level than what Profile gives you, you can set these four settings to numbers higher or less than 1.
Mix in original B&W detail: Mixes luma information between the original image and the noise reduced image to retain black & white detail (and as a side effect, noise) from the original image. This tends to yield more natural-looking results than completely removing noise, which usually leads to a 'plastic' look.
Use the "Preview without original detail mixed in" checkbox to preview the image with this turned off.
Mix in original color detail: Like the setting above except for chroma information. Settings of -0.3 to -0.5 can be appropriate for higher ISO dSLR images for greater color noise removal.
Again, use the "Preview without original detail mixed in" checkbox to preview the image with this turned off.
Very fine, fine, broad, very broad detail NR: Controls the amount of noise reduction performed at different sizes/frequencies of detail. Mixes between a noise reduced version of the image and the original image. This setting generally does not need to be used.
Sharpening (B&W detail): Sharpens the image to counteract the effect of noise reduction. For each individual pixel, the amount of sharpening performed is proportional to the amount of noise reduction performed.
Sharpening (color detail): Sharpens the chroma channels of the image. If this is set too high, it may cause colored halos/ringing artifacts on the edge of highly saturated objects.
If you prefer more aggressive or conservative settings for sharpening than what Profile gives you, you can set these four settings to numbers higher or less than 1.
Very fine, fine, broad, very broad sharpening: Controls the amount of sharpening performed for different sizes/frequencies of detail.
Highlight protect threshold and Highlight protect feather: Protects highlights. Noise reduction is reduced or completely eliminated for highlights. The threshold setting controls where this protection begins. The feather setting controls the range where the plugin transitions between full noise reduction and no noise reduction.
For example: Suppose threshold is at 30 and feather is at 40. For values 0 to 30, full noise reduction is applied. For values 70 to 255 (70 = 30 + 40, or threshold + feather), no noise reduction is applied. Between 30 and 70, there is a transition between full noise reduction and no noise reduction.
To find good settings for this pair, start by setting feather to 0. Adjust threshold downwards until shadow noise is no longer being removed, and then back off. Then adjust the feather setting upwards slightly (e.g. around 10-20).
Protect shadows instead of highlights: As the name suggests, inverts the effect of highlight protect threshold and feather. One application would be to target noise removal only to sky areas (assuming that the highlights consist mostly of sky).
Preview without original detail mixed in (checkbox): Turns off mixing in original B&W and color detail for the preview. This can be helpful in setting overall noise level. When filtering the actual image after exiting the GUI window, original detail *will* be mixed in.
Show original (checkbox): Shows the original image. Clicking on the right half of the split-screen proxy will also show the original image.
Load settings and save settings: Loads and saves .bnr files. See the presets folder for some suggested settings and odd/novel uses of the filter.
Zoom (100%, 200%, 400%): You may click the 100%, 200%, and 400% buttons to zoom the proxy preview to those particular levels. You can also use the mouse wheel over the proxy to zoom in/out.
Click and drag the proxy to move around in it.
Other controls: You can click and drag within the navigator view (the upper view that displays the entire image) to move the preview around. Clicking outside the red box will immediately move to the clicked area.
In the textboxes, you may enter negative numbers for novel and 'interesting' results. Some settings clamp the input at 0 so negative numbers will not do anything for those settings.
Roll-over the images below to see the before/after. The links and images point to .bnr preset files.
To install, simply unzip and copy the plugin file into your Photoshop plugins directory. It's as simple as that! If you run into problems, try the step-by-step instructions below:
v2.2.0: BNR now obeys selections. Instructions added to user interface.
v2.1.0: 10-20% faster. (Mac) Fixed bug where save/load settings buttons don't show up.
v1.4.1: Fixed subtle image quality bug.
v1.4.0: Improved algorithm for less aliasing on edges and slightly less 'splotchiness' from chroma noise. Profiling will no longer overwrite over sharpening and mix in original detail settings.
v1.2.1: Improved profiling algorithm.
v1.2.0: Profiling added.
v1.1.0: User interface changes: noise size renamed to noise level, unimportant settings de-emphasized, Reset Noise Reduction Settings button removed. Double-clicking on the text beside the sliders will now reset that particular setting/parameter. A message will appear once bugging users to read the quick start guide.
v1.0.3: (Mac only) Save + load settings default directory now sticks, added Mac Photoline compatibility
v1.0.2: (PC only) x64 support