NoiseControl effectively removes image noise while preserving essential details and the photographic quality of the image. It offers sharpening, saturation and grain features for enhancing the image after denoising. You can also apply denoising with extreme settings to create painting-like effects.
NoiseControl is available as a Photoshop-compatible plugin for Windows and MacOS X. A Windows Standalone/Lightroom version is under development. The NoiseControl plugin works in dozens of graphics applications, including Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Paint Shop Pro, Photo-Paint, PhotoImpact and IrfanView. It supports batch processing, smart filtering and processes grayscale and RGB images with 8-bit and 16-bit/channel.
Most people want to remove image noise, because of its ugly or obtrusive appearance. Another problem arises when you try to sharpen a noisy image, which yields amplified noise rather than increased sharpness. NoiseControl effectively deals with both problems: It removes image noise and other artifacts while keeping image edges and details intact and at the same time applies sophisticated sharpening without amplifying noise.
NoiseControl distinguishes details from noise by performing thousands of clever calculations per pixel. Thus it is able to achieve a superior detail/noise ratio by keeping essential details while filtering noise. For best results it internally operates with 16-bit and 32-bit precision, even when processing 8-bit images.
NoiseControl offers two methods for automatically choosing effective denoising parameters: The Auto Sample feature finds and evaluates a noise sample, a uniform image area without any details, whereas the Auto Preset feature chooses an existing preset according to the embedded EXIF data, mainly the camera model and ISO value, of the photo.
There are also various possibilities to manually fine-tune the denoising settings. You can manually select a noise sample in the preview by drawing a sample area, visually compare split views with different settings and select one of them or you can manually adjust the denoising controls. The ability to view luminance and color channels separately is an additional aid for manual fine-tuning.
The best results are usually achieved if you selectively adjust the denoising for various image areas. For that purpose NoiseControl allows you to alter the denoising parameters in shadows, midtones, highlights and nine color areas of the image. These selective adjustments can be performed with the help of sliders or by clicking on the appropriate image area with the eyedropper tool and dragging left or right.
NoiseControl also offer various features known from our other PhotoWiz plugins. It features a simple mode for novices as well as an advanced mode for pro users. There are three preview tab sheets for quickly comparing and adjusting three versions of the image at the same time. A Navigator tab sheet lets you quickly scroll the preview image and the preview zoom can be set between 6% and 3200%.
On the other hand NoiseControl contains several innovative features. It does not only support multi-core CPUs, but also detects your CPU's L2/L3 cache and adjusts its memory usage accordingly, which results in faster rendering. For faster preview updates you can use the preview limit tool to restrict the effect to a smaller preview region.
Many other noise reduction tools mainly rely on automatic calibration, which does not produce the best results for all images, and offer only limited manual adjustments. NoiseControl features several fine-tuning methods including automatic, semiautomatic, manual and visual options. Thus it achieves superior denoising results, especially when fighting very strong noise. Most denoising tools add artifacts along with sharpening whereas NoiseControl's sharpening feature makes details crisp again without side-effects.
Some tools need several seconds to update the preview, because they need to render the whole image, or only update a small part of the preview. NoiseControl updates the preview very quickly and still displays the effect fairly accurately at zoom levels other than 100%. NoiseControl offers an easy to use UI and does not confuse the user with cryptic options. It does not require a complex sequence of denoising steps but displays the result instantly.
Some denoising software manufacturers advocate a plastic look and falsely encourage users to shoot with higher ISO values. We do not want people to exchange one evil with another. We believe that it is better to turn obtrusive noise into very fine grain, thus preserving a higher photographic quality. This philosophy is reflected by the moderate default values and the "Control" part of the NoiseControl name. Nevertheless NoiseControl also allows you to produce a soft look if that is what you want.