noisy or clean (which do you prefer?)

Discussion in 'Nature' started by Luke, Jun 16, 2013.

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  1. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Last night I was shooting the dogs in a dark house so I took the camera out of auto ISO mode where I usually leave it and put it at ISO6400. Forgot to change it back for some morning rain macros so all the shots were a little noisy. I still liked this one, but I added a bunch of "film grain" to it in Color Efex. Too much? Distracting? Or does it add character? Please cast your vote and feel free to explain why you prefer the one you do. Does it depend on the shot or situation?
    View attachment 71053
    Rose blooms (noisy) by Lukinosity, on Flickr

    De-noised using the sweet free program Noiseware Community Edition by Imagenomic.
    View attachment 71054
    Rose buds (De-noised) by Lukinosity, on Flickr
  2. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Hall of Famer

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    They are both very nice indeed, but the "noisy" one has a bit more sharply defined fine detail, and I usually have a preference for that over less noise. Your free noise program does a really nice job though; does it support TIFF? Right now I'm using an old copy of NeatImage for those occasional images in which I want more NR.
  3. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    I believe that TIFF support is only available in the PRO version.
  4. pniev

    pniev Student for life

    May 13, 2013
    I like both. The noise adds some character and detail while the de-noised version is a tad more "dreamy".
  5. bartjeej

    bartjeej Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    For the background, I have no particular preference. I think the cleaned up one looks a bit more dreamy and the noisy one looks a bit more tangible.
    For the flower itself, even at this relatively small viewing size, the noisy one has a bit more detail (texture) in the flower's petal, so usually I'd prefer that. The smoother look of the denoised version does look very nice in this particular context though, since it makes it look like there's a sheen of water over the petal.

    In general, so long as it increases the texture of objects in the scene (as opposed to becoming its own "texture") my noise threshold is quite high.
  6. lcsolla

    lcsolla Regular

    Sep 5, 2011
    Lisbon, Portugal
    Luis Castro e Solla
    I think it is very much like discussing colour vs. black-and-white: it should be an aesthetic, deliberate choice. What works better for a picture/size/display (e.g., monitor vs. print)/message (e.g., feelings to evoke) is not necessarily what works best for other picture/size/display/message. I try to suppress noise in some of my pictures, and let it stay there in others. I never added grain, though. But this does not mean that I am opposed to it. Forty years ago I studied drawing with a famous portuguese professor, a sculptor. He used to tell us that he really did not care whether a line was vertical or not. But if it was vertical, it must be because we wanted to draw a vertical line, not because of mere chance, or our inability to do what we wanted to.
  7. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    For a time I did like adding noise ("grain") to images through the use of various film simulations, but I think at one point I decided that I was wasting the capabilities of these modern digital sensors somewhat by making them look all lo-fi.

    In this example here however I think that noise adds a lot of interest to the out-of-focus areas which seem almost too featureless in the second image.
  8. snkenai

    snkenai All-Pro

    Oct 5, 2010
    kenai, AK
    Stephen Noel
    The only time that I like noise/grain, is in B&W.
  9. Lucille

    Lucille Veteran

    Aug 20, 2012
    Hepcat City
    I vote for both!
  10. My eyes and tastes prefer the noisy file!!! To my eyes the red of the rose is more saturated and the water droplets have more depth to them. Both beautiful though :)
  11. Djarum

    Djarum All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    I like the clean one. The noise in the background makes the bokeh look a little funky and a little distracting. I've been playing with Rawtherapee a bit, and they've got a nice tool that allows sharpining/microcontrast enhancement which adds contrast to only detailed areas of the image so it doesn't add noise to background.
  12. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I tend to like grain a lot, even in a lot of color shots, even in color FLOWER shots, but in this case, I'll take the cleaner one. The subject flower looks equally good either way, I think, but the background is a bit more distracting with the noisy version. I wouldn't complain about either, but if forced to choose, I'll take clean...

  13. Isoterica

    Isoterica Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    They both have their merits as others have said. I've found when I do gritty black and white flower images they aren't enjoyed as much by others as my color images. Not sure if it is the lack of color or the grit or both-- though lack of color is most suspect. So my advice is to tinker and do what YOU like and if you aren't sure, keep playing around in pp until you feel you're done. :)
  14. madmaxmedia

    madmaxmedia Veteran

    Nov 10, 2010
    Los Angeles
    What I don't like is bad/excessive noise reduction that further reduces image detail. If the original captured image data is somewhat noisy, I will take that any day of the week, over smeary in-camera noise reduction.

    Color noise is sort of a different issue, I don't know anyone who likes that. Fortunately color noise is pretty easily removed in-camera or in post.

    I'll sometimes reduce or add some noise/grain in post.
  15. Phoenix

    Phoenix Super Moderator

    Dec 28, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Phoenix Gonzales
    I actually prefer noise in my photos, then again this also depends on the style and the juxtaposition.
  16. RT Panther

    RT Panther All-Pro

    Dec 25, 2012
    Because of the uneven characteristics of real film grain, emulating it with noise is quite the challenge for film emulation software....
  17. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    I voted for "noisy" because it has more intensity and although that may not always be what one is looking for, in this close up of that bud I feel it has more impact and is a stronger image. That's my armchair view.:drinks:
  18. TraamisVOS

    TraamisVOS Hall of Famer

    Nov 29, 2010
    Melboune, Australia
    Colour photos I like clean.

    B&W photos in many circumstances I like grain.
  19. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    I like the noisy one as well. Seems to add a sense of greater detail.

    I recently took this shot and found that when I went to process it, there was a lot less detail than I thought I had gotten, and adding fake grain helped (IMO):

  20. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Thanks all for your input. I think if it were one that was special to me, I'd probably clean up the out of focus areas, and leave the noise (with that added perception of detail) in the flower and buds that are in focus.
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