Tag Archives: Apply Image

Easy Noise Reduction Tutorial in Photoshop

Have you always been scared of increasing the ISO on your camera in dim light because of the resulting noise in the images? Has this discouraged you from taking pictures in low light?

Fret not. This tutorial will take care of all your ISO noise anxieties and will let you go trigger happy during night shoots.

Noise reduction in Photoshop

  1. Open the image on which you need to reduce the noise.
  2. If you see the image panel, you’ll notice that the image will be opened as a background layer. Create a duplicate of the background layer (just in case).
  3. Having selected the duplicate layer to go to Filter -> Noise -> Reduce Noise. A new window will open up with some sliders in it. Let’s break them down one by one.
    reduce noise window
  • Strength: This slider, affects globally. That means it will eliminate the noise pixels in the overall image.
  • Preserve details: Pixels tend to get blurred while reducing noise. The preserve details slider will bring back the texture and other small details in the image. Different combinations of strength and preserve details slider work differently for different images. You will have to experiment to see which combination gives the best quality.
  • Reduce Colour noise: This slider will reduce any floating colour pixels due to chromatic aberration.
  • Sharpen details: The blurring of noisy pixels may result in reducing the sharpness of the image. Use the sharpen details slider to restore sharpness in the image.
  1. At the end of all the sliders, you will see a checkbox that says “Remove JPEG artifacts”. This will remove any noise that may occur while saving the image as a JPEG.
  2. If you want to make noise reduction specific to the RGB colour channel, click on the advanced tab.
  3. Select the desired colour channel and make the adjustment to the strength and preserve details slider.
    channel wise noise reduction
  4. Once you are satisfied with all the changes, hit ok and the edited image will open in Photoshop.
  5. Unhide the layer on top to reveal the background layer. You will notice that noise has reduced from the original layer to the duplicate layer.
  6. Save your image and you are done with reducing the noise.
    noise reduction

Try more night shots

Now that you know the secret, try more night shots. ISO is a very good feature in digital camera if it only wasn’t for the resulting noise. Hopefully, camera manufacturers will try to come up with ways of minimizing the noise grains at high ISO but until then, this little Photoshop technique should do the trick.

Using Apply Image on Layer Masks in Photoshop

Layer masks are one of the most useful tools in Photoshop, allowing the user to apply adjustments to an image selectively. Masking, however, can be one of the most frustrating aspects of post-production, sometimes requiring lots of intricate work. One tool in Photoshop that can make your masking life easier is also one of the most overlooked: Apply Image.

Masking can be incredibly tedious, especially when working with fine detail or areas without hard edges. Using Apply Image on a mask can give you more control over where your adjustments are applied since the source of the mask is the pixel information in the layer you choose to apply.

Apply image allows you to choose a source layer, like the background or even a merged version of the whole image, and apply that image to the layer mask of your choice, using the blending modes or not, in black and white. When using masks, white reveals while black conceals, so having a perfect representation of the layer of your choice on a layer mask can be incredibly helpful in selectively applying adjustments.

Not only can you see the working layer mask in full size by pressing Option/Alt and clicking the layer mask, which gives you incredible detail to work with, but you can make broad adjustments to the layer mask by using a handy little command. Select the layer mask, and press Command+m/Ctrl+m. This will bring up a curves adjustment just for that layer mask only, so you can change the luminosity of specific areas of the mask, like the shadows, mid tones, or highlights to control which areas of your adjustment are revealed and which are concealed by adjusting how much black or white is in that area of the mask.

This technique can be used with any adjustment layer so you can affect the luminosity, hue and saturation, color, exposure, and others with more precision, either on a small scale or globally.

Apply Layer can be particularly handy for color grading and exposure adjustments.

This image below relied on Applied Layer Masks to finesse the skin contrast.

I created a Curves Adjustment Layer, then used Apply Image to bring the gray scale mask to the layer. I used Cmd+m to create a curves adjustment on my layer mask and used that curves adjustment to darken the highlights and the shadows until only the midtones were white. This means that the contrast was only added to the mid tones. If there are areas that can’t be covered by the mask curve, I can always go in with a few quick brush strokes to make up the difference.

To Use Applied Layer Masks

1. Create an Adjustment Layer and Select the Layer Mask  

Create an Adjustment Layer and then select the Layer Mask by clicking on the mask

2. Select Image > Apply Image

Under the Image tab, select Apply Image and make sure the Layer Mask is selected

3. Choose the Layer You Want to Apply to the Mask

Chose which layer you want to apply to the mask

4. Choose the Blending Mode

Chose the Blending Mode

5. Make Adjustments to the Applied Layer Mask

You can use a black or white brush, or a Curves Adjustment directly to the Mask with Cmd/Ctrl+m

The result of using Cmd/Ctrl+m to expose or hide the effect of a Gradient Map Adjustment. Don’t forget that black conceals and white reveals.

Of course, this gradient map is an extreme example, but the visual should help you see how other effects, such as exposure or color adjustments, can be applied and the carefully controlled using the power of Apply Image to an Adjustment Layer Mask. Experiment with different blending modes such as Multiply, and using Inverse in the Apply Image dialogue box, to see how those changes affect your mask and the image as a whole.