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Noise Ninja took the original (top) and improved it by cleaning up the noise (below) - and you'll have to trust us that the effect is far more noticeable in high-res images.
Digital grain - better known as image noise - all too often overwhelms the dark or otherwise smooth areas of your digital photos. However, noise reduction usually comes at the cost of image detail. Fortunately, there's Noise Ninja, an effective, flexible noise-reduction tool.
Functioning as either a standalone app or a Photoshop-compatible plug-in, Noise Ninja works by first creating a noise profile based on the camera you use. A slew of camera-specific profiles are available for free on PictureCode's Web site, or you can easily create your own by taking pictures of an included color-calibration chart at different ISO settings. Noise Ninja then analyzes the results in software. (We found that the plug-in was better at automatically loading the correct camera or ISO profile if we created our own.)
Once the profile is ready, you simply run a noise filter on your image to get rid of the noise. A brush tool allows you to reduce the effect on detailed areas before applying the filter. You can dig deeper into Noise Ninja's settings to fine-tune options such as sharpening or the priority given to image characteristics such as exposure, illumination, or saturation when addressing noise levels.
One of Noise Ninja's strengths is its ability to clean up your image with speed and efficiency. It offers greater control than Photoshop CS2's Noise Reduction filter, and its approach is more streamlined than some of its competitors, such as nik multimedia's Dfine.
The bottom line. Noise Ninja quickly and effectively rescues noise-imperiled images.
PRICE: $34.95 (Home Standalone), $44.95 (Home Bundle with Photoshop plug-in), $69.95 (Pro Standalone), $79.95 (Pro Bundle with Photoshop plug-in)
REQUIREMENTS: G3, Mac OS 10.2.8 or later, 32MB RAM, 50MB disk space
Effective, streamlined interface. Free camera profiles. Can batch process.
Free camera profiles may not best suit your needs.