The Essentials Tools Panel in Skylum Luminar is a set of filters. They are some of the most frequently used tools in image post-processing workflows. This article is an ultimate guide to the Luminar Denoise filter, which sits within the Essentials Tools Panel.
Have you ever noticed unsightly noise, grain or artefacts in your digital photographs? This is often caused by a number of factors including being introduced:
- In-camera as you shot the image due using a high ISO
- In-camera due to long exposure shots, most noticeable in low light
- During processing due to extensive edits, often with non-RAW images
- Because the sensor is a lower spec, most noticeable in low light
- Heat in the camera affecting the sensor, most noticable in hot weather
Luminar can help you eliminate these problems during image post-processing, using the Denoise tool.
The Denoise Tab has two sliders in the Basic panel. These are Luminosity Denoise & Color Denoise. The panel also has an Advanced Settings tab with a further slider called Boost & an Edit Mask option
Luminosity Noise is caused by a lack of available light when the image was captured. It is colourless and appears in an image as hot-pixels of light or graininess. The Luminosity Denoise slider helps to remove Luminosity Noise from an image.
The Luminosity Denoise function is able to analyse your image and help eliminate the problem. It does this by smoothing the pixels. When using the slider, you need to avoid over-doing the effect, as the end result is a loss of detail & sharpness. This can render an image as appearing plastic and unrealistic/over-processed in appearance.
The trick when using Luminar Denoise is not to try and remove all noise from your image, but more to determine an acceptable compromise between the amount of noise and the amount of sharpness and detail. The slider starts at zero, moving the slider to the right increases the amout of smoothing applied to your image.
Colour Noise appears in an image as random variations in the pixels. The Color Noise Slider helps to remove this by smoothing the colour variations. As with the Luminosity Noise slider, there is a compromise when removing Color Noise. You need to get a balance between smoothing the noise, but not smoothing too much that you lose detail and sharpness.
The Color Noise slider starts at zero. Moving the slider to the right increases the smoothing applied to your image.
Luminar Denoise – Advanced Settings
Left-Clicking the Advanced tab gives you an additional slider called Boost, and a mask function.
The Boost slider is a global slider, and determines the intensity of the Luminosity and Color Sliders. The slider datum is 25, and moving it to the right increases the intensity, to the left reduces intensity. Its a useful function if you want to reduce or increase the sensitivity of the Luminosity and Color Sliders.
Edit Mask Capability
To use the Edit Mask from the drop-down menu, you first apply The Denoise effects you want. Then selecting Brush in the Edit Mask drop-down menu, you can paint the areas of the image you want to affect.
You can change the brush size using the bracket keys:
- [ = Smaller Brush
- ] = Larger Brush
You can also change the flow of the effect for finer control over the edit. The Edit Mask capability is really useful if say you want to selectively remove noise from an image. You might for example have an image where there is background noise, but you want to avoid smoothing the foreground. Edit Mask allows you to do this.
In the example, a photo of the Vatican taken at night handheld with a Canon EOS 7D. The shot required a high ISO of 500, and the combination of this, and shooting with a camera whose sensor is not ideal for low light has introduced Luminosity Noise. Taking the Luminosity slider to 60 has significantly improved the image.
Luminar Denoise Conclusions
The Luminar Denoise capability is a powerful way of removing Color and Luminance Noise from your images.
This Luminar Essentials article forms a suite of interactive guides on the Skylum Luminar photo editing software. If you found this useful, please check out our other Luminar articles and how-to guides in the Learn Photography section of our site.
If you don’t yet have a copy of Luminar, but would like to purchase one, you can get a copy from the Luminar website.
Other Luminar articles you may be interested in:
The ultimate guide to the Luminar Color Tool, including interactive worked examples.
An interactive guide to Luminar Details Enhancement filters.
An interactive guide to the Luminar AI Enhance Tool capability.
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