Stacking Order for Denoise and Sharpen

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mojosam
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Stacking Order for Denoise and Sharpen

Post by mojosam » Sun 08 Dec 2019 09:19

Is my understanding correct that processing starts at the top layer and proceeds downward? What is the correct stacking order for layers when you want one process to occur before another?

Adobe's recommendation for sharpening and noise correction is:
• Reduce image noise before sharpening so that you don’t intensify the noise.
• Sharpen your image on a separate layer so that you can resharpen it later to output to a different medium.

So if I start with only the background layer, I can go Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Denoise. That puts a Denoise layer above my background layer.

If I'm not paying attention, the Denoise layer is now active. So I go Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Unsharp Masking. That puts the Unsharp Masking layer above the Denoise layer.

Shouldn't Denoise be on top, so it erases some of the noise before the sharpening hits? I've tried rearranging the order of the layers, but I can't detect a difference.

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der_fotograf
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Re: Stacking Order for Denoise and Sharpen

Post by der_fotograf » Sun 08 Dec 2019 11:02

I am not an expert for layer stuff, but I'd like to shed some light on the denoise and sharpening functions (in any image editor).

Denoising and/or noise removal is some sort of softening or blurring areas and/or edges, even if you will use some specific tools like i.e. NoiseNinja or Noisewave, LR or whatever comes into your mind.

So this is the first step. For pixel peepers it might look great on screen, but not in print, because in many cases it will be to soft or »undefined«.

With a sharpening step you will reverse the denoising, adding sharper edges and more artifacts in color areas. This is a logical consequence, because it is obvious where the edges come from: from the softened edges you have generated in the first step. However, now the edges are a tad wider, that means with a new sharpening they will tend to look weird. The look and image quality will decrease with more sharpening and definitely degrade your final image.

If you are working with scanned images, this is the worst procedure. Try instead to scan at the real resolution of the scanner instead of interpolating the image for a larger output size.

Other than that: The best way for sharp images is a rock solid tripod and a cable (or digital remote) release. In simple words: If you put shit in, you'll get shit out. Same applies for digital images, no matter what the manufacturer promises you with any feature of alleged »image stabilization« either in camera or in lens...
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bkh
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Re: Stacking Order for Denoise and Sharpen

Post by bkh » Sun 08 Dec 2019 15:06

mojosam wrote:
Sun 08 Dec 2019 09:19
Is my understanding correct that processing starts at the top layer and proceeds downward? What is the correct stacking order for layers when you want one process to occur before another?
No, it's the other way round – the metaphor is that you start with an image on your "desk" and put adjustments/filters/… on top of it, just the same as in PS any other layer based image editor. (But when using a single adjustment layer with several adjustments, processing order within that layer is from top to bottom.)
mojosam wrote:
Sun 08 Dec 2019 09:19
Adobe's recommendation for sharpening and noise correction is:
• Reduce image noise before sharpening so that you don’t intensify the noise.
• Sharpen your image on a separate layer so that you can resharpen it later to output to a different medium.
Totally agreed. The additional layer is unneccessary if you use an adjustment layer in PL because they work non-destructively.
mojosam wrote:
Sun 08 Dec 2019 09:19
I've tried rearranging the order of the layers, but I can't detect a difference.
In most cases, you can compensate the additional noise caused by sharpening by stronger de-noising, but this will have an impact on image quality (depending on the amount of noise and sharpening/denoising techniques used). Also, changing the sharpening for a different output medium will require you to re-adjust the denoise layer.

Cheers

Burkhard

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mojosam
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Re: Stacking Order for Denoise and Sharpen

Post by mojosam » Sun 08 Dec 2019 21:40

bkh wrote:
Sun 08 Dec 2019 15:06
No, it's the other way round – the metaphor is that you start with an image on your "desk" and put adjustments/filters/… on top of it
Oh, that's right. You're "viewing" from the top down, but the layers have to act on something, which is coming up from below.
bkh wrote:
Sun 08 Dec 2019 15:06
Also, changing the sharpening for a different output medium will require you to re-adjust the denoise layer.
I hadn't thought of that. I'll keep it in mind. Thanks for the info.

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Hoogo
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Re: Stacking Order for Denoise and Sharpen

Post by Hoogo » Sun 08 Dec 2019 21:49

bkh wrote:
Sun 08 Dec 2019 15:06
No, it's the other way round – the metaphor is that you start with an image on your "desk" and put adjustments/filters/… on top of it, just the same as in PS any other layer based image editor.
Just like that. Old versions of PL were top-down, but as every other program was bottom-up, it was changed at V12 or 13 or so.

I think some graphic sugar like shadow and a little overlapping of layers could make that clearer.
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gennadiy
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Re: Stacking Order for Denoise and Sharpen

Post by gennadiy » Mon 09 Dec 2019 07:54

mojosam wrote:
Sun 08 Dec 2019 09:19
I use this workflow:
Converter with sharp off -> PL adjustments -> Resize (PhotoZoom) -> PL (FocalBlade sharper plugin on layer with masks).
Denoise is not commonly used.