May 21, 2021 | 9694 Views | By Dan Harlacher
We’ve been working hard at bringing an all-new product to market – ON1 NoNoise AI. In this ON1 Insider post, VP of Product Dan Harlacher tells a story of what brought us to this point.
As a photographer, I’ve always had an innate understanding of reciprocity. Reciprocity is the give and take of two factors that are inextricably locked together with the yin and yang. There are equal and opposite pros and cons for almost every decision you make when creating a photograph. Exposure is the classic example. If you want a faster shutter speed, you sacrifice depth-of-field and vice versa. When I used to shoot film, to work in low light, you had to use a higher ISO film to get the faster shutter speeds needed to stop action for sports or concerts. With that higher ISO, the film grain size had to increase, making the photo more grainy. Back then, the highest ISO films available were 1600 for color or 3200 for black and white. And when you photographed with those films, the grain was the size of golf balls. Going beyond a 5×7 print was terrible.
Today with digital cameras, 1600 or even 3200 ISO is pretty low in the range they can capture. ISOs as high as 200,000 are available on some cameras today. Now digital cameras don’t have grain as film did, but they do have noise, which isn’t all that different in appearance. At low ISO settings of 400 or less, you are likely not to see it at all. As the ISO increases, however, you will start to see more and more of it. If you need to photograph at high ISOs to stop the action in low light conditions such as wildlife, sports, concerts, law enforcement, and some astrophotography, you have undoubtedly seen some heavy grain.
Now, back to reciprocity. Via software, you can reduce this digital noise, but you have to sacrifice sharpness to achieve it. It’s always a balance of how these two competing processing algorithms work together. Sure, you can get rid of all the noise, but it will leave you with mushy, soft, or even painterly appearance. The way you balance sharpness and noise reduction is a deeply personal, almost religious decision for photographers. If you are an old-school film guy, you see noise as grain and part of the process and the soul of a photo. Removing all the noise is like comparing a classic movie to a soap opera in appearance. Others want no noise at all; they prefer what they see in nature to what the limitations of the medium can capture.
I’ve been rambling on a bit and should get to the point. Controlling noise is essential to photographers, whether you embrace it or despise it. When I talk to our users and my photography friends, they want the power to reduce noise without giving up details. That’s the holy grail, isn’t it, all the benefits of noise reduction without the sacrifice to sharpness. That’s what we plan to achieve with the release of ON1 NoNoise AI.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing computers and photography by enabling things that were impossible just a few years ago. At ON1, we’ve made a significant investment in AI. We have brought several solutions to our apps, leveraging them like the AI Quick Mask tool, our Lightroom Migration tool, Portrait AI, and even AI Auto/AI Match. Next up is ON1 NoNoise AI.
Here are more of our results from the new NoNoise AI. Below you will see some examples of small sections of images magnified at 200%. Each of the captions describe them and show our working results. We are excited to share them with you and to get your feedback.
Please note: In some examples, you will see minor color or contrast differences between the photos as they are using several different applications and raw processing engines. Please pay close attention to the noise and detail.
How will ON1 NoNoise AI be better than the other noise reduction software out there today?
- It will deliver the best results of any noise reduction app.
- It will be fast and super easy-to-use. You shouldn’t have to wait a minute per photo and you won’t have to with the fast live previews in ON1 NoNoise AI.
- You won’t have to create a new file just for noise reduction. ON1 NoNoise AI will have full support for RAW photos, including Fujifilm and non-raw photos too.