May 21, 2021 | 9694 Views | By Dan Harlacher

ON1 Insider – A History and Preview of ON1 NoNoise AI

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?

  1. It will deliver the best results of any noise reduction app.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


23 comments on “ON1 Insider – A History and Preview of ON1 NoNoise AI”

  1. On May 21, 2021 at 1:28 pm David Price wrote:

    Hi Dan and ON1,

    It all looks pretty good so far.

    I would guess that having tamed the noise, that there would be nothing to stop you from then masking in Photo Raw’s Effects and Local Adjustment filters to refine the images further?

    And, when it launches in a Standalone version of Photo Raw, the noise reduction editing will also be completely non-destructive. Just as everything else already is in Photo Raw?

    As noise issues can affect different parts of an image in different ways. Can the NoNoise AI be masked in as well? If so, will it in the future be finding it’s way into Local Adjustments and/or Effects Filters?

    Well done to all at ON1, and this looks like something that was worth waiting for.

    Best wishes David Price

    1. On May 25, 2021 at 9:42 am Patrick Smith replied:

      Yes, it will be integrated in the fall release of Photo RAW

      1. On May 26, 2021 at 9:31 am Robert Lawrence replied:

        Good and bad. I thought it was an extra and purchased it. I have a Photo RAW subscription.

  2. On May 24, 2021 at 11:41 am daniel Carmichael wrote:

    Hi, Dan;
    Your product sounds good but leaves me in a bind.
    I currently own and use the Topaz product.
    I am considering jumping ship.
    However, I have searched for comparisons of the two products and can find nothing. And by the time your product is released (and I can glean comparisons), the $30 discount code will have expired. It’s a no-win for me and leaves me in a classic rock and a hard place.
    Regards,
    -Dan

    1. On May 25, 2021 at 9:42 am Patrick Smith replied:

      We will extend the discount for you! We will make sure of it

      1. On May 25, 2021 at 12:22 pm daniel Carmichael replied:

        Thanks, Dan. Looking forward to the product. Any chance of it hitting the streets a little sooner? LOL.
        -Dan

  3. On May 24, 2021 at 12:41 pm Gerry Fraiberg wrote:

    When I first saw Portrait AI promotional photos, my jaw kind of dropped a bit. I was excited about the next version, 2021. From what I see here, ON1 has done it again with NoNoise AI.

  4. On May 24, 2021 at 2:06 pm Kelvin Muggeridge wrote:

    Exceptionally well done looking forward to it’s release

  5. On May 24, 2021 at 2:47 pm Brett Styles wrote:

    Will this be included in the ON1 Photo Raw Subscription to use in our workflows or just an extra product?

    1. On May 25, 2021 at 9:40 am Patrick Smith replied:

      It will be included in the Photo RAW subscription. We will send this out to you once it is available in June.

  6. On May 24, 2021 at 7:11 pm paul.mcdonald wrote:

    I’m excited by this as a long-term Topaz Labs user – building noise reduction of that speed and effectiveness (or better) into ON1 would be fantastic.

    Some clarity on whether or not this is going to be built into the ON1 Photo Raw app would be useful, presumably it will be similar to PortraitAI?

    Exciting times and well done On1!

  7. On May 24, 2021 at 9:28 pm Robert Lehanka wrote:

    I don’t see that much difference[except the different hue] on my laptop. I would of liked to compare it to Topaz’s new IA noise reduction which also helps out with sharpening. It also helps sharpen some fuzzy photos. Does OnOne do this ? I also would like to know why we are paying extra for this and not getting it in the new Photo Raw ? I am a Plus Pro member which I figured would get a better deal.. Thank You. I would have liked to have a trial period that I wouldn’t lose the discount….

  8. On May 25, 2021 at 1:19 am Steve Pellatt wrote:

    As a proplus member I hope this isn’t going to be the start of a pattern of charging extra for different upgrades when they have normally been included in the yearly fee? I don’t recall users being charged extra for the other AI upgrades added? Assuming I buy the AI denoise will it be a one-off fee or will I have to pay each year for it? If it gets upgraded in 2022 will I be expected to pay again? I’m going to think carefully about this one as DXO have just released a really good RAW processor/denoise product which I’ve been trialling.

  9. On May 25, 2021 at 2:19 am David Price wrote:

    On the Forums, ON1 have already confirmed that NoNoise AI will be included in Photo Raw. But, we will have to wait. (Probably until the next big launch in Autumn/Fall). As long as I continue to pay my Plus Membership fee, I would expect to get the new version of Photo Raw.

    Also, as Photo Raw 2021 already has a number of excellent sharpening tools, including the Fix Focus Filter. I see no reason why Photo Raw will not be able to sharpen images.

  10. On May 25, 2021 at 4:41 am Robert Benyon wrote:

    I’m pleased to see that NoNoise can be used in non-Raw pics. Like a lot of photographers of a certain age, I have many treasured older pics and scanned slides in jpeg which could use denoising. This also gives it an edge over the DxO deep prime as it’s RAW only.

  11. On May 25, 2021 at 8:25 am Paul Bataille wrote:

    I’ve read on the website that AI Noise will be included in the new release of ON1 Photo RAW, planned for this fall. That’s good news. And I shouldn’t like to think that there will be no way of masking out the effect. That’s obligatory in my view. Already now I do my noise reduction often with a mask on the main subject in a density that’s appropriate for the subject, so that in the main subject more detail is retained than in the background.
    A good way to bring some more detail back is to add a bit of dynamic contrast, with the mask from the noise reduction inverted.

  12. On May 25, 2021 at 8:28 am Paul Bataille wrote:

    PS: Hopefully the new AI NoNoise is so good I won’t have to mask the effect off partly for the main subject anymore!!

  13. On May 25, 2021 at 12:34 pm daniel Carmichael wrote:

    (Further on what Robert wrote above)

    Are we allowed to talk about the competitors?
    The problem I have with Topaz DeNoise AI (as well as Gigapixel) is that I can’t seem to completely turn sharpening off. As I understand it, ON1 NoNoise will allow me to do that. It is oh so nice when a software company allows the user to make their own decisions about their own art instead of the software manufacturer making decisions for the user! Good stuff and the correct philosophy, ON1 !

  14. On May 27, 2021 at 4:12 pm Wouter J. van Duin wrote:

    Price reduction now until may 31 will be no issue for me.

    Only true comparing of facts will prove if any price here is worth your thoughts about your product.

    I don’t believe any unseen predictions. DxO PhotoLab 4.2 will be the product to surpass. I can fully understand why they state they cannot deliver the same effects for completely different sensors. I don’t believe On1 can deliver what they say they cannot. FujiFilms at their Raw state are too different to be treated wtith the same set of AI data.

  15. On May 29, 2021 at 9:04 pm Lloyd Tapper wrote:

    I currently use DxO Photo Lab Prime for noise reduction when I really need some drastic action without compromising photo quality. I’m glad to see ON1’s NoNoise AI seeming to be equal to the task and I can then eliminate PhotoLab.

  16. On June 4, 2021 at 5:06 am Doug Welch wrote:

    When NoNoise was announced, with a price tag, I made contact with customer services and specifically asked if NoNoise AI was to be incorporated into Photo Raw and told “no, it was chargeable product”

    On that basis I took advantage of the preorder discount. I’m very disappointed to hear Patrick say that NoNoise AI will be included into the ON1 Photo Raw as a standard feature (I would have expected that anyway since it was voted as a ‘must have’ upgrade feature in a questionnaire for Photo Raw improvements)

    Will that mean payments will be refunded for ongoing subscribers to Photo Raw and On1 Plus members like myself?

  17. On July 15, 2021 at 5:29 am Arend Melissant wrote:

    Hi,
    To be honest, i always found the raw processing of on1 lacking in comparison to dxo. The result i now get with nonoise on a non noisy picture is much better, so i hope that the raw engine from nonoise will replace the old one, if so, i can finnaly stop using an external app (dxo) for all my photo editing.

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