Macphun Noiseless Review

The best noise reduction software on the market!

Here's a photo we will be working on - dive in and learn about it!

I hate noise in my images.  There, I said it.  I really don’t like it at all.  Sure, a little grain on a black and white photo can look great, and that’s cool.  But most of my work is in color, and for that, I want a noise-free image.  Thankfully, I have Noiseless from Macphun, and it’s awesome.

Noiseless, like all the other Macphun apps, has a clean and easy to use interface, but that masks the very powerful noise reduction engine that runs underneath it.  It works incredibly well, and I love it.  I have used several noise reduction products over the years, and Noiseless is my favorite by far.

If you are interested in this product, look at the bottom of this page for a link to download a free trial, as well as a discount code should you decide to purchase it!

What is noise?

Noise is those little bits of grain or specks you see in your image, usually visible in skies or other areas that would normally lack detail.  It’s little distorted bits in your image, it can be splotches of discoloration, and it’s very annoying.  Once you see it, you can’t un-see it.  You know what I mean?

Noise can come into your image in a couple of different ways.  Your ISO settings on your camera are the first way you can accumulate noise.  A low ISO setting will produce the least amount of noise, and the higher your ISO, the greater the amount of noise.  Sometimes you need to raise your ISO because maybe you are shooting handheld in low light, and it’s the only way you can get a clear shot.

Otherwise, I recommend always shooting at the lowest ISO setting possible in order to avoid getting noise in your image.  But sometimes, you just can’t avoid it, and for those images, Noiseless is the answer.

Another way you can introduce noise into your images is through your processing choices.  Perhaps you are pushing some sliders pretty far to the right.  Anytime you are pushing the detail and sharpening-related sliders in your editing software (they may be known as Detail, Clarity, Structure, Sharpening etc), you run the risk of creating noise, because the sliders are intended to create a sharper, more detailed result - and usually, across the entire image.

If you use an editor that lets you apply these edits selectively, then you can likely avoid it, but if not, once again this is a great reason to turn to Noiseless.

Let’s take a close look at the product!

Here is an image I shot in London.  It’s an HDR photo in which I purposefully pushed the detail sliders WAY TOO FAR TO THE RIGHT.  This is not what my photo would normally look like, but I wanted to create a bunch of noise in the sky so I could more easily demonstrate Noiseless.

Yes, it looks terrible right now, but that was by design.  We are going to use Noiseless to clean it up.  Pay particular attention to the sky, because that is what we will focus on in this review.  Often, noise can de obscured in other areas due to already existing textures and patterns there, but skies are where noise can be really prominent, because they are generally smooth.

Note that Noiseless, like the other Macphun apps, can be used as either a standalone app (which is how we are using it in this review) or as a plug-in to popular host programs.  

I had the base TIFF file on my desktop, so I just dragged it into Noiseless and hit Reset so I could show you the landing page without any adjustments applied.  You see, Noiseless is smart and once your image is loaded, it will already apply one of the Presets that it feels will be a good starting point for your image.

Note the Presets on the right hand side of the frame.  They range from Lightest to Extreme and everywhere in between.  Also note that in the upper right, next to where the word Presets is highlighted (it is highlighted because we are on the Preset menu), there is the word Adjust.

If you click on this, you will get a full menu of adjustment sliders.  Everything is currently at zero because I hit reset when I first got into Noiseless.  This Adjust panel is very handy for two reasons:

  1. You can start here and fine-tune everything by hand, resulting in noise reduction that you control completely.
  2. You can first apply a Preset on the Preset tab, and then click on Adjust and come into this section where you can fine-tune the Preset to your liking.

Either approach works just fine, it just depends on your preferences.  Generally, I start with a Preset and then move into Adjust to fine-tune it.

Let’s look at some Presets!

The Presets, in my opinion, are really good and give you several options for a starting point with your image.  I personally feel that since each image is different and will have varying degrees of noise, your approach to using Noiseless on each image will also vary.  

I recommend that you just try a few Presets each time and see what looks best.  There’s really no set formula for this sort of thing - it’s basically left to experimenting until you get something that you like.  Fortunately, this is easy to do in Noiseless.

Here are a few screenshots that show 3 of the Presets in action.  In each case, I zoomed in 100% so you can see the Before/After comparison much more easily.

My preference among these three is with the Medium setting, so I am going to choose that one and then pop over to the Adjust menu for some further fine-tuning.

Here is a view of the photo on the Adjust menu, after choosing the Medium Preset.  You can see that various sliders have been moved, which is how the Preset is created.

The one thing about noise reduction to be careful about is that when you remove noise, you want to make sure you don’t remove too much detail at the same time.  Hence, I often end up on this Adjust panel, doing some fine-tuning.

As you can see here, this closer view at 100% shows that although a lot of the noise is gone from the sky, the details in the clock tower have mostly been preserved.  Noiseless has done a really good job here.

And here is the close-up once I have made some further refinements to a couple of the sliders.

I would love to tell you that all you have to do is click this button once, or move that slider to a specific point, but that is not the case with noise reduction.  It really does require some experimentation and practice, and I definitely recommend that you make these adjustments when zoomed in at least 100%.  That gives you a much better view of what is really happening to your image, and therefore you have better command over the results.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison, in case that helps demonstrate the changes better:

And here is the finished image:

If I was getting this image ready to publish, I would spend a little more time on it.  For example, I see a few dust spots that need to be removed, which requires a different program such as Snapheal (and you can read my review of that right here).  But this is a good example of my standard workflow in Noiseless.

Hang on, there’s one more thing!

In the standalone version, just like in the rest of the Macphun products, you also have the option to crop and straighten your image, should that be needed.  All you do is click on the little scissors icon in the upper left, and you are presented with this screen:

Drag the slider to adjust the angle of the image, or drag the edge of the box to adjust the crop.  You can also choose to crop based on some standard sizes, just by clicking on the box that says Ratio in the top left of the frame:

Finally, when you are finished with everything you want to do to the image, just click the forward arrow button in the top and either choose to save your image, share online, or open in another Macphun app should you want to edit it further.  Easy!

That’s it today my friends - a review and tutorial about how to remove digital noise from your images with Noiseless by Macphun.  It’s a very capable app and one that I love to use.

If you are interested in trying this out for yourself, just click here to download a free trial.  If you decide to purchase Noiseless, use the code JIMNIX to save 10% on your order!