ON1, a longtime pictures software program firm positioned in Oregon, not too long ago launched its new noise discount utility referred to as NoNoise AI. As a longtime person of Topaz Labs DeNoise AI, it solely made sense to pit these two machine-learning-based noise discount packages towards one another and see which one comes out on prime.
Earlier than diving right into a comparability of ON1 NoNoise AI and Topaz Labs DeNoise AI, there are a few issues to level out. First is an inventory of seen unfavourable results from photographing with excessive ISOs in order that we might extra intently study the outcomes beneath.
- Much less element and fewer sharpness
- Diminished dynamic vary
- Coloration shifting and coloration fading
- Scorching pixels
- Blotchiness or smearing, often from in-camera noise discount
Whereas these two functions primarily goal “digital grain” kind noise, there are different degradations taking place to a picture concurrently because the noise will get worse and, to an extent, I observed each software program functions making an attempt to repair a couple of of those as nicely, so I assumed it was value mentioning.
One other factor to level out is what the “AI” in NoNoise AI or DeNoise AI is doing. The packages usually are not merely discovering hidden particulars already current “behind” the noise and enhancing them. Simplified, the software program is studying your photograph, evaluating it to its huge knowledge library complied from machine studying to acknowledge what one thing ought to seem like, after which replaces the unique artifacts with clear textures and particulars based mostly on its photo-driven libraries.
In follow, you don’t actually take into consideration this and to the end-user, it does simply seem like authentic particulars being cleaned up and introduced out as a result of it really works so nicely (more often than not). Nonetheless, organizations just like the Nationwide Audubon Society, which simply hosted the 2021 Pictures Awards Contest, acknowledge the distinction and particularly didn’t permit “AI and machine-learning-based software program used for upscaling, sharpening and vital noise discount.” In a way, it may be argued that the ultimate edited photos from AI noise discount software program are composites.
Options and Performance
Transferring into the comparability, I wish to first focus on the similarities and variations so far as the format, instruments, and file dealing with workflow goes for every utility.
Opening every program, each have the same format in default settings. The photograph being processed is oriented on the lefthand aspect, the principle toolbar panel is on the proper, and there are extra info and instruments on the highest and backside.
So far as appears go, ON1 NoNoise AI is by far superior with its minimal use of coloration. Topaz Denoise AI then again tries its greatest to skew your coloration notion by sustaining a blue coloration palette all through this system — a giant no-no for the modifying course of.
Each permit coloration modifications to the preview background coloration however, for probably the most half, that is by no means seen until your zoom is backed out all the way in which and it additionally doesn’t have an effect on the panels surrounding the photograph. ON1 goes a step additional to offer a customizable accent coloration, however this makes a minimal distinction to something.
Wanting on the primary software panels, we see a basic similarity in that there are instruments for noise discount and instruments for sharpening.
Topaz Labs has an extra AI Mannequin part that has 4 choices: Normal, Clear, Low Mild, Extreme Noise. Normal could be in your common images with low to reasonable noise. Clear makes use of an older Topaz Labs noise discount engine and doesn’t depend on AI as a lot, and this mode is sweet for occasions once you see a variety of inconsistent noise discount and artifacting launched by the AI fashions. Low Mild and Extreme Noise form of sound like they’d be focusing on the identical factor, nevertheless, in case your closing photograph is supposed to have a variety of darkish areas it is likely to be greatest with Low Mild.
Whereas Topaz Labs has one slider for noise discount and one slider for sharpness on the coronary heart of its program, ON1 has three sliders for each and permits for extra refinement, which is drastically appreciated. It’s extra hands-on, but additionally extra time-consuming. Each have Auto toggles that are helpful to get a suggestion on the place to begin with the sliders. From my lengthy expertise with Topaz Labs, I do know that typically the Auto suggestion is totally off base, but it surely often will pace up the method.
One of many extra attention-grabbing sliders that exists in ON1 NoNoise AI is the colour software (and to make sure, no, this doesn’t act just like the Coloration Noise Discount software in Topaz Labs). I discussed earlier in my checklist of unfavourable results of excessive ISO taking pictures that color-shifting turns into an issue. Coloration noise may give off a shift within the blacks and different colours get all light and skewed. This good software works to handle that by offsetting these points. Generally in a decrease ISO photograph, the software isn’t doing any favors when totally lively, however for actually noisy photos it makes an enormous distinction.
For instance, beneath is a photograph taken with the Sony Alpha 1 at ISO 25,600.
The instructed workflow for every program differs in that ON1 NoNoise AI prefers to work off of authentic RAW recordsdata whereas Topaz Labs DeNoise AI is generally set as much as take processed recordsdata. Topaz Labs simply launched model 3.2 which supposedly contains enhancements to the RAW coloration processing, nevertheless from what I may see evaluating v3.1 and v3.2 was a lens profile correction and that’s all. As for ON1, once you attempt to import a non-RAW file, there’s a pop-up message that claims, “outcomes from non-RAW images are thought-about beta high quality and can enhance quickly.”
Topaz Labs simply wins right here, as it’s extra versatile and leverages packages like Seize One to do a much better job on the RAW processing. ON1’s logic is that noise will get launched through the demosaicing stage of RAW processing and subsequently they’ll get to it on the supply. What’s misplaced, although, is the unimaginable coloration processing and RAW-level changes from packages like Seize One which aren’t the identical in any respect after ON1 outputs a transformed DNG.
One different factor to say because it pertains to workflow is that each of those functions have superior masking skills to manage the place the noise discount is being utilized, nevertheless, solely ON1 can even do layering throughout the program. This could be a massive benefit to those that want various localized noise discount and sharpening with out having to take care of going out and in of Adobe Photoshop a number of occasions.
One different factor to take a look at is how previews are dealt with. Totally processing the images on the finish of the method can take a while, so previews permit customers to get an excellent however not excellent instance of what the photograph will seem like. I discover that ON1 previews are snappy and replace in close to real-time when dragging the sliders. The draw back is that the preview accuracy in comparison with the outputted photograph is just what I might name “respectable.” Alternatively, Topaz Labs previews take longer to course of and replace, however the accuracy is near the identical because the outputted photograph.
Since I’m the one doing the processing, right here’s my idealistic end result to bear in mind: I imagine noise discount is a balancing act. Utterly wiping the noise away till the photograph is a smeary mess of zero element is straightforward — any modifying program can do this. What I aimed for in my testing was attending to the purpose the place the noise was decreased as a lot as potential whereas additionally preserving or enhancing as a lot element as potential within the picture with out getting “crunchy.”
This typically means I like a little bit little bit of noise left within the photograph so it doesn’t look plasticky and doesn’t wipe away the fantastic particulars that profit from a little bit grain-type noise. Noise current within the outcomes beneath will not be a sign that the packages can’t obliterate it, it’s a mirrored image of me making an attempt to get the best-looking outcomes whereas toeing the road of fresh, but detailed.
Within the instance photos beneath, I’m utilizing ON1 NoNoise AI model 188.8.131.5285 and Topaz Labs DeNoise AI model 3.2.0.
What I discovered right here was that I used to be capable of get extra fantastic element out of Topaz Labs with this comparability. Nonetheless, ON1’s Coloration slider was capable of eliminate the excessive ISO coloration forged taking place within the picture.
On this comparability, you possibly can see that neither ON1 nor Topaz Labs have any good motive to be touching the RAW recordsdata. Each are wanting sickly when modifying off the RAW in comparison with Seize One. I say, let the RAW processing be dealt with by the professionals.
Whereas I feel it’s straightforward for the eyes to go for Topaz Labs right here as a result of it’s extra vibrant, in the case of noise discount I feel ON1 was capable of clear extra coloration noise within the darkest areas. It’s only a disgrace about its RAW coloration processing.
This one left me speechless at how superb ON1 NoNoise AI may be. Take a look at all that fantastic element introduced into the deer’s fur whereas nonetheless eradicating the noise. Topaz Labs ended up getting muddy particulars that I wasn’t capable of finesse into something higher. There are components the place NoNoise AI will get oversharpened in my view, however with masking and layers inside the applying, it may be toned down on an area foundation.
As soon as once more, ON1 is ready to clear the colour noise higher than Topaz Labs. It additionally brings out particulars higher, but it surely does teeter on being too sharp in some areas. It’s one other spectacular efficiency from the brand new ON1 NoNoise AI when Topaz Labs DeNoise AI has been round for a few years.
It’s Within the Particulars
At present, my winner is Topaz Labs DeNoise AI for being extra versatile in the place I can use it in my workflow whereas getting good outcomes a lot of the time. I discover the RAW coloration processing aspect of ON1 NoNoise AI to be poor, and it will get worse when Seize One doesn’t play nicely with the transformed DNGs as soon as imported again in in comparison with the digital camera producer’s proprietary RAW file.
That mentioned, aside from some quirks of utilizing ON1 NoNoise AI — like its insistence on all the time defaulting to the annoying split-screen slider and leaping zoom ranges once I didn’t ask it to — I desire its toolset and format extra. I really feel like I’m actually capable of hone in on what I have to do to get the perfect outcomes. I feel that when ON1 learns to take care of already-processed RAWs from a superior processor (it’s unusably unhealthy once you attempt it proper now) then it would take over as my go-to noise discount software program.