AI Clear

Hi Mike,

The JPEG I can understand because it does depend on the quality of the input that would determine the level of artifacting but for the TIFF it seems a little unusual as I haven’t seen artifacting like that in any of my TIFFs.

I would also try the TIFF using the Low model because there seems to be a lot of Chroma noise also. The release notes for AI Clear (1.11.7) state the following:

AI Clear Model Strength: Low, Medium, and High now represent their own models. Use Low and High options for Luma noise… but I’m not sure why Medium actually applies heavy Luma correction.

You may want to check that your JPEG output was 100% and that the TIFF was with no Compression and 16bit and no transparency.

  • Also make sure that output sharpening is turned off.


> try the TIFF using the Low model

I did not do a comparison between the original and Low because I thought the Low model did an insufficient job of removing noise. I will try again.

> JPEG output was 100%

The Jpg was at 80% as I see no normal need for large jpg files. All we do is view them on screen so it seems like over-kill to create large ones. I will try, but creating overly large jpgs should not be necessary.

> TIFF was with no Compression

It was already set that way.

> no transparency.

I am not sure about that. I will check.

> make sure that output sharpening is turned off.

It was.

One of the problems here is that processing on my Mac Mini is very slow. It is a fast Mini, but it is not an iMac or a Mac Pro, so every change of NR Mode takes about 30 seconds with a high ISO image. It might be much faster if the development team had not decided to have the software do an initial NR run before the desired mode was actually set as it just adds one more time consuming pass over the image, so if the last image was done at Medium as soon as I open a new image it does another Medium pass, even if this image only needs a Low, and effectively doubles the time to do the processing.

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As suggested I have done a comparison between AI Clear Low and AI Clear Medium, both with added color noise removal from the Remove Noise plugin, and with very surprising results. The Medium, which I would have expected to be much better was, in fact, noticeably worse, at least in my opinion.

My results show that AI Clear is just fine as long as the image is not very noisy to begin with. My results at moderate ISO values were quite good but at high ISO values the quality of the result just seemed to drop. Based on my testing I believe that I will wait until Topaz developers get the high ISO treatment close to being as good as the moderate ISO treatment. I trust they will do so as I generally consider Topaz to have the best plugins, but I think that AI Clear is not quite up to the quality of the rest of the Topaz offerings.

Here is a comparison of Low and Medium.

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AI Clear may not solve every problem and I have used Reduce Noise after it on some pictures but it also shines in other areas such as sharpness, pulling out detail (even from dark areas) and reducing or eliminating chromatic aberrations. Here are two comparisons. In the balloon image, I first processed in Affinity (similar to Photoshop) and then processed (in addition) in Studio using AI Clear and lightly with Precision Detail, Contrast and Reduce Noise (I know they tell you not to pre-process the image but it still works if not overdone). I have circled example areas in blue.

In the home image below, which is again a section of the full image, You can see the 3D effect AI Clear has on the detail. This one was processed from raw separately with the one on the right being in Studio.

Both original files were Sony camera raw.

AI Clear did a very nice job on those images. One thing I did notice when I did my testing was that AI Clear performed very well as long as the image was not very, very noisy. In cases with lower ISO values it cleaned up the image and it sharpened a bit as well.

Where it failed badly was when images contained a lot of noise. Using my M43 camera any image shot at over perhaps ISO 3200 suffers badly when processed by AI Clear and images shot at the highest ISO (25,600) looked worse after processing than before, but lower ISO values yielded very nice results.

If they put AI Clear on sale I would probably buy it and use if for noisy images with lower ISO values, so I do like it, but would avoid using it on higher ISO value images.

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