DeNoise AI - Masking and DNG output

If there’s a topic somewhere that answers this stuff, please point me there…

Just downloaded 2.2.11 to see if it’s worth buying given the “new” business model.

My understanding is Topaz wants me to use Denoise AI early in the workflow. So HOW do I get a .dng file as output instead of a tif?

Is there a tutorial somewhere that explains HOW to do masking in 2.2? I can find things for OLD versions, but EVERY VERSION appears to look totally different. So far, my efforts to play with masking have been totally unsuccessful.

There is a forum for DeNoise 2.2:

As a fairly new user, I found it well worth spending some time and reading through it. I think quite a lot of your questions will have been answered there
My understanding is that DNGs created by DeNoise are not ‘true’ DNGs. For example, on a Mac, they cannot be opened by the built-in Preview app. They also tend to be about four times larger than the original, whilst TIFs created by DeNoise are even bigger.
That said, I have often worked in standalone mode and got pretty good results, especially with the new low light mode. I have also used it as a plug-in with On1 Photo Raw, in which I have done just basic editing: just lens corrections and basic tone and colour. It is recommended to not adjust contrast though until it’s sent back. The problem for me is that the TIF created by On1 never seems to match the original raw file exactly. So, whilst I get decent enough results after further editing in On1 once it arrives back there, I am a bit suspicious. The resulting file is a lot smaller though.
I cannot speak about masking, which is a new feature. I DO however use masking quite a lot in Sharpen AI, since the stabilise feature it has is great for helping with shots of wildlife taken with my not-so-great telephoto. I am hoping that before long masks in Topaz products will be interchangeable.
By the way, a new version of DeNoise AI, 2.3, will be out soon, so wait until then before paying up front.

By the way, Topaz has an older video about work-flow and there is at least one other, with much the same advice, on YouTube. I have not seen anything that addresses masking.

Yeah, I found the 2.2 forum, but I HAVEN’T found any way to create a topic. It’s just one long, endless clutter of stuff. Doesn’t look like any forum I’ve ever seen, where there are topics, and a “create” and such. I only found this one by accident…

I watched three DIFFERENT videos, all with different user interfaces, none of which looked like what I see in 2.2.11. And read reviews and tutorials, but none of what I saw was pushing things very far. All the demos were things like a D850 at ISO 1600, which barely has any noise.

I DID find the HUGE discussion that Topaz changed to a “charge for updates” model, which is unfortunately 'cause it drastically raises the price of the product. Especially for people like me that are just looking for better noise reduction on high ISO images. I’ve done some testing, and at this point it’s VERY slightly better than what’s in Lightroom, and I’m having a hard time justifying an $80+ product that’s slow to use, doesn’t generate GOOD dng files for follow-on processing, AND will no doubt come up with lot of “important” upgrades that require payment.

So, it’s going to have to really knock my socks off, and so far, the forum is not very productive. And since I"m shooting a D850, having HUGE dng files, which I can’t even figure out how to create - everything going back to Lightroom appears to be a tif - or even BIGGER tif files is a big deterrent.

In the file save dialog click on the Preserve image format and select DNG from there.

Masking is quite simple:

  • Select the masking tool
  • Check the box with overlay
  • Adjust brush settings to what you like
  • Paint in where you want the noise reduction applied
  • Adjust the noise reductions sliders to suit and click Apply Mask

After that save the output.

AiDon, where are you finding a File save dialog? If I’m in Lightroom with a RAW image, and LR is forced to send a tiff to Topaz, how do I get a .dng back? 'Cause if the only way to get a .dng is to process Topaz OUTSIDE the Lightroom workflow, that would be INCREDIBLY unproductive.

As for masking - yes, I saw the “mask” button and played with it. Is there a tutorial somewhere that explains HOW do do masking WELL? 'Cause in my testing I never got it to actually do anything.

I think it’s widely agreed that denoising with DeNoise AI will achieve far better results than any other programme. This is especially the case with high ISO files with lots of colour noise. For example, this is the best I can do in On1 Photo Raw with a shot that I took at 12800ISO

On1 doesn’t have the best denoising admittedly. But here is what I achieved with Low Light auto mode in the most recent public version of DeNoise AI. It’s possibly over smooth, but further tweaking could possibly achieve a better result.

We kind-of have two discussions going in the topic, but that’s OK. I looked at an article that compared a half dozen noise reducers, and it looked to me like Topaz was among the best. The other sthat were also “good” cost EVEN MORE than Topaz…

In any case, for my concern about getting a .dng file out of Topaz. Yes, if I run it standalone - which I’ll never do - I can get a .dng. Unfortunately, the output .dng is 4.5 TIMES the size of the input .dng.

So, if I run Topaz from Lightroom, I get a tif that’s over TWICE the size of the input, but that’s a lot better than the .dng. Topaz SEEMS to work best (a VERY VERY VERY slight improvement in detail) if I run it before doing any Presence or HSL setting, just adjusting the exposure, so I’ll have to get used to doing adjustments on the tif, but since I set white balance when doing exposure it shouldn’t be a big deal…

I also tried running it from Photoshop and that was REALLY unpleasant with a .psd coming out at 124MB and the .TIF after Topaz being 161MB. Even WITH LZW compression. ZIP was about the same size as a psd, but that’s really slow to save.

I HAVE noticed that about half the time when I run Topaz, when I do the update, I just get a black screen for the output. Not sure what’s up with that, and it doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s bizarre.

A limitation in Lightroom is that it cannot send a DNG to external editors. Plugin processing requires the application to update the image passed by the host, in this case LR, my preference would be TIF, 16bit, no compression, ProPhotoRGB.

The file save dialog appears when you use DeNoise AI as a standalone.

This means you either don’t have sufficient technical resources, usually a GPU with less than 2GB of dedicated vRAM, or your GPU drivers are not up to date.

If you select Help-> Graphics info in DeNoise you can copy and paste the info here and we can see what the issue is.

Note many modern PC’s have dual GPUs and the high performance GPU can be allocated to DeNoise through the Graphics options in windows settings.

No to both. nVidia 970 GTX with 4GB. And the drivers are current. Doesn’t happen all the time, and if I turn something on or off in topaz, then update, it usually gets me back the regular screen. It’ll be more interesting to see what it does when I hit it with real images - from the D850 at high ISO.

I can’t speak to what Lightroom does with external editors, but it manages to send RAW images of some sort (they appear to be .NEF or .dng) to Helicon Focus for processing just fine, and gets .dng files back.

Please go the Help-> Graphics in the DeNoise app, press copy and paste the info here.

That is through the Plugin Extras menu as an Export Plugin because using a External Editor won’t allow that. It is a totally different type of interface.