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Old 08-31-2005, 08:05 PM   #1
Andrew B.
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Los Angeles, California
Posts: 3,827
Default Picture Cooler - denoiser

Picture Cooler is a noise removal tool that I recently tested. And it surprised me with how well it can do. For example, with the photo here. My previous tries with that photo did not show it responding as well to noise removal as I'm used to. Neat Image was not doing much better than Photoshop's despeckle filter. Same with Noiseware and Digital Gem. But last night, Picture Cooler did what I would hope for from a denoiser. It also did a superior job on some of my other test images. But this is not to say that one can just throw away Neat Image. It is a matter of one working better on some things, the other doing better on others.

Picture Cooler also includes some focusing tools. These do seem to actually focus the image. IOW, not sharpening, which creates an high contrast edge to simulate sharpness. What Picture Cooler did is remove the haze of the defocus, and make it closer to a normal transition. But not without some compromise. Like jaggies where detail is small. And a somewhat artificial look if the focusing was not done with a conservative setting. And not effective with the motion blur. But it is useful and it did improve the images I tested.

Picture Cooler is not a plugin. It is a Windows application, that has also been tested with good results on a Mac Powerbook G4 under the Virtual PC emulator. The help file says it is freeware, and it certainly looks like beta software, including some menu items leading to popups that say "under construction." But when I activated the registration feature (to remove the watermark) I was informed of a $25 registration cost. I didn't take it further to see what happens, though. But even with the unrefined interface, I think the results speak for themselves. And this program is definitely worth a looking into.

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