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v8.1 ABSoft Neat Image

Review:

ABSoft Neat Image
   
ABSoft Neat Image

Unsurpassed Noise Removal for digital cameras and scanners

Neat Image uses the most advanced noise reduction algorithms available to minimize noise in just a few clicks, while maintaining sharpness and detail of the image. Neat Image is a necessity for images shot in low-light or high-speed action photography, and is also indispensable for raytracing CG.


Highlights

Neat Image improves digital photos from cameras, scanned negative and positive films as well as scanned printed photos.

Neat Image works as a special-purpose digital filter. Our filter is specifically designed to reduce visible noise in digital photographic images. In digital camera shots, image noise generally comes  from two key sources: random nature of the captured light and imperfect nature of image sensor and camera circuitry, especially in high ISO modes. In scanned images from legacy sources, silver halide grain from high speed film is the main source of noise.

Wherever your images come from, Neat Image can deliver beautiful images with noise and grain notably reduced. Digital images taken with any equipment, processed with Neat Image, will often look as though they were taken under optimal conditions with more expensive gear. Scanned archive images and prints can look contemporary, and can be as grain- and pattern-free as possible. Neat Image greatly improves the visual quality of digital images by reducing the objectionable noise and grain and at the same time preserving the true image details.

Neat Image effectively reduces these kinds of noise:

  • Luminance noise
  • Color (chroma) noise
  • Banding noise
  • Salt-and-pepper (impulse) noise
  • Electronic interference noise
  • Film grain
  • JPEG artifacts
  • In-camera noise reduction artifacts
  • Some other image imperfections

Features

Highest-quality noise reduction and sharpening

Advanced noise filter

Neat Image is programmed to filter noise more effectively, and preserving more image details, than current research has indicated is possible. A recent development in noise reduction that is usually regarded as state of the art is wavelet-based denoising. However, Neat Image uses an even more efficient proprietary approach to noise reduction. Our noise filtering method distinguishes more effectively between noise and details in noisy images than wavelet denoising. As a result, Neat Image reduces noise better and preserves more true details in digital photographs.

Complete control over noise reduction

Neat Image provides you with direct control over all noise filter settings. You can adjust the noise level estimation and specify how much of the detected noise must be removed for every color channel component and spatial frequency component of input image. The default filter settings work very well for most images. But if you want to tweak the filter settings, then all the controls are directly available.

Smart sharpening filter

Neat Image provides an intelligent sharpening filter. This sharpening filter works together with the noise filter to avoid noise, and makes the actual image details look sharper without any degradation of image quality (which is usually inevitable with noisy images). Neat Image sharpening also has a halo-free mode which reduces halos that tend to appear along edges in images which are sharpened.

Support for 16/32-bit per channel images *

Besides regular 8-bit images (like most JPEGs), the Pro edition of Neat Image also supports 16-bit and 32-bit per channel format in both RGB and grayscale images. This allows Neat Image to process higher bitdepth images from modern DSLRs without loss of accuracy, support HDR workflow using 32-bit data, and integrate better with modern image editors like Photoshop CC.

Speeding up with CUDA- and OpenCL-acceleration

Neat Image can take good advantage of your computer’s graphics hardware and multi-core capabilities. We process images faster on computers with modern NVIDIA GPUs supporting CUDA technology and also with certain OpenCL-capable AMD/ATI GPUs. In addition, Neat Image can use multiple GPUs and combine the computation power of GPUs with regular multi-core CPU for maximum performance.

Device noise profiles

Neat Image produces better noise reduction by being aware of your imaging equipment. Neat Image uses device noise profiles which are reusable analyses of noise properties of a particular image acquisition device — such as a digital camera or a scanner — working in a certain mode. The noise profile makes Neat Image noise reduction custom-tailored for example to a specific digital camera and specific shooting mode. This provides the highest accuracy of noise reduction for images produced by that camera.

Auto Profile to automatically build profiles for your camera or scanner

Neat Image can automatically make necessary noise analysis of the input image from your camera or scanner to build a custom noise profile specifically for this image.

You can also manually select a featureless image area for noise analysis and let Neat Image do the rest automatically.

Batch Profiler

Neat Image includes a special Calibration Target to shoot a series of test shots and then automatically build noise profiles for the whole set using the Batch Profiler. This helps you easily develop your own set of profiles for your digital camera (or scanner).

Profile library: a rich set of free pre-built noise profiles

Profile library contains many free pre-built sets of noise profiles for digital cameras and scanners prepared by Neat Image users and shared with the community.

Profile matching

When a ready-made profile set is available, Neat Image can automatically select the profile that best matches the input image based on its EXIF data with the help of the Auto Match feature. This capability is especially useful in batch processing and Photoshop actions.

Photoshop plug-in and standalone application

Neat Image standalone

Neat Image is available as a standalone application. You do not have to be a user of any particular image editor to make your images look cleaner, sharper, better. Just download Neat Image standalone — available for Windows, OS X, and Linux — and you can start improving your image library right away.

Photoshop plug-in

Neat Image is also available as a plugin for Photoshop (or Photoshop Elements, or another compatible editor). Neat Image is fully integrated with Photoshop: you can apply noise reduction exactly where it is required: in a layer, channel or selection. Using Photoshop's selection tools, you can apply noise reduction with different strength to different parts of the image. You can use Neat Image Pro plug-in as a smart filter in Photoshop CS3 or newer.

Any file format supported by the plug-in host can be processed by the Neat Image plug-in. For example, you can open a PSD, TIFF, JPEG, JPEG2000, RAW, DNG, etc., image in Photoshop and then directly process it with the Neat Image plug-in. This streamlines the use of Neat Image noise reduction in your workflow.

Actions and batch processing

Neat Image standalone

Powerful batch processing features *

Save time, increase production and reduce errors by taking advantage of Neat Image’s batch processing capabilities. Create several filtration tasks (one task is one input image) and let Neat Image process the tasks one after another. You can create such tasks manually one by one or automatically using the Batch tool.

Background processing

Don’t let image processing take over your workflow. Neat Image can automatically process batches of images in the background. Meanwhile you can still use Neat Image to prepare new images and batches, manually process individual images, or verify processing results. You can also use other applications, too, since Neat Image behaves nicely in a multi-task environment.

Photoshop plug-in

Support for Photoshop actions *

Neat Image is integrated with Photoshop’s actions. You can record a Photoshop action with Neat Image plug-in and later automatically re-apply (or play) it to other images. Neat Image behavior in actions is fully configurable.

Support for Photoshop-based batching *

Neat Image is integrated with Photoshop’s batch processing. Once you have recorded Neat Image into a Photoshop action, you can use that action in Photoshop's batch processing to automatically process many images.

Instant visual feedback

Easy preview for any selected image area

Neat Image provides instant feedback of filtering results so you can achieve just the appearance you need. When adjusting the filter settings, you can immediately see the preview results in any area if the selected image or in the whole visible part of the image. You can manually select any area or just move across the image and zoom in to specific parts to get a better feeling of how the filtered image will look like as compared with the original.

Channel and frequency component preview

Per-channel and per-frequency preview modes help to identify most noisy components that require special attention. You can adjust the filter settings corresponding to those components and immediately see the results.

NOTE:
* Some features are available only in certain editions of Neat Image. Please see the detailed feature map.

New in Version 8.1

  • Added support for the new version of Photoshop CC
  • Added support for Photoshop Elements 15
  • Added support for new NVIDIA GPUs: GeForce GTX 1060/1070/1080, Titan X (Pascal).

Note: due to changes in NVIDIA drivers and CUDA Toolkit, GPUs with Compute Capabilities 1.3 and below are no longer supported. Only GPUs with Compute Capability 2.0 and higher can be utilized by Neat Image 8.1.

Due to changes in GPU drivers, toolkits and development tools GPU support is now only available in 64-bit versions on Mac OS X and Linux. 32-bit versions will still be able to work in CPU-only mode.

  • Improved Unicode support
  • Improved metadata (EXIF) compatibility with the latest Nikon cameras
  • Several minor bugs have been fixed

What's new in Version 8.0

Higher quality of noise reduction

  • High Quality mode for better detail preservation and sharper image (at the cost of reduced processing speed: 1.5–3 times slower than Normal Quality)
  • Highest Quality mode for better detail preservation (at the cost of reduced processing speed: 1.5–3 times slower than High Quality)
  • Detail Recovery function helps to recover fine details that standard filter can not recover
  • Artifact Removal filter to remove speck artifacts (specks are typically introduced by in-camera denoising and compression)
  • More accurate profiling of Very Low and Ultra Low frequencies when using small selection
  • Very Low and Ultra Low frequency ranges are now always automatically processed and can be separately adjusted
  • Enhanced Edge Smoothing function
  • Improved sharpening quality: less halos, sharper edges

Optimized workflow

  • Auto Profile function has been improved to find better areas for noise analysis.
  • In addition, larger areas can be used for building profile when possible.
  • Using more suitable areas leads to more accurate noise reduction.
  • Profile Assist viewer mode helps to choose area without details while profiling
  • Overall noise levels of the current selection and of the whole current profile are displayed in Device Noise Profile panel (in Advanced Mode).
  • Quick evaluation of the noise level helps to find the most suitable area for analysis.
  • Better grouping of filter settings.
  • Filter modules can be enabled/disabled individually to evaluate effect of each module on the overall result.
  • Preview Assist viewer mode gives a detailed look to filtration process
  • Filter Tuning Mode allows to temporarily raise Noise Reduction Amount for easier filter tuning
  • New collection of filter presets with a detailed description of each preset including specification of key settings, purpose, applicability, recommendations for use and possible side effects
  • Variants of Filtration feature to visually compare results achieved with different filter settings
  • Multi-step Undo/Redo for filter settings
  • Estimation of processing speed and optimization of performance settings can now be done directly from the Filter Settings panel. This facilitates optimizing for specific filtration parameters.
  • Options to set up the default noise profile and filter preset (in Neat Image Preferences)
  • Option for independent open/save folders for profiles and presets (in Neat Image Preferences)

Faster processing and more responsive GUI

  • Preview is optimized to update faster when filter settings are adjusted
  • Significantly improved GPU performance — x1.5–2 times in GPU-only mode and x1.4–1.7 in mixed mode (as compared with the older Neat Image 7 using comparable filter settings)
  • Better support for systems with a large number of CPU cores (32 and above)
  • CUDA Compute Capability 5.0 is now supported on Mac OS too allowing Neat Image to take advantage of the latest NVIDIA GPUs

Notes:
    Due to changes in NVIDIA drivers and CUDA Toolkit, GPUs with Compute Capabilities 1.0 and 1.1 are no longer supported
    Mac OS X: NVIDIA GPUs with CUDA Capability 5.0 are only supported in 64-bit applications due to a limitation of the CUDA driver (please refer to known issues)

  • New AMD GPUs are supported
    • Radeon R9 M290 / M290X / M295X / M370X / M380 / M390 / M395 / M395X

Other improvements

  • Support for HiDPI-modes (including Retina displays) in Neat Image plug-in for Photoshop (when the host application supports that)
  • Option to automatically check for the availability of software updates (in Neat Image Preferences)
  • Improved progress indicators: easier to see, smoother movement, more accurate
  • Numerous minor GUI improvements
  • Several bugs have been fixed
  • Added support for the latest versions of Photoshop CC
  • Added support for Affinity Photo

Neat Image 7.6 Update

Neat Image 7.6 update improves compatibility with new versions of popular image editors and adds support for new NVIDIA GPUs

This version includes the following changes and improvements:

  • Added support for Adobe Photoshop CC 2014, 64-bit and 32-bit (older versions of Photoshop remain supported as well)
  • Added support for Adobe Photoshop Elements 13, 64-bit and 32-bit (older versions of Photoshop Elements remain supported as well)
  • Added support for Corel PaintShop Pro X7, 64-bit and 32-bit (older versions of PaintShop Pro remain supported as well)
  • Added support for Corel Photopaint X7, 64-bit and 32-bit (older versions of Photopaint remain supported as well)
  • Added support for Serif PhotoPlus X7, 64-bit and 32-bit (older versions of Serif PhotoPlus remain supported as well)
  • Updated to CUDA 6: added support for new NVIDIA GPUs with Compute Capability 5.0 (such as GeForce GTX 750 Ti and more)
  • Please make sure you run the latest version of the video driver to enable CUDA 6 on your computer
  • Improved metadata (EXIF) compatibility with Apple devices (such as iPhone, iPad, etc.)
  • Improved tolerance to corrupted EXIF metadata
  • Several minor bugs have been fixed

Updating from 7.x to 7.6

This update is free for licensed users of the version 7 of Neat Image plug-in for Photoshop (Win).
Please use your v7 license to log on to the corresponding download area:

Neat Image v7 Home plug-in for Photoshop (Win)

Neat Image v7 Pro plug-in for Photoshop (Win)

Upgrading from older versions

The new major version 7 (and its minor updates like 7.6) of Neat Image plug-in for Photoshop (Win) is either paid or free upgrade, depending on the previously purchased version.

Please find more details in the version upgrade page.

New noise profiles in the library

  • Many new profile sets have been created and submitted to the profile library by generous users of Neat Image.
  • We are very grateful to all the contributors who build new profiles for the community of Neat Image users.
  • Please also participate in building new profiles for digital cameras and scanners. Using the Batch Profiler in Neat Image plug-in, you can easily build a profile set for your camera. Please see the user guide (specifically, the "Device noise profiles" section) for additional information.

Host Requirements

Mac

  • Plug-in for Photoshop (Windows or Mac OSX) CC 2017 / CC 2015.x / CC 2014 / CC, CS6–CS3
  • Affinity Photo 1.4.1+
  • GraphicConverter X v6.5+ (UB)
  • PhotoLine 18–15 (UB)
  • Photoshop Elements 15–6

Windows

  • Photoshop CC 2017 / CC 2015.x / CC 2014 / CC, CS6–CS1 / 7 / 6 / 5
  • Photoshop Elements 15–2
  • Corel / Jasc Paint Shop Pro X9–X / 10–7
  • Corel Photopaint X8–X3 / 12
  • Ulead PhotoImpact X3 / 12 / 11 / 10 / XL / 8
  • PhotoLine
  • Microsoft Digital Image Suite 2006
  • Microsoft Digital Image Pro
  • Serif PhotoPlus X8–X3 / 12–6
  • IrfanView
  • XnView

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