Workflow integrating "Topaz DeNoise AI"

I am using PhotoLab 7 and have a hard time coming up with a low-effort workflow that integrates Topaz DeNoise AI.

(I am aware with the noise reduction features of PL7, but they all have their chosen flavor, and for some high-ISO pictures I prefer Topaz’s overall feeling).

A naive attempt was to do all the adjustments in PL, then copy correction settings to the TIFF coming out of Topaz, which brought disastrous results.

Anyone working with these together?

I’ve never used Topaz but from what you’ve outlined I’d try:

  1. Open the RAW file in PL
  2. Process it as required EXCEPT for noise reduction, turn that setting off.
  3. Export the file to a TIFF
  4. Open the TIFF in Topaz DeNoise AI and let it do the denoise

Thanks, that workflow is definitely possible, the shortcomings are that Topaz won’t have access to raw information (which makes quite a difference with high-ISO noise), and some settings like microcontrast has different effects when applied before noise reduction.

I have Topaz Photo AI which includes Denoise but I typically use PL 7 for my noise reduction. However, I did try a workflow with Photo AI and it worked as expected:

Open raw image in Topaz
Apply Denoise
Export as DNG
Open DNG in PL 7

Are you using Photo AI with Denoise or the older Denoise which I believe has been discontinued in favor of Photo ai? If the older version, can it export to DNG?

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Interesting, that might be the missing link. I am using the standalone “DeNoise AI” application, and its DNG output can’t be read by PL7. I will give a try to Photo AI’s .dng output.

From what I have seen and understood the "natural way to integrate Photolab with Topaz Photo AI is through to “Export to application” and select Topaz executable. After that Topaz will be preselected when opened next time. If exported this way in TIFF or DNG Topaz will seemlessly open with the files exported.

From what I have seen when I tested it some weeks ago it is possible even to open a DNG exported from Topaz Photo AI in Photolab. I did not expect that since Photolab have had so many issues with DNG exported from other applicastions earlier and still has.

… for example it is fine to reopen a DNG in Photolab exported initially from Photolab, and later processed in Capture One and exported from C1. …BUT Photolab will not open a DNG originally exported from Capture One and it is a shame these companies has not yet succeeded in fixing this issue after so many years. I still wonder what the problem is. Lack of skills or will?

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I use Topaz Photo AI, primarily for enlarging and sharpening for printing but, until your message, have never bothered trying their denoising. So, now I can blame you for making me aware of it :smiley:

Wow! it’s good! But I would have a hard time deciding which is best. From my tests so far, on certain images, Topaz has the edge.

Two screenshots of 25,000 ISO image, denoised and exported as DNG from PL and Topaz. But which is which?

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I don’t know which is which but I prefer the one called ‘Left’. It has a more realistic feel to it. The horizontal bars in ‘Right’ have a smeared, artificial, plastic look to them.

Hmm the second one is definitely doing more of it. It seemingly comes up with wood texture out of nothing :smiley:

I would choose the left one, same as @stuck.

I also not a difference in optical corrections (barrel/pincushion), but not sure which is more “accurate”.

downloaded both
put them in a new folder
compared them ‘instantly’ – also at 100%

→ left
looks very sharp (almost over-sharpened)

→ right
as long as it is not enlarged to 100%, the wood structure still looks ok,
but the metal bars already seem muddy

This discussion prompted me to review a challenging photo from last fall where neither of these denoise options handled the image that well. I added PR4 into the mix.

My workflow is to use PL7 but try Topaz denoise for an alternate demosaic/denoise option before processing in PL7, if PL7 results seem poor. Generally, PL7 is adequate, but sometimes I get “better” results from Topaz and I like the Topaz controls. I pass the Topaz results as a TIFF back to PL. I don’t have a clue why some photos process better in one or the other (or if it’s my poor technique or personal preference). I’ve not had success using Topaz at the end of processing after demosaicing in PL.

So, from a workflow perspective, if you have both programs and prefer Topaz, suggest you use it at the start and batch process the photos, if they are all similar, before opening in Photolab.

As for my example…
“O” is original without NR. “A” is PL7, “B” is PR4, and “C” is Topaz Denoise.
All were generated as TIFFs, including the PL7 option, then cropped and exported from PL7. A,B,&C all used their respective denoise default (auto) settings and then brightened using the PL Smart Lighting tool (uniform/slight/auto) before export.

I’m sharing for other’s consideration or suggestions. Of particular concern was the way the grasses to the right of the jackel’s face were “blended” into the face. I ended up using the PL version , using the repair tool to smudge the area. That seemed to be fine for my screen (not printing) needs.

Sony ARW

The image was shot at late dusk, from a paused vehicle at 12.5K iso, F8, 1/2000sec as these were my general default settings that day. Camera is A1 with Sony’s 200-600 lens. Yes, I could have used better settings, but it was last of a long series of days and I didn’t adjust speed for conditions. We were suppose to be back at camp by dark. This my preferred/best pose from a short burst as the jackal appear briefly and we came to a stop, So my only “keeper” of this unique species.

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The three versions have different overall contrast (for whatever reason !),
while the most balanced version appears to be “A”.

please note
I only use PL of these programs, so I don’t know the other settings

Perhaps a reminder that a lot is going on here besides denoising. Tone and color reconstruction, lens corrections, and sharpening are happening too, and must be considered in any demosaicing strategy.

Joanna, I don’t really trust Topaz denoise as I trust Deep Prime XD. Some of the Topaz Rawdenoised pictures looks much more smeared than DPXD and some of the textures have had strange artifacts I close to never see in Photolab. Even face enhancement in Topaz bothers me with the plastic looks it produce im digitally born images BUT it have been surprisingly good with old digitized color slides. So for my taste Topaz has been fantastic with the color slides that Photolab really struggles with.

The big advantage with Topaz is that its denoise and sharpen works for all sorts of files including both scanned and repro photographed old color slides.

I think the features that stands out are especially the sharpening and the scaling. I haven’t tried the denoise yet on TIFF. Some seems to prefer that to RAW.

I feel I have to do much more testing to be more sure of how to handle all these features in Topaz Photo AI.

So far I still feel I always end up to do the fine tuning in Photolab with lifting shadows and lowering the high lights and manage the white balance and color grading. Topaz is very limited in those respects.

For me I can justify using Topaz in an extra roundtrip only with some of my more “precious” old historic color slides that are indifferent to both Deep Prime and all sorts of Photolab sharpening. In all other cases I think Photolab is superior and more reliable.

deleted by author.
I didn’t realize I was answering a question from 10 months ago.

Trying out a few combinations, I can definitely confirm that Photo AI’s .dng will be read by PL7. (Denoise AI’s won’t).

I also found an unfortunate side-effect: when channels are clipping Photo AI’s decoding process will result in loss of pixel information. See below the red channel from the original .ARW vs the .DNG produced by Photo AI. (Below screencaps from RawDigger)


We maybe have to accept there isn’t an absolute truth. Depending on circumstances one option might be preferable above another, and vice versa. And the best de-noising is probably the one you have on your system anyway.

My issue with Photo AI, which I admit I use by “Export to application” without switching DeepPrime off. It often does areas with a a large uniform tone very well, but leaves patches untouched, These patches of noise that it leaves are often round objects such as a tree against a fairly plain sky and can make the image unusable. When Photo AI works, it is excellent, but often I prefer to use only PL7 and sometimes Nik Dfine.

One thing I’m sure of, is that there is no simple “best” denoise tool. It realy depends on the image being processed. And as the comments above show, "technically " better does not always mean the result is the most pleasing image.

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