How to Reduce Noise in Adobe Camera RAW (ACR)
If you’ve got an image that feels a little too noisy or grainy, and you’d like to fix it, you’ve come to the right place. This tutorial will explain step-by-step how to reduce noise in Adobe Camera RAW using the Luminance Slider.
First, open your image in ACR.
If you shoot in RAW format, attempting to open your image should pull it into Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) automatically.
JPEG shooters, you can open an image into ACR by going to Filter > Camera RAW Filter in Photoshop CC.
If you’re working in an earlier version of Photoshop, you can go to File > Open As instead. When the ‘Open As’ box pops up, find the image you wish to open and click it once to select it. Then, find the drop down menu at the bottom of the panel and change the File Type from ‘JPEG’ to ‘Camera Raw’ and hit ‘Open’.
Step 1. Select the ‘Details’ Tab
Once your image is Open in ACR, you will select the Details tab in the panel on the right side. (The Details button looks like two triangles, one dark and one light.)
You’ll know you’re in the right panel if you can see the ‘Luminance’ slider under the ‘Noise Reduction’ section.
Step 2. Zoom In
Select the Zoom tool (magnifying glass) from the top panel of the display window. Use it to zoom into your image to 100%. You can see the percentage in the bottom left hand corner of the display window. Zooming in allows you to see minute details in your image so that you can see exactly what the sliders are doing to your photo in the next step.
Step 3. Increase the Luminance Slider
After you’ve zoomed in to 100%, slowly drag the Luminance slider to the right and watch as the noise or grain in your image is smoothed out. You can select the Hand tool at the top of your screen so that you can pan around the image and be sure that you aren’t smoothing any details you wish to remain sharp.
When I dragged my ‘Luminance’ slider, the ‘Luminance Detail’ slider automatically adjusted as well. Feel free to play around with these sliders as you wish to achieve your desired result.
(Tip: If your image has lots of colorful grain or weird coloration when you zoom in close, you may want to play around with the ‘Color’ or ‘Color Detail’ sliders as well. You can find these at the bottom of the same panel as the Luminance slider. )
Once you’ve smoothed and reduced the grain to your liking, you’re finished! You can open your image into Photoshop to finish processing it as normal.
If you’d like to learn to edit in Photoshop, I’d love to invite you to join me for my online course, The Photoshop Fanatic. It’s an easy-to-follow, go-at-your-own-pace course that teaches Photoshop from the very beginning. It begins with a walk-through explanation of the various tools, layers, and filters in the program. You’ll learn what they are, how to use them, and then we’ll build on that knowledge, working our way up to achieving full, in-depth edits with ease.
To see if The Photoshop Fanatic Course is right for you, click here to read more about it.