Deke's Techniques 388: Smooth Away Noise with the Mean Stack Mode

Smooth Away Noise with the Stack Mode

In this week's free Deke's Techniques movie, Deke applies the Mean Stack mode command to multiple frames from a video in order to create one single photograph with drastically reduced noise.

The method involves converting frames from a noisy video clip into layers in Photoshop, then lining up those similar-but-slightly-off-due-to-being-on-a-moving-boat images using Photoshop's Auto-Align Layers command. Next, Deke uses the Stack Mode's Mean command to choose the average value of each pixel from each of the frames. The result is this noisy single frame (representative of the noise present in each of Deke's fifteen contributing images)...

...becomes this delightfully smooth rendition:

Image stack set to Mean reduces the noise of the stacked layers.

And next week, Deke demonstrates how to dramatically enhance this scene to more emotionally recreate the tropical magic. Here's a preview (actually here is the real thing):

If you're curious about other ways to take advantage of image stacking in Photoshop, there are a couple of other Deke's Techniques you might enjoy. In one, Deke removed "people" (OK, four copies of me and four monkey heads---hey, it's Deke) from the Teatro Olimpico in Vincenza, Italy. In another, he uses image stacks to toy with the tourists on the Piazza San Marco in Venice, allowing you to experience this popular tourist attraction in ways never possible in real life.

If you're not a member of, you can get a free 10-day trial to check out all the episodes by heading over to

See you next week if I haven't run back to the magical islands! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 231: Fixing a Noisy High-ISO Photo with Adobe Camera Raw

Reducing Noise in a High ISO Photo

I have a vested interest-slash-concern in this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, in which he takes a photograph of yours truly---a hand-held shot at high ISO under government-supplied lighting---and attempts to redeem it with Adobe Camera Raw. My interest is that it's a flattering shot from a great day at Carlsbad Caverns; my concern is that the high noise is not only making my skin look blotchy, but horror-of-horrors, it's causing my jacket to look purple

But with some thoughtfully applied ACR adjustments, Deke effects this delightful transformation:

Working in ACR, Deke first uses the Temperature and Tint sliders, as well as controls in the HSL and Lens Correction tabs to (thank goodness) return my jacket to its proper neutral black. But the real work in this photo transformation happens in the Detail tab: Read more » 

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Deke’s Techniques 011: Masking Highlights and Shadows

Deke’s Techniques 011: Masking Highlights and Shadows

This week's 7-minute video shows you how to isolate the highlights and shadows from one image and blend them with those of another. It's quick, it's easy, it's effective. Read more » 

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Deke’s Techniques 009: Building a Synthetic Starfield (from Scratch!)

Deke’s Techniques 009: Building a Synthetic Starfield

This week, I and my beloved video publisher have a special treat for you: I show you how to create a galaxy of stars, solar flare, and space gas from nothing more than a layer of black pixels. And you can customize it for print, for the web, whatever you want. In just 9 minutes and 1 extra-quick second, you can Big Bang in Photoshop. Read more » 

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Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced Goes Live

Some of you have been asking when my Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced series is coming out. And I was all prepared to tell you this Friday. But, being the incredible juggernaut of a video publisher that they are, began releasing it today. Chapters 13 thru 18 are up this very second. That's more than 100 movies, so it should keep you occupied for now. (If not, I totally suck.) The remaining Chapters 19 thru 24 will be up in 10 days.

Here's a live-action frame from the series. My director told me that, in retrospect, my spendy Elie Tahari shirt "looked a little disco." Let me assure you that this is one of the best shirts I've ever owned. It's a matte forest green with some excellent under-collar and inner-sleeve highlights. In the video, I don't look disco, I look positively wet. Meaning that I glisten. Like someone is misting me. Which is not necessarily what you want in a training video. But it's what you get.


That said, who gives a tinker's gumph what I look like? Read more » 

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