Sharpening and denoising with dt (and others)

I managed to catch this pretty bird in the pre-pandemic period in lovely Costa Rica. It was an evening shot and light was really poor, leading to a high ISO. I’m not completely satisfied with my edit especially in terms of sharpening / denoising. Maybe anyone can do better ?

dt 3.5, history in jpg

This file is licensed Creative Commons, By-Attribution, Share-Alike.

bird_cr.cr2 (29.1 MB)


A play raw without a raw file?

Ooops, now it should be there :flushed:

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Nice bird!
Denoising with darktable 3.4.1: profiled denoising wavelet for all and astrophotography denoising for the blurred surroundings with a mask to exclude the bird and the branch

bird_cr.cr2.xmp (15.8 KB)


My try with dt 3.4.1. Since you said the lighting was low, I left it kind of dark. I really like your framing or crop.

bird_cr.cr2.xmp (8.9 KB)


bird.costa.rica.pp3 (24.4 KB) RawTherapee 5.8 Development

That was a nice exercise…

Thanks for sharing.


bird_cr.cr2.xmp (22.1 KB)


darktable 3.50
20210528_0003.cr2.xmp (14,7 Ko)


I think, @Tim’s shows the light situation very good and also gives a very good overall balance between denoising and sharpening without using masks.

@brabbel and @Thomas_Do both use masks and so can apply a different amount of sharpening / demoising to bird and bokeh.

@kakashy’s edit looks a little light on my screen but has very nice detail in the birds feathers.

@Jade_NL’s (RT) edit seems to be the favourite of hearts here :grinning:.

Thanks everyone for your effort and the nice results!

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Here is my version with darktable 3.5

bird_cr.cr2.xmp (16.4 KB)

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My version (Darktable 3.5)

bird_cr_01.cr2.xmp (14.1 KB)
Further improved version:
bird_cr_02.cr2.xmp (13.8 KB)


PPhotoFlow => GIMP => GMIC_JainNoiseReduction-Lab


I think that’s a wrong sidecar; applying it destroys the details that you reserved so well in the feathers. Comparing it to the history stack in the JPG, there’s only a single profiled denoise instance in the XMP (in non-local means auto mode), whereas the stack in the JPG contains a chroma-only wavelet-mode instance of profiled denoise instance applied to the whole image, plus another in non-local means mode applied to the background using a drawn mask.
Great job, either way!

Sorry, you are right. I’ve uploaded the new version and another (futher improved?) one where I tried to use masking for the denoising and sharpening.


Definitely, very nice.

bird_cr.cr2.xmp (12.2 KB)

bird_cr_01.cr2.xmp (12.5 KB)


Great edit nice color and denoising… I would just keep you mask a bit inside the bird. Its spilled over outside so when you inverted it for the second denoise instance it doesn’t come to the bird so if you zoom in there are black dots of noise left as the inverted mask is now a bit too far from the bird. Thanks for sharing

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I never try to eliminate it completely, just take it under control:

  1. demosaic options are important
  2. two profiled denoise copies (chroma ans luma) with adjustable opacity (50% as a starting point). Play it to get result you are happy with.

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Very nice, @timur. Without using masks and using only standard sharpening you received a harmonius result. Personally I would add a little colour and clarity but this is just a matter of taste.

@gaaned92: Thanks for posting! As I’m not so familiar with ART, could you shortly explain your settings ?

@arctic: Very good detail in the feathers and around the beak. I think the colour is a bit on the red side, but that’s just nitpicking.

@Zbyma72age: Thanks for posting! I don’t know Photoflow at all, could you shortly explain your workflow and settings ?

@sls141: The artistic approach :wink: Looks a bit like a painting, nice crop!

Thanks everyone for your effort and the nice results!