Topaz DeNoise AI review and opinions

Topaz Labs Denoise AI review: My experience using Denoise AI

15% OFF Topaz Labs with the code CAPTUREATHOME15

In this Topaz DeNoise AI review, we are going to see an in-depth analysis of this noise-reduction software from Topaz Labs.

I’ve used Topaz software for years, and the new version of their most famous tool, Topaz DeNoise, has taken a major step forward, implementing Artificial Intelligence, minimizing digital and chromatic noise, and keeping the original details in your photos.

How many images have you discarded due to annoying digital noise? I am pretty sure more than a few photos have been sadly abandoned in the deepest part of your hard drive for this reason. Sometimes the amount of noise is beyond repair, but other times, the quality can be recovered using the right tools. It’s time to give these photos another chance by denoising them with Topaz AI.

My experience using Topaz Denoise AI to reduce noise couldn’t be more satisfying. It’s incredibly simple, intuitive, and powerful, but it also has some downsides that you need to know and we’ll talk about here. In this Topaz Denoise AI tutorial, I’m going to show you how to use, step by step, this new version of DeNoise AI, regardless of the software you use to edit your photos.

Ready to let your noisy images see the light of day again? Let’s do it!

What is Topaz Denoise AI?

Topaz Labs is a company that uses the most advanced technology and Artificial Intelligence to help you with the common photography post-processing difficulties: noise reduction, sharpening, masking, etc.

Since 2005, Topaz Labs has been developing probably the most innovative software, and they’re at the top of their game with every update.

Topaz DeNoise AI is the “intelligent” version of DeNoise 6. That was launched in early 2019, and it was already one of the best noise reduction software in the market. Adding AI technology based on machine learning is by far more efficient than the old processing techniques to reduce noise, especially for preserving the detail in your photos.

topaz denoise ai logo

The new update of Topaz DeNoise AI includes a slider to reduce the Chroma Noise. This slider goes one step further, giving you the control to target and effectively reduce this type of noise in photography.

How to use Topaz Denoise AI? – Topaz Denoise AI Tutorial

Topaz DeNoise AI is intuitive and quite easy to work with. In this guide to Topaz Denoise AI, we’re breaking down how to master Topaz DeNoise AI in a few simple steps:

  1. Download and install Topaz DeNoise AI. Go to Topaz Labs and select your operating system. Topaz DeNoise AI supports both Windows and Macintosh OS. Once you download the file, you can start the installation process.
  1. Once the installation is finished, you will be able to see the Topaz DeNoise AI standalone version within your applications. Topaz DeNoise AI plugins for Lightroom or Photoshop should have also been added automatically. If not, you can add them manually.
  1. The first time you open Topaz DeNoise AI, you will be asked to log in with your Topaz Labs account or to try the Denoise AI free trial offered for 30 days. Topaz Labs encourages you to use DeNoise AI at the very beginning of your post-processing workflow in order to achieve greater effectiveness at reducing noise while preserving detail. This first step is mandatory to make sure that you start working on a clean image.

Now, let’s get into more details about how to use the Topaz DeNoise AI in its different versions:

How to use Topaz Denoise AI standalone version

Before getting into details, this is, briefly, how to eliminate digital noise with Topaz DeNoise AI step by step:

  1. Open Topaz DeNoise AI Standalone version
  2. Drag or open your image
  3. Adjust the setting sliders or leave it in Auto mode
  4. Save the new file with the output settings selected

To do this review of the Topaz DeNoise AI Standalone version, I’m using this photo of the Barrenjoey Lighthouse in Sydney. This photo was taken using a Canon 5D Mark IV, a 16mm focal length, and the following settings: f2.8, ISO 6400, 20 sec.

topaz denoise review Barrenjoey Lighthouse in Sydney

f2.8, ISO 6400, 20 sec

As you can see in this 100% zoom crop, it is very noisy.

my experience using topaz denoise ai Barrenjoey Lighthouse in Sydney zoom in

100% zoom crop – f2.8, ISO 6400, 20 sec

This is the interface of Topaz DeNoise AI Standalone version:

Topaz DeNoise AI Standalone version:

Topaz DeNoise AI Standalone version

Open or drag your file/s. This software supports most of the commonly used photography files, such as raw files, .dng, .tiff, .jpegs, etc.

noise reduction software topaz denoise for lightroom

Open or drag your file/s

Preview options

In the upper right corner, you will find a toolbar with these options:

♦ To change the view mode of the photo you’re working with, you can select:

    • Original (original photo preview)
    • Split (Original and denoised photo preview)
    • Single (denoised photo preview)

♦ To help you find, analyze, and reduce the noise in the dark areas and shadows of your image, you can select “Brighten”. This option just changes the overall brightness in the preview of your image and doesn’t affect the final edited image.

Zoom in on your images to check the whole process properly.

my experience using topaz denoise ai

Preview options

Main Noise reduction settings

On the right side, you will find:

  1. A navigator with the selected zoom box.
  1. Auto-Update preview. Unclick it if it runs too slowly.
  1. Select the mode to use: either DeNoise AI or AI Clear.

AI Clear is the older version of this software, and even though it will work in most images, DeNoise AI will do a better job at keeping detail in your final photos.

  1. Choose between Auto or Manual Mode. The Auto mode works fantastically for most of the photos tested. However, it can be pretty aggressive and leave your photos with a washed-out look. With Manual Mode, you can set the adjustments according to your taste.
  1. Chroma Noise Reduction Slider. This is the newly added feature, which helps you to reduce Chroma noise manually. When you modify it, another setting will appear called “Chroma noise reduction size”.
  1. Save, where you can set your output settings before saving your images.
how much is topaz denoise is worth it noise reduction settings

Main noise reduction settings

A nice starting point to use Topaz Denoise AI is using the Auto Settings and then switching to Manual to tweak the adjustments until you’re happy with the results.

How to reduce digital noise with Topaz DeNoise AI in manual mode

Below, you’ll find the four main sliders that you can adjust in Manual Mode. Also, I explain the best Topaz DeNoise AI adjustments to remove digital noise with Topaz Denoise AI and preserve detail so the image maintains a natural look:

  1. Remove Noise: This slider is just magic. It removes the digital noise of your photo effectively but doesn’t go too far. Values between 10-30 are enough for most photos.
  1. Sharpen: It sharpens and recovers details in images that may become a bit blurry after denoising. Topaz Labs has software dedicated to sharpening your photos called Sharpen AI. I recommend using that specific software instead of using this sharpen slider, but if you still prefer to sharpen your images here, don’t set values over 30; this will avoid unwanted halos or weird textures.
  1. Recover Original Detail: It helps recover some detail that has been washed out after the noise reduction. It adds a bit of grain to keep the image natural, 5 points is usually more than enough.
  1. Chroma Noise Reduction Strength: This is the new slider in Topaz DeNoise AI that controls the Chroma noise reduction. It’s a very powerful tool, but you should try to keep the value under 0.15. Otherwise, it will desaturate your image, particularly the oranges. You can leave the Chroma Noise Reduction Size at its default or reduce it a little bit.

Please note that there is no preview for this adjustment.

These were the settings I used for this particular scenario:

guide to topaz denoise review

Noise reduction settings in Topaz DeNoise AI

Now, let’s focus on the details. You can check the before and after here:

topaz review before and after

topaz denoise review before and after

Before & After – Noise Reduction with Topaz DeNoise AI standalone version

topaz labs denoise ai review before and after

topaz best software for noise reduction before and after

Before & After Zoom Crop – Noise Reduction with Topaz DeNoise AI standalone version

how to use topaz denoise for photoshop

topaz denoise standalone how to use it

Before & After 100% Zoom Crop – Noise Reduction with Topaz DeNoise AI standalone version

How to use Topaz Denoise AI plugin for Lightroom

As we talked about in our guide to noise reduction in Lightroom, reducing noise in Lightroom with Topaz DeNoise AI couldn’t be easier. Even though you won’t be able to apply the adjustments locally, as you will with the plugin for Photoshop, launching the plugin from Lightroom makes the whole process faster.

To use Topaz DeNoise AI in Lightroom, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the image selected > Edit In > Topaz DeNoise AI. If asked, always edit a copy with the Lightroom Adjustments.
how to use topaz labs denoise ai for lightroom

Right-click on the image selected > Edit In > Topaz DeNoise AI

lightroom how to reduce noise

If asked, always edit a copy with the Lightroom Adjustments

  1. Apply the adjustments accordingly as explained above in the Topaz AI standalone version section.
  1. Click on Save and wait until the image is processed and imported into Lightroom.

To test the Topaz DeNoise plugin for Lightroom, I selected a wildlife photo taken with a Canon 5D Mark IV at 400m; f5.6, ISO1600, and 1/800s. I pushed the sharpening a bit further to recover some detail since I used a very open aperture.

how to reduce noise in wildlife with topaz denoise ai

Noise Reduction Settings with Topaz AI plugin for Lightroom

Here is the result:

my experience using topaz denoise ai with lightroom

topaz denoise my experience

Before & After – Noise Reduction with Topaz DeNoise AI Lightroom Plugin

How to use Topaz Denoise AI plugin for Photoshop

Using the Topaz DeNoise AI plugin for Photoshop is undoubtedly the best way to reduce noise in your images. It’s the way I’ve been reducing noise in my images for years, as we have explained in our guide to noise reduction in Photoshop. And now, you can easily incorporate this method into your Photoshop workflow with numerous benefits.

To me, the most remarkable advantage is having the possibility of creating different noise reduction layers depending on the areas of the image and applying the layer masks locally.

To reduce the noise using Topaz DeNoise AI in Photoshop, follow these simple steps:

  1. Duplicate your layer or create a Smart object layer so your adjustment is not destructive.
best software to reduce noise in photoshop topaz ai

Duplicate your layer or create a Smart object layer so your adjustment is not destructive

  1. Go to Filter > Topaz Labs > Topaz DeNoise AI.
how to use topaz ai with photoshop

Go to Filter > Topaz Labs > Topaz DeNoise AI

  1. Apply the necessary adjustments as explained above in the Topaz AI standalone version section.
  1. Click on Save and wait until the image is processed and imported into Photoshop.

For this example, I selected a super long exposure photo taken during the VIVID Festival in Sydney last year. It was taken with a Canon 5D Mark IV at 32mm, using these settings: f8, ISO400, 540s.

For this Topaz DeNoise AI review, I pushed the settings a bit further than normal. Also, I activated Chroma Noise Reduction so you can see how it desaturates the final image:

ultimate guide to topaz denoise ai

Noise Reduction Settings with Topaz AI plugin for Photoshop

This is the normal example without Chroma Noise Reduction:

how to fix noisy photographs with topaz labs

before and after topaz denoise ai in photoshop

Before & After – Noise Reduction with Topaz DeNoise AI Photoshop Plugin (without Chroma Noise Reduction)

And this is the same example applying some Chroma Noise Reduction:

topaz denoise ai opinion

how to remove and reduce noise with topaz denoise ai

Before & After – Noise Reduction with Topaz DeNoise AI Photoshop Plugin (with Chroma Noise Reduction)

Topaz Denoise AI before & after review

So far, we’ve covered, in this Topaz DeNoise AI review, the way this software works, but the question is: is it worth it? Let’s analyze two new examples in more detail to show Topaz DeNoise AI before and after.

1. Example – Topaz Denoise AI for astrophotography

Astrophotography always means dealing with digital noise, so having great and reliable software is a must.

The first photo that we’re using as an example shows an abundant amount of noise, since it was taken at ISO 6400, and, without a good denoise software, it would probably go directly in the trash.

advantages topaz denoise ai

f2.8, ISO 6400, 20 sec

Here is the result of applying some basic noise reduction settings using Topaz DeNoise AI for Photoshop (Remove Noise: 32, Sharpen: 41, Recover Original detail: 5).

my experience using topaz denoise ai


topaz denoise ai review photoshop

Before & After – Noise Reduction with Topaz DeNoise AI Photoshop Plugin for Night Photography

Topaz DeNoise AI does a great job reducing the photo’s noise in the sky and the ground. At the same time, it preserves the stars and details of the Milky Way. However, there is still a great amount of color noise, especially in the foreground and the mountains.

To remove the color noise, I applied the same settings, but moved the Chroma Noise Reduction Strength to 75 and the Chroma Noise Reduction Size to 0.5. You can see the result below compared to the previous image:

advantages and disadvantages of topaz denoise ai
my experience using topaz denoise ai

Before & After – Chroma Noise Reduction with Topaz DeNoise AI Photoshop Plugin for Night Photography

The difference is stunning. Just remember that going too far with the Chroma Noise Reduction can also remove some tones, like oranges and, in this image, the blue of the snow. In this case, I wanted to remove the light pollution, so I’m happy with the result.

Topaz DeNoise AI minimizes the noise in most of the ground area quite well, also reducing the color noise, as you can see in this example.

The way this software reduces the noise in the sky without eliminating any stars make Topaz Denoise AI the best noise reduction software for astrophotographers.

2. Example – Topaz Denoise AI for Underexposed images

For the next example, the ISO wasn’t very high (250), but the original image was underexposed. I just increased the exposure and the shadows to try to recover the image, and the result was a lot of grain and noise.

best workflow for topaz denoise ai reduction

how to use topaz denoise ai in photoshop for free

Digital noise caused by increasing the exposure and the shadows to recover an underexposed image

To reduce the noise and recover detail, I applied 25 points of Noise Reduction and 50 points of Sharpening, also using Topaz DeNoise AI plugin for Photoshop. I think that the result speaks for itself:

topaz labs denoise 6

topaz denoise ai best software and plugin for photoshop

Before & After – Noise Reduction with Topaz DeNoise AI review

how to fix noisy images with lightroom and topaz denoise

before and after topaz denoise ai

Before & After Zoom Crop – Noise Reduction with Topaz DeNoise AI review

My experience using Topaz Denoise AI

My opinion after using Topaz DeNoise AI for several months now is that Topaz DeNoise is probably the most powerful tool for reducing digital noise in your images while keeping the detail.

In my opinion, that is the cornerstone of this software. While others reduce noise at the expense of washing out all detail, Topaz DeNoise AI maintains or even improves the detail with its Sharpen slider. The use of Artificial Intelligence plays a super important role in this particular aspect, and Topaz Labs are using this technology to take noise reduction to a whole new level.

Most of my photos are taken in low light conditions or using long exposure techniques, so I have to raise the ISO, with the consequent side effect of digital noise on my images. Thus, having trusty software that can easily clean my photos is a must in my photography.


topaz denoise ai before and after example

topaz denoise ai opinion 6

My experience using Topaz DeNoise AI

I personally run Topaz DeNoise AI as a Photoshop plugin, implementing it easily at the beginning of my workflow, and it’s by far the best noise reduction software I’ve ever tried (and we have tested 9+ as you can see in the above article).

Before wrapping up, let’s summarize the Pros and Cons of Topaz Denoise AI.

TOPAZ DENOISE AI REVIEW – topaz denoise ai PROS

To sum it up, these are the main advantages of using Topaz DeNoise AI:

  • It’s incredibly effective at reducing noise while preserving detail.
  • You can sharpen your photos at the same time you denoise your images.
  • The new Topaz Denoise AI batching update allows us to denoise multiple images at the same time when using the Standalone version.
  • Free Updates. So far Topaz Labs has not charged for any updates, even when they release completely new software. With the Artificial Intelligence onboard, there’ll be plenty of improvements, so the best is still to come and it will be free!
  • Intuitive interface, user-friendly adjustments, and plugins for LR and PS.
  • 40% off when you buy “The Utility Bundle”, which other AI Topaz software like Sharpen AI (the best software to fix blurry photos) and Gigapixel.

TOPAZ DENOISE AI OPINION – Topaz denoise ai CONS

Topaz DeNoise AI is not perfect. There is still room for improvement. These are the main cons of Topaz DeNoise AI.

  • No possibility of previewing the Chroma Noise Reduction.
  • Artificial Intelligence failing in some specific images at recognizing the digital noise.
  • Inclusion of AI Clear, as it is discontinued and works worse than DeNoise AI.

Topaz Denoise AI discount

Planning to give it a try? You can use our Topaz Denoise AI promo code to enjoy 15% off your purchase.

15% OFF Topaz Labs with the code CAPTUREATHOME15

This is a great opportunity, not only to buy Denoise AI, but also to get the Topaz Bundle with an extra 15% discount using our Topaz Denoise AI Coupon code. That way, you can use more top-notch software, like Sharpen AI to fix blurred images (you can check out our Topaz Sharpen AI tutorial here), Gigapixel, and Jpeg to Raw.

Conclusion

Artificial Intelligence is here to stay, and with the latest advances and improvements, Topaz Labs is leaving all its competitors in the dust by offering top-notch tools, not only for noise reduction but also for recovering out of focus images, enlarging files, and transforming Jpegs into Raws.

Topaz DeNoise AI is by far the best denoising software at the moment, and, if you don’t believe it, just take a look at this noise reduction software comparison to the major players on the market. Getting rid of digital noise in your images while preserving details is the key for choosing Topaz Denoise AI vs other noise-reduction software.

Implementing Topaz DeNoise AI into my workflow translated into a great improvement in my experience denoising images, making my images cleaner and seem better quality.

I hope you found this Topaz Labs DeNoise AI review helpful and that it encourages you to give it a try so you can take your images to the next level.

On top of that, don’t forget that you have a free 30- day trial! What are you waiting for?

15% OFF Topaz Labs with the code CAPTUREATHOME15

Please feel free to leave any comments related to Topaz DeNoise AI in the comment section below.

Jose Luis Cantabrana photographer

JOSE LUIS CANTABRANA

Photographer & contributor

Jose is a photographer based in Sydney. He truly believes photography is all about interpreting emotions.

He is a “glass half full” kind of guy. His curiosity consumes him and keeps him wanting more. He will go to the edge of the cliff or the top of a mountain to capture the perfect moment; no fences will stop him. In fact, the more challenging the scenario, the more adrenaline he has, rushing through, pushing him forward.

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4 thoughts on “Topaz Labs Denoise AI review: My experience using Denoise AI

  1. David Stapley says:

    After reading a number of reviews I downloaded the software at this morning (01:00 hrs or thereabouts). I have tried it out on various high ISO high noise images. I can honestly say I am blown away by the results. The details are enhanced and the noise, well it’s just gone. Amazing piece of software. I have 29 more days to put it through it’s paces but to be honest I’m sold on it already.

    • Capture the Atlas says:

      Hi David,

      Your comment reminds me of the first time I gave a try to Topaz Denoise AI, I was also amazed by the incredible results. Not only in noise reduction but in keeping details in the image is by far the best noise reduction software.

      Enjoy it! 😉

      Dan

  2. Bob says:

    Very good review, explanations, and before and after examples. If I can, I would like to share an experience I was having with the software after recently purchasing it. I was finding that in Photoshop the preview display of before and after looked amazing. But when I saved the changed and it returned to Photoshop the results were not that great. I tried doing some pictures using the software as a stand alone and got similar results. I reached out to Topaz. I got back this response which seemed to do the trick. “One thing I would suggest is going into File > Preferences > Advanced Preferences and switching “Enable Discrete GPU” to Off (If it’s On) and enabling OpenVINO. If it’s already Off, switch Enable Discrete GPU to On instead” Not sure why this worked but it did but it did slow down the processing. But, the end results are what matter

    • Capture the Atlas says:

      Hi Bob,

      Thank you very much for your message and for sharing this valuable tip with us.

      I never experienced that (or at least I didn’t notice that difference), but guess that it also depends on your GPU or your initial settings.

      In any case, as you said, what matters is to make it work and achieve the effect on the image, so I’m glad that you could work this out with the guys from Topaz.
      Another side note is that they’re truly helpful, I had some questions related to the software and they always replied very quickly and did their best to help me, so the great customer service behind this software is another thing we missed to remark in the article!

      Best,
      Dan

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