Have you ever come across a photo that would be perfect to use in a project, but when printed or enlarged, the photo is too grainy to use? There is a plug-in for Photoshop that solves this problem, but it costs $100.00! Instead, here is a simple (and free) method to achieve the same results. This tutorial may not be for photoshop beginners, but it’s not too complicated…give it a whirl, and if you have any questions I am happy to help!
Step 1: Open the original image in Photoshop and duplicate the background layer.
Step 2: Make sure the “Background copy” layer is selected and then select “Filter”->”Noise”->”Reduce Noise…”
Step 3: Then select Advanced and in the little window below that click on the Per Channel tab.
Now choose Red, increase the strength to 10, and preserve details to 0. Repeat for blue and green. Then click OK.
Step 4: Now everything is super smooth, but all the details are washed out. This can be a cool effect, but for this tutorial, I want the image to look real, not surreal.
Step 5: How you go about this next step depends on the image you’re using. For this image I only want the sky to be smoothed out and detail everywhere else, so I’m using the magic wand to select the larger areas of blue sky, then quick mask mode to select in between the columns and near the buildings and trees, etc. Once everything that you want to stay smooth is selected, hit the Add Layer Mask button on the Layers window.
Step 6: (optional) If you like you can go onto the mask layer with a 50% opacity on the brush tool to let some more of the details show through on objects such as the trees.
And that’s it! This once grainy and unusable photo now looks great!