Google Photos’ unlimited cloud backup free-for-all is now over, but that doesn’t mean Google has forgotten about users on its free tier altogether.
As picked up by Android Police, Google Photos users can now apply manual sharpening and denoise filters to photos, helping reduce two of the most common quality issues in digital photography.
The new Sharpen and Denoise tools are tucked away in the Adjust section under the Edit menu and enable users to reduce image blur in ‘soft’ images or to smooth out any grainy image noise often found in low-light photography.
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The sharpen tool can be subtle or extreme. I recommend using it sparingly and only where absolutely necessary. Zooming in to your image first helps a lot. Just move the slider slowly until you can just about see the improvement – any more than this and you’ll start to make your photo look worse.
The Denoise tool seems more of a blunt instrument. It can definitely help improve the look of grainy images, but it can also make them smeary and horrible when overdone.
Unfortunately, both tools are limited in that they can only be applied to an entire image in one go. This is especially problematic when using the Denoise tool, as setting the level right for the noisy areas of the image will often result in ruining the detail in the rest of the picture.
What’s really needed is the ability to sharpen or smooth only the particular areas of the photo that really need it. Perhaps this feature will be added in a future update, and hopefully not just for paying users.
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