hi everyone. I read a short article that said to remove noise in photoshop you can open image, apply gaussian blur filter at roughly 6 pixels or higher, then go to edit>fade gaussian blur then select mode>color from the dropdown menu and this brings the original shrpness back without the noise. I use pse9, and it dosent have the fade gaussian under the edit menu and have read that its only in the pro version of photoshop. Is there an equivalant way to do this in elements? also do you know if this actually works, its seems too easy?
I do not recommend using blur to reduce noise in images, as it does blur the sharpness, even if you try to correct for it. I advise shooting images in RAW format with your camera and post-processing them from that format instead of JPEG.
thanks Kenneystudios but i do shoot in raw, im refering to the post processing. It dosent seem possible that this system would work but i cant test it out as i dont have the fade gaussian blur tool in elements. I wonder about it though as I read of this technique on another stock site's guideline and help section for their contributors. It would be one more reason for me to cough up the cash and get photoshop cs5
The technique you described is sometimes used for reducing chromatic noise (the color noise) not the luminance noise. I do not recommend it, as the results are bit frustrating on edges, where different colors meet (instead of sharp transition you will get color gradient transition of the size of applied blur [6pix in your example]). As Kenneystudios said, the raw processing module does much better job and removes the luminance noise as well.
(But if you want to see the pros and cons by your self, than you can do the same thing by  duplicating image layer,  bluring upper layer,  setting the upper layer to "color" blending mode,  merge layers... - and you have absolutely same result - but only in case that Elements support layers and blending modes... - I never used Elements...)
I find that noise ninja works better than the photoshop noise reduction tool. It can be downloaded as a photoshop plugin but not sure if it will work with elements. If it doesn't then noiseninja can also be downloaded as a stand alone app.
Using gaussian blur in "color mode" is not the same thing as using a simple gaussian blur filter on the picture. Color mode won't harm the sharpness, but will create a overall color value on flat surfaces. It's not easy to set the right radius, but it's a good way if you can handle it. Note that you can have desaturation, if you have black / white parts close to colored parts.
I almost never use noise reduction, because I generally shoot in my studio. But when it is needed, try to use the noise reduction filter LOCALLY. Because, not every part of a picture is effected equally from the noise. Generally dark parts have more noise than lighter parts, so using the same radius will make you lose detail on light parts, while you don't need to ;)
Using split frequency channels (advanced) and maybe Noise Ninja is a better way for sure. Still, it's better to keep it local!
- But if you are taking many photos (unlike me),
- if you don't have CS4 or CS5 (Camera RAW works pretty good in these versions)
- if you don't want to spend too much time on each photo (unlike me, again :))
you should use Noise Ninja, it's cheap and very good in results...