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Neat Image v5.0 released
(Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 19:39 EDT)

ABSoft, the Netherlands-based company behind the Neat Image application for reducing noise in digital images, has released a new version of the software.

Neat Image v5.0 for Windows offers a rather large list of changes, including (from a list provided by ABSoft):

  • Improved noise profiling and noise reduction algorithms resulting in higher quality of noise reduction:
    • better automatic selection of featureless image areas for noise analysis
    • visual feedback on the quality of image areas used for noise analysis
    • more accurate noise analysis algorithm
    • profile quality indicators to control the quality of noise analysis
    • better handling of strong noise and JPEG artifacts by the noise filter
  • Significantly improved implementation of all image processing algorithms:
    • 2.0-2.5 times faster processing as compared with v4.0
  • Frequency components in Component Viewer during profiling
  • Contrast and gray-level adjustment in Component Viewer
  • Brightness, contrast, gamma adjustment in Neat Image image viewer
  • Transparency support in the plug-in's viewer
  • Preset matching: automatic selection of a filter preset that matches either the noise profile used or ISO rate of the input image
  • New parameters in Job Defaults: output file type and compression quality
  • Command line format: new switches to use auto profiling, auto fine-tuning, etc., from the command line
  • LZW- and ZIP-compressed TIFF files saved by Photoshop can now be opened in the standalone Neat Image
  • Improved behaviour of Neat Image windows on system with dual displays
  • Improved general memory management
  • Plug-in: improved resource utilization in Photoshop
  • Several cosmetic improvements in GUI
  • Modified default working color space name to avoid possible confusion
  • Improved profile matching for Pentax cameras
  • Updated Profile Converter to automatically convert v2.x, v3.x, v4.x profiles to v5.x format

Neat Image v5.04 for Windows requires a Pentium computer with a minimum of 64MB of RAM. User-contributed profiles for a wide range of digital cameras are available to download from the company's website. Five versions of the program itself are available, beginning with a demo version that is free for non-commercial use, as well as Home and Professional versions (both available as standalone only, or with a Photoshop plugin). The Pro variants add support for unlimited batch queue depth (where the Home variants are limited to 50 images), as well as 48-bit RGB / 16-bit TIFF output, and support for Photoshop actions in the plugin.

The demo version only offers a batch queue depth of two images, and does not allow images to be saved in any format except for JPEG (with compression fixed at a relatively low level). We would caution readers to pay attention to one point when using the demo version. Unlike all of the other versions, the demo will not retain EXIF data when saving images, so if you overwrite your original photo (not something we'd recommend doing anyway), there will be no way to restore the EXIF data at a later point.

Pricing for Neat Image is set at $29.90 for the Home version, and $59.90 for the Pro version. The Home+ and Pro+ versions, which add the Photoshop plugin support, cost $49.90 and $74.90 respectively. European users also pay 17.5% VAT, and multi-user licenses for two, three, five, ten or more users are available.

Original Source Press Release:

Neat Image v5.0 /Win

Improving the de facto standard, ABSoft introduces the next generation noise reduction solution

Neat Image team, ABSoft, is pleased to announce the introduction of a new generation of its noise reduction solution for digital photography that inherits and refines the highest quality and efficiency traditionally delivered by Neat Image: Neat Image v5.0 /Win.

New in Neat Image v5.0 /Win is significantly improved quality and efficiency of noise reduction, stronger integration with the latest image editors and enhanced usability.

Renowned for its noise reduction quality, Neat Image is used by photographers all over the world as a tool that turns noisy photos and grainy scans into clean and neat digital images.

Realizing the critical importance of high quality noise reduction in low light (night, indoors) and high speed (sport, action) photography, new Neat Image employs significantly enhanced and optimized noise reduction algorithms. These algorithms use refined device noise profiles to more accurately reflect camera or scanner characteristics and to draw a more clear distinction between noise and details in digital images. In effect, the noise reduction quality is greatly improved, especially in cases of strong noise and compression artifacts: more true noise is reduced and more real image details are preserved.

Keeping up with ever increasing megapixel ratings of the modern digital cameras, new Neat Image incorporates a more efficient implementation of all image processing procedures which makes both profiling and noise reduction faster than in the previous generation of Neat Image. Neat Image version 5.0 works 2.0-2.5 times faster than the version 4.0.

Supporting the software environment used by many professionals, the plug-in versions of Neat Image /Win have been made fully compatible with the latest generation of the industry standard image editor: Adobe Photoshop CS2 for Windows. Neat Image noise reduction is directly integrated in a workflow based on Photoshop filters, plug-ins and actions.

New Neat Image also includes numerous usability improvements (profile quality indicators, improved image viewers), new features (preset matching, new command line format) and optimizations of the underlying algorithms.

Since the beginning of the digital imaging era, digital noise and digitized film grain have always been unwelcome parts of many digital photos and scans because of imperfect physical nature of the underlying light-capturing processes. While the hardware manufactures have always been trying to improve these processes, Neat Image software is designed to work with the available output produced by the modern hardware: noisy high ISO digital shots and scans of grainy film. Neat Image greatly improves the visual quality of such digital images by reducing the objectionable noise and grain and at the same time preserving the real image details.

Neat Image was initially introduced to the market in 2001 and quickly became the de facto standard in noise reduction for digital photography thanks to the top quality of noise reduction delivered by the tool.

The top quality noise reduction has been made possible by using device noise profiles – a novel concept originally introduced by Neat Image. A device noise profile is a reusable analysis of noise properties of an image acquisition device. Using device noise profiles in effect makes Neat Image processing custom-tailored to an imaging device and therefore makes noise reduction more accurate.

Neat Image /Win runs in Windows as a standalone application and a Photoshop-compatible plug-in. Neat Image /Mac is also available.

Pricing and Availability
Neat Image v5.0 /Win is available in several editions, from the basic Home edition to the most feature-rich Pro+ edition:

  • Home edition is a standalone version for home users who process small number of images; available at US$29.90
  • Home+ edition additionally includes the Photoshop-compatible plug-in; available at US$49.90
  • Pro edition supports 16-bit image processing and unlimited queuing / batching capabilities; available at US$59.90
  • Pro+ edition additionally includes the Photoshop-compatible action-enabled plug-in; available at US$74.90

Volume licensing and special pricing is available as well.

Upgrading from previous versions
Caring for people who already use Neat Image /Win, ABSoft makes the new version available to the currently registered users of the previous versions at no extra cost. Each registered user may directly use his/her license to download the latest version of the corresponding Neat Image edition:

Please find more information about new features and improvements in Neat Image v5.0 /Win in the history of changes.

Also please see a comment about using noise profiles built with older versions of Neat Image /Win.

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