Removing Dust and Scratches from Images in Photoshop Elements 9

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

If your images suffer from dust, scratches, or artifacts (blocky pixels or halos), you may need to use a filter in Photoshop Elements to clean them up.

The tools you want to use to eliminate junk from your images are found on the Filter→Noise submenu in Edit Full or Edit Quick mode. With the exception of the Add Noise filter, the other filters help to hide noise, dust, scratches, and artifacts. Here’s the list of junk removers:

  • Despeckle: Decreases the contrast, without affecting the edges, to make the dust in your image less pronounced. You may notice a slight blurring of your image (that’s what’s hiding the junk), but hopefully the edges are still sharp.

  • Dust & Scratches: Like its name says, hides dust and scratches by blurring those areas of your image that contain the nastiness. (It looks for harsh transitions in tone.) Specify your desired Radius value, which is the size of the area to be blurred. Also, specify the Threshold value, which determines how much contrast between pixels must be present before they’re blurred.

    Use this filter with restraint because it can obliterate detail and make your image go from bad to worse.

  • Median: Reduces contrast around dust spots. The process the filter goes through is rather technical, so suffice it to say that the light spots darken, the dark spots lighten, and the rest of the image isn’t changed. Specify your desired radius, which is the size of the area to be adjusted.

  • Reduce Noise: Designed to remove luminance noise and artifacts from your images. Luminance noise is grayscale noise that makes images look overly grainy. Specify these options to reduce the noise in your image:

    • Strength: Specify the amount of noise reduction.

    • Preserve Details: A higher percentage preserves edges and details but reduces the amount of noise that’s removed.

    • Reduce Color Noise: Remove random colored pixels.

    • Remove JPEG Artifact: Remove the blocks and halos that can occur from low-quality JPEG compression.

      Use the Reduce Noise filter to remove noise and artifacts.

      Use the Reduce Noise filter to remove noise and artifacts.