Neat Image is a digital image filter. Its main function is to reduce noise in digital images.
Neat Image can work with images produced by any imaging devices – digital cameras, scanners, etc. Neat Image can be adjusted to a particular device by means of a device noise profile, which describes the noise characteristics of the device working in a certain mode.
A device noise profile is built by analyzing featureless image areas that contain no visible (or important) details. Usually the software can find such areas completely automatically. In a difficult case, you can assist it and select featureless areas manually. Finding such areas is very easy for human eyes but may sometimes be a bit difficult for software.
By analyzing featureless areas, Neat Image's noise analyzer builds a profile which describes the noise in these areas. With this profile, Neat Image can efficiently reduce noise in the whole image.
When several such profiles for different device modes are available, the profile matcher can automatically select the profile that matches given input image. In this way, you can skip noise analysis and simply re-use one of profiles built earlier. Alternatively, a new profile can be built for every new image using automatic or manual profiling.
The noise filter processes images in three spatial frequency ranges. This makes possible reducing noise in one frequency range even if details are present in other ranges. The filter can also selectively process any of the color channels of the input images.
In addition to the noise filter, there is the smart sharpening filter, which only sharpens important image details without increasing the level of noise. This filter also uses the noise profile to tell noise from details, so applying the noise and sharpening filters together saves time and produces better overall results.