Photoshop’s amazing new AI “Generative Fill”

Adobe just added some of their “Firefly” generative artificial intelligence (AI) directly into Photoshop as a new beta feature called “generative fill“. It’s a very exciting development, with the potential to offer something MidJourney, Dall-E, and Stable Diffusion cannot… deep integration into Photoshop. What benefits might that offer?

  • Native support in Photoshop. There are already great plugins to use tools like Stable Diffusion, but Adobe can offer a richer interface. You can create a selection and work directly with your current image. Ultimately, this offers the potential for greater user control and a richer interface, as well as the convenience of doing all your work right inside Photoshop.
  • Generate objects. You provide both the source image and location and description of where you’d like to add something, and the AI does the work of combining them.
  • Remove objects. It’s like “content-aware fill” on steroids. I find that it can offer better results than the new remove tool in many cases (though the brushing workflow is very nice and they both have their uses).
  • Revise objects. Want to change from a yellow shirt to a red one? Just select the shirt with the lasso tool and tell Photoshop what you want.
  • Expand images. You can push things pretty far and it often provides much better results than content-aware fill. Generative fill seems to work better in detailed areas and content aware seems to excel with gradients or areas of low detail such as the sky, so using both together may produce the best results.
  • Create new backgrounds. You can generate content from nothing, which may be ideal if you need a backdrop for a subject.
  • Fewer legal / commercial / ethical concerns. Firefly has been trained on Adobe stock, so there is much less copyright concern with the source data used to train the AI. I’m no expert on the contractual terms and legal matters here, but certainly this source has significant benefits over scraping content from Pinterest, Flickr, etc which does not include model or property releases. See Adobe’s FAQ for more details.

There are several ways you can invoke generative fill:

  • The Lumenzia Basics panel’s “Fill” button now offers generative fill (when the feature is enabled in PS). This not only gives one-button access to use it, but includes other enhancements:
    • It also includes a feature to “auto-mask subject“. This allows you to easily resize, rotate, or move content you’ve added without edge concerns. When you use this option to create a new fill layer, the last mask will automatically update to isolate the subject anytime you update the layer. This prevents issues with surrounding water, clouds, etc failing to match the new surroundings after you transform your subject.
    • You can easily expand your image. Just use the crop tool (<C>) to expand the edges of the image and then click “Fill”. When using generative, just leave the prompt blank.
  • Make a selection with a tool such as the lasso, quick selection, or subject select and then go to Edit / Generative Fill.
  • Via the “Contextual Task Bar” (Window / Contextual Task Bar). Whenever you create a selection, you’ll see a “generative fill” button in this floating task bar. Tip: turn on “sample all layers” for quick selection / subject select, as they won’t work very well once you start creating multiple layers.
  • Via voice commands through MacOS or Windows when using any of the above methods:
    • MacOS: Setup via System Preferences / Keyboard / Dictation. Enable dictation and set the “shortcut” you prefer (“Press Control Key Twice” works great with external keyboards). Use your shortcut, speak, and click <return> or your shortcut key.
    • Windows: Start by pressing the Windows logo key + H, or the microphone key next if you have one.
  • Revise an existing generative fill layer by selecting the layer and opening the properties panel. You can click “generate” to create new options or change the text prompt to refine your concept. You can also select from other variations.

Note that the generative fill layer is created as a Smart Object with one layer for each version you see in the properties (you can right-click the layer and choose “convert to layers” to actually see this). This has a couple of implications:

  • Each of these layers does take a bit of space, so clicking the “x” on unused versions will help reduce your file size (you may also rasterize the layer to save further space if you are done revising it).
  • You can non-destructively apply filters to the layer.

Capability like this naturally raises ethical questions around truth in imagery and it should also be noted that Generative Fill is designed to work with Content Credentials. This is an initiative involving companies like Adobe and the New York Times to create standards and a trail of evidence to help differentiate between original and altered content.


How good is it, and where do we go from here?

Is this a perfect AI? No, of course not – but that isn’t the goal at this stage. Adobe is making that very clear by releasing this as a feature only available in the beta version of Photoshop. This is what software developers call an MVP (minimum viable product). It’s a chance to get user input and more experience to help build the real product. You should expect that (a) it has lots of limitations now and (b) it will get much better in the future. At this time, this is a tool best used for fun and experimentation at social media resolutions. Commercial usage is prohibited during the beta phase. But it’s very exciting to get a glimpse of where things are likely headed. All the use cases above are interesting to me and would will immensely beneficial with sufficient quality.

Even if you see no relevance to this kind of AI for your work in the near future, that’s unlikely to remain the case years from now. AI tools like this are going to be constantly evolving. Most people hadn’t heard of ChatGPT until it reached version 4, and this isn’t even version 1 of “generative fill”, “Firefly”, or whatever the product will be called over time. It’s an extremely exciting development with enormous potential to alleviate tedious work and open up new creative avenues for exploration.

Personally, I’m most excited about the potential for better methods of removing distractions from my images. Cloning is tedious work. I’ll probably expand some image edges as needed for certain formats and cropping factors. I’d be happy to make some tweaks to alter some colors. However, I don’t see myself adding subjects to images because I focus on creating images which share the experience of a place. The video above is just meant to give some sense of what’s possible. I’m not going to be adding fake animals to my portfolio images.

Everyone’s needs are different. This could be a great aid for someone who doesn’t have model releases for marketing work to simply swap real people with invented ones. Some people want to create fantasy images. There are so many potential uses, and I think ultimately the evolution will take a winding path as developers find out what people really want (and are willing to pay for). That said, I think there are some fairly clear avenues of continued improvement for tools like this.


Adobe’s standalone / website version (Firefly) already has several additional features would be very useful in Photoshop, including:

  • Category options for style, color and tone, lighting, etc. Many of these are less necessary in this context when you’re filling a portion of the image (vs generating something from nothing on the website), but I do think a somewhat guided experience may provide more clarity in some cases. For example, a blank prompt currently may remove a selected object or not – what’s the right approach? There is much to be learned about what interface works best, but I suspect  a simple open-ended text input may feel a bit daunting for those who aren’t experts in “prompt engineering”.
  • Text effects” to create gorgeous visual fonts. Fonts have many needs which are unique from image content and options here will certainly be appreciated by users such as graphic designers.

Beyond that, there are several potential ways to expand the capability:

  • Higher resolution. The current results are limited to social media sizes, this isn’t something you’re going to print right now. Anytime you generate content, it is created at a maximum of 1024×1024 (though will be upscaled from there automatically to fill the target space). This isn’t surprising given Adobe is providing this for free at what must be significant costs to run on their servers, but obviously there will be a lot of demand for higher resolution output in the future.
  • Improved image quality. There are artifacts, matching to the ambient lighting is hit or miss, the results may look more like art than a photograph, etc. This will obviously improve over time and I’m excited to see how it evolves. Whether training the AI from Adobe stock is a limiting factor in the long run remains to be seen – that catalog reportedly includes hundreds of millions of images (vs billions used for Stable Diffusion). I suspect that as AI models continue to improve to work with less data, the quality of the training images is going to be more important than the quantity. This will undoubtedly improve significantly in time.
  • Improved user interface. The current design is very basic, as if to drive home the point that it’s a beta. You can’t just click <enter> after typing your text, you can’t double-click the layer to access properties for further editing, no option in the toolbar for the lasso tool, clicking OK before generate leaves an empty layer, only a few iterations offered at a time, no way to specify a seed to revise an existing version, the previews are small, etc.
  • Negative prompts. You can’t currently type “remove the sign”, though selecting an object and typing nothing often will help remove it (though other times you just get another random object).
  • Better support to revise existing content. Unlike the demo I showed with the Stable Diffusion plugin (where I turned my photograph into a charcoal sketch), there isn’t quite the same mechanism for style transfer with generative fill. I can select someone’s shirt and type “blue shirt” to change color. But if I select the whole image and type “charcoal drawing”, the result will bear no resemblance to the original photo. This kind of capability would be nice for altering the entire image (day to night conversions, changing the weather, time of day, style transfers, etc). And the quality of the result isn’t the same. If I try to select my mouth and type “frown” or “closed lip smile”, I don’t get what that result.
  • On-device processing. The beta release of generative fill runs in the cloud, which means you have to be connected to the internet. Processing on your own computer would allow offline use and probably faster processing time.
  • AI assisted compositing. Rather than using a text prompt to create new content, imaging that you just provide a background and a subject – then Photoshop cuts out the subject with no visible edge, matches color and tone, and creates shadows or reflections to complete the composite for you.
  • More flexible input. Support for languages other than English is key. It also needs to be more tolerant of typos (“brooom” should be recognized as an attempt to type “broom”). It’d be nice if you could use the arrow keys to cycle through the versions you create. And while you can already use your voice, imagine a richer interface where you give an initial idea (“add some pine trees”) and then continue to refine it with feedback (“make the middle one taller, show light rays coming through the trees, and warm up the shadows”).
  • Support for 32-bit HDR. Photoshop’s tools for cleaning up 32-bit images are limited to the clone stamp. There is no healing, spot healing, patch, or remove tool support. It would be very helpful to be able to remove things like lens flare in HDR images.

There are an unlimited number of potential use cases here and it will be very exciting to see where the technology goes over time. What do you think? What capabilities and interface would you like to see for this sort of generative fill in Photoshop? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


I’ve had various emails and comments I want to address if you are unable to use Generative fill.

If you do not see an option for Generative Fill, please check the following:

  • Make sure you have installed the PS beta. Help / System Info must show 24.6.0 20230520.m.2181. Several people reported installing the beta initially and seeing a build older than “2181”.
  • Make sure you are running the PS beta (when you install the beta, it keeps the regular version and you can run either).
  • Check that your age shows at least 18 in Adobe’s system (contact [email protected] if unsure). Generative Fill in Photoshop (Beta) is only available to users of at least 18 years of age.
  • Make sure you have a supported license type: Creative Cloud Individual license, CC Teams, CC Enterprise, or Educational.
  • Note: Generative Fill is not available in China at this time.
  • See the official Adobe support page

If you see Generative Fill, but it is greyed out / unavailable, please check the following:

  • Note: hovering over the Generate button should show a tooltip explaining why the feature is unavailable.
  • Make sure you have a selection
  • Make sure your image is in 8 / 16-bit mode (32-bit HDR is not supported)
  • Use the “Fill” button in the Basics panel if you own Lumenzia. It is designed to address some edge cases (other than 32-bits, which is a fundamental requirement of the tool).

If you do not see the Generative Fill option in Lumenzia Basics, please check that you can see it as an option under the “Edit” menu in Photoshop and that you have updated to Lumenzia v11.4.0 or later.

Incredible new AI noise reduction in LR / ACR

Adobe Camera RAW (ACR v15.3) and Lightroom (Classic v12.3 / Desktop v6.3) have just added a powerful new noise reduction tool using artificial intelligence (as well as some great enhancements to HDR capabilities and more noted at the bottom of this post). Noise reduction is a powerful tool not only for high ISO images, but also noisy images from small sensors (such as drones) or helping to make larger prints from low ISO images. There are now a number of AI-based tools and ACR is already among the best in its first release. In this tutorial, you’ll learn why you should use it, how to get optimal results, and how it compares to DXO PureRAW.

In my experience, this tool consistently adds a lot of value for its intended targets: noisy images. It’s is extremely helpful for noise in shadows, high ISO images, and small sensors (such as images captured with a drone). It can help make larger prints from images captured at an optimal ISO. And it can even reduce hot pixel noise in some images. The final result is significantly less luminance noise, less color noise, and better preservation of detail compared to the older manual noise removal.


Workflow for Adobe Denoise:

  1. Open or select an image in LR or directly in ACR (the feature is not available in inside RAW Smart Objects and the RAW Filter does not actually work with RAW data). You may also <shift>-click to select multiple images at the same time.
  2. Consider using exposure or shadow adjustments so you can clearly see any noisy areas you’ll want to review in the next steps (this won’t affect the results and you can change/undo it later).
  3. In the Detail tab, click the “Denoise” button. If you <alt/option>-click Denoise, it will run “headless” and immediately process the image with the same settings used last time you ran denoise.
  4. The preview shows 100%. You cannot change the size of the preview, but you can easily pick other parts of the image to preview by clicking directly on the image. You may alternatively click the – icon (or <alt/option>-click in the preview) to zoom out, then click elsewhere in the preview to zoom back in.
  5. Click the preview to view before/after to help choose the desired amount of Denoise. 50% is generally a good amount.
  6. Click “Enhance” then you may open the new image which shows in the film strip. You may wish to <ctrl/cmd>-click to select the original as well so that you may blend the two.
  7. You may apply manual noise reduction in addition to Denoise. That’s not something you should do often, but it can be useful in some cases.

Some tips for working with Denoise:

  • Expect to make some minor changes to adapt your approach if you’re already using another noise reduction tool. Adobe Denoise is designed to reduce noise. It does add some detail, but not  real sharpening like DXO or Topaz DeNoise do. So you’ll need to add some degree of sharpening or detail enhancement to the Adobe Denoise image if you’re hoping to match the level of detail those products tend to produce by default.
  • You can apply Denoise at any time on the RAW file, but it should ideally be done before using any tools which make permanent changes based on the current pixels (this includes AI-based masks like Select Sky/Subject and the healing brush). Denoise will automatically update those areas, but it’s a good idea to review them if you denoise after those changes. I’ve also seen denoise make some slight shifts in apparent color/tone. They’re quite minor, but it’s a good idea to look for changes if you’re denoising an image you’ve already processed.
  • You can skip the popup interface and run with the last same settings used last time by <alt/option>-clicking Denoise (the … will disappear on the button when you’re holding the correct shortcut key and hovering).
  • Adobe Denoise also adds detail, which can be both a benefit and a potential concern, depending on the image content. automatically turns on the “RAW Details” enhance option. If you compare Denoise at 1% (where it’s doing almost nothing) vs unchecking Denoise (so that it’s completely off), there is a significant change in detail. In other words, it adds a lot more detail beyond that provided when you only have “RAW Details” enabled. This extra edge detail increases with higher amounts of Denoise. This has several implications:
    • You may turn on Denoise at a very low percent to help reveal more detail in an image (like a form of AI capture sharpening).
    • You may find this detail results in artifacts in some areas. So even if you’re already comfortable with how  RAW Details affect your images, you should review the results closely since they’re different now. Watch out in particular for halos along strong edges like backlit buildings. If you run problems, you can blend locally with the original, blend with a version using less Denoise, or just use the old manual noise reduction as needed. It’s not a concern I’ve seen in many images, but you should be aware of it. It’s also the sort of problem I expect may be eliminated as this tool matures with future updates.
  • One scenario that I find Adobe Denoise doesn’t handle well yet: very high contrast edges, such as a sunset sky behind the hard edge of a building. In that scenario, you may see halos. Hopefully this is addressed in a future update, but there may be a few scenarios where another approach is preferable or should be blended in via layer mask.
  • If you wish to filter LR to only show denoised images, you may search on the text “enhanced” and may further limit metadata to file type of “digital negative / lossless” to show DNGs (in case you have unrelated files with a similar name). You may also go to Settings / File Handling and check “automatically add keywords to enhanced images”, which will cause “Denoise” to be added as a keyword (the amount of noise reduction is not noted in either the keyword or new file name).
  • There’s no direct way to to filter to files which have not been denoised, but you could use a creative approach by setting a metadata filter for file type to “Raw” and opting for Denoise to output as a stack. The resulting DNG will be at the top of the stack and will not show in the filtered stack (so long as you leave the stack collapsed). This assumes you did not import your images as DNG, in which case both the source and denoised image would have the same “file type”.
  • Speed with this tool varies wildly based on your computer. On my M2 Max, converting 10 D850 images took an average of 27 seconds per image. I’ve heard reports of much longer times with much older computers, so your speed will depend heavily on your computer’s capabilities. If you have a slower computer, I recommend just letting the batch run in the background (you can even keep working on other images in LR if you like). Adobe’s official guidance is: “For best performance, use a GPU with a large amount of memory, ideally at least 8 GB. On macOS, prefer an Apple silicon machine with lots of memory. On Windows, use GPUs with ML acceleration hardware, such as NVIDIA RTX with TensorCores. A faster GPU means faster results.”
  • You can get basic info on your GPU in PS under Help / GPU Compatibility. If you’d like to compare with others, some GPU benchmark options which have been recommended to me are 3DMark (for PC) and Cinebench for (PC or MacOS).


Adobe Denoise vs DXO PureRAW 3:

There are a few AI-based noise reduction tools out there and I’ve posted tutorials previously on DXO PureRAW 3 (with “DeepPRIME XD”). How does ACR compare? The short answer is that they have complimentary strengths, so I prefer to use a mix of both depending on the image. The full answer is a bit longer as they aren’t fully comparable, as DXO targets a larger range of RAW enhancements.

Pros for Adobe Denoise:

  • Included with ACR and therefore costs nothing if you have Photoshop / Lightroom CC (vs $129 for PureRAW for a new purchase at full price).
  • Offers control over the degree of noise reduction, which can be helpful to fine tune the balance between noise reduction and preserving detail.
  • Less prone to artifacts in fine details.
  • Preserves the mosaic data. This may facilitate use of improved demosaicing algorithms in the future (which may help improve fine detail or reduce pixel-level artifacts). However, if you keep the original RAW, you’d always have this data (and the combined size of the original and DXO DNG is only about 5% larger than the Adobe DNG). So this is nearly a wash if you’re willing to keep the original when using DXO.
  • Simpler to use. There’s not much to think about here, which is nice. That said, the DXO interface isn’t too complicated.
  • Embeds fast load data, which may provide some performance boost when changing images in LR / ACR.
  • I find that it does a somewhat better job with high ISO night sky images. DXO tends to shows some artifacts (faux star trails) and makes secondary stars too strong (which makes for a cluttered star field where everything is a bright star). Adobe Denoise also makes secondary stars too strong, but the overall result is a bit better.
    • One benefit of this cleaner result is that you can combine Adobe Denoise with stacking multiple images. This would help achieve greater total noise reduction and/or allow you to shoot fewer images. I’d happily stack say 5 images instead of 10-20. Not only will that save time (on a typically cold night), but helps reduce problems with sky area near edges (where you may not have much data from other images in the stack).
    • I find that DXO does a better job with foregrounds, so I expect I’ll use both tools on the same image and use the sky from ACR and the foreground from DXO.
  • Direct integration with LR / ACR.
  • It’s a first release and only going to get better. Adobe’s Eric Chan noted in his blog post that they’re continuing to work on better training data, support for using Denoise with Super Resolution, and eliminating the creation of a new DNG file. If you look at the history of another new feature, HDR, you’ll see it has improved significantly in the past six months already (including the improvements noted below).

Pros for DXO PureRAW:

  • Does a better job of enhancing high ISO shadow details. It also includes a “lens softness” control to help control the degree of detail enhancement. When you want to make enlargements for print, I find DXO (especially when combined with Topaz Gigapixel) is an indispensable tool. This is a great reason to consider adding DXO to your toolkit.
  • 25% smaller files. I assume this is because PureRAW is saving demosaiced data (RGB) vs Adobe Denoise which preserves mosaic data (RGGB). For reference, a typical D850 is roughly 51MB for the original NEF, 135MB for the PureRAW DNG, and 178MB for the Adobe DNG. You might save the file space or use this as an opportunity to keep the original RAW for reprocessing in the future as these algorithms continue to improve.
  • Offers vignetting, chromatic aberration, and lens corrections. I don’t generally find these to be huge advantages. The lens corrections are very helpful if you get perfect results, but if you wish to blend in some of the original image, you need to skip them to align the image. I wouldn’t say I’ve found the chromatic aberration and vignetting addresses problems I can’t address with other tools in ACR.
  • Outputs to a sub-folder, which may be preferable in organizing the derivative DNGs.

Note that camera support varies a little bit here and both are likely to offer expanded options over time. I do not know if Adobe Denoise supports more cameras than PureRAW in general or just different cameras (you can check your images with DXO’s free trial to confirm with your own images).While both were able to process images from a DJI Mavic Pro drone, the results from PureRAW were not as expected and it does not seem properly supported as of v3.1.0.

Adobe Denoise is also able to process a RAW (not ProRAW) photo from iPhone 14, whereas PureRAW 3 could not. Note that the iPhone can capture two different types of RAW images and only one of them can be processed with Adobe Denoise. The native iPhone app RAW files are ProRAW files which are already demosaiced (partially processed), and therefore not compatible with AI Noise. You’ll have to use an app like ProCamera to capture in the mosaiced RAW format if you wish to use this software. You can tell which is which in ACR / LR based on Denoise availability, as well as by reviewing Metadata/DNG in LR and checking to see that “mosaic data” shows “yes”. In a brief test, I felt that the RAW + Adobe Denoise version showed more noise and less sharpening artifact, so it may be worth exploring this if you do serious photography with an iPhone (but the differences probably aren’t worth the effort for casual use).

I find these tools are very complimentary and I’m glad to have both. When to use which tool:

  • When you want noise reduction with the most natural look: ACR Denoise
  • When you want to enhance fine detail or restore very noisy shadow detail: PureRAW3
  • High contrast edges (such as sunset behind buildings): PureRAW3 (note that you may see better results using the option to remove chromatic aberration in ACR than in PureRAW3 in this scenario)
  • Starry night skies: Adobe Denoise or manual noise removal in ACR coupled with stacking. Adobe Denoise makes minor stars more prominent (which can make the sky too cluttered). You can get a better result by using a more modest amount of Adobe denoise and then add manual noise reduction. I also find Adobe Denoise may require a slight shift in tint to keep consistent color in the night sky. I’d like to see both tools improve their ability to handle starry skies.

This is just the first release of the tool, so the last couple of items may shift in favor of Adobe Denoise as ACR is updated over time. Ultimately, Adobe is coming out strong in their first release and I expect many photographers will decide it’s good enough (given it provides great results at no extra cost). However, I think PureRAW is excellent and there are compelling advantages for many photographers. I recommend trying DXO’s free trial to see for yourself, your degree of benefit will depend on the kind of images you capture.


Adobe Denoise vs Topaz Denoise:

Many people love Topaz Denoise. They make amazing products and I’m an enormous fan of Topaz Gigapixel. Topaz were early pioneers with AI noise reduction and have made a great product. However, as often happens, there’s lot of competing innovation and in my opinion leadership has now shifted to Adobe and DXO. In particular, I believe the RAW processing workflow is simply better with those products. However, if you don’t care about reducing noise at the RAW stage, then you’ll likely have a stronger preference for Topaz.

Pros for Adobe AI Denose:

  • You can apply the noise reduction at any time and trust that the new RAW (linear DNG) will look extremely close to where you started. That makes it very easy to migrate existing edits. that’s not the case with many files I’ve tested with Topaz. I see huge shifts in color balance, tonality, and sometimes overall vignetting of the image. It’s a different result, and in my experience complicates editing.
  • I prefer the results from Adobe, I find they have the least amount of artifact of any of the AI tools so far. But it depends on your image content, and there is no universally better tool.
  • It’s simpler, just a single Denoise slider. Topaz also has a reasonably simple interface, but you have to choose which model to use and set up to four sliders.
  • Topaz is not showing the RAW image as you’ve processed it, which I find makes it harder to make optimal decisions with those various choices (especially if making critical decisions to reduce noise in shadow areas).
  • Denoise is effectively “free” as it is included with the cost of LR / ACR.
  • Direct integration with LR / ACR.

Pros for Topaz:

  • You can use it on TIF, JPG, and PNG – which is beneficial for improving images you’ve already edited, stock images, etc.
  • You can use it as a filter on a Smart Object. So if you prefer more flexibility, you can change the noise reduction settings later. This may mean an extra Smart Object + filter (if you aren’t applying it to a RAW Smart Object). I’d generally be careful with applying noise reduction after sharpening, clarity, etc.
  • It also offers controls to add some sharpening / detail. This can be very useful (it can also be misleading if you compare the initial Topaz results to the unsharpened results from Adobe Denoise). Personally, I find this may produce unwanted artifact at an early state of image processing which may limit the ability to enlarge later. I prefer not to sharpen this way on the RAW file.


I expect Adobe Denoise will spur more innovation and I look forward to seeing how things continue to improve across the ecosystem. If you feel I’m overlooking anything here (or things change in the months to come), please comment below. I’m sure Topaz will keep producing great updates.


Other notable changes in LR:

  • Edit in / “Open as Smart Object layers in Photoshop”.
  • Curves in local adjustments.
  • Ability to import  AVIF (new format which is much smaller than JPG) and HEIF (iPhone).


ACR v15.3 also has some nice HDR enhancements, including:

  • Vastly improved color for orange/yellow HDR highlights, which is particularly beneficial for images such as sunrise / sunset.
  • Full support for color grading in HDR.
  • A new keyboard shortcut (<shift>-O) to toggle the “Visualize HDR Ranges” overlay.


[Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  I have purchased all the software referenced above and only endorse tools I personally use and recommend. If you purchase through these links, a small percentage of the sale will be used to help fund the content on this site, but the price you pay remains the same.  Please see my ethics statement if you have any questions.]

What’s new in Web Sharp Pro v5?

I’m happy to announce the launch of Web Sharp Pro v5, which is another free update for all existing customers. You can see key highlights in the three short videos below.

Web Sharp Pro v5 offers:

  • The ability to save any combination of settings as a preset. For example: you could create one preset to export to Facebook with blur border, one for a 4×5 Instagram portrait template with some added grain, and third for a larger watermarked version of the same image for your website. The options are endless. Whatever your needs, you can easily switch between the settings presets you create with just a few clicks. (see video #1)
  • Add up to three buttons to immediately sharpen with favorite saved presets. So you could export with presets you’ve created with a single click. (see video #1)
  • Bulk export with multiple different settings. When you click “batch” you can now choose any of your new saved presets to use on all the files you select for batch processing. You can also use this with the new Lightroom / Capture One integration.(see video #1)
  • Integration with Lightroom and Capture One. Just create a simple export template for either program and when you use it, Web Sharp Pro will automatically batch process all the images you’ve selected. (see video #2)
  • Your crops are remembered for future use. You no longer need to use crop overlays to save your preferred crops with the source image. If you create a custom crop for Facebook and a different crop for a 1×1 export, for example, those crops will be used the next time you export the image. You can choose to change them, or just use them automatically. This allows you to get the exact same custom crop any time you need to re-export the image for a given aspect ratio. (see video #3)
  • Support for multiple watermarks. You may import as many as you like for different watermarking needs.(see video #1)
  • And more. See the release notes for full details on the changes (be sure to look back to v5.0, these new features have been released in a succession of quick updates).

The combined effect of these updates is that you can now use the simpler “quick export” method to do nearly anything in the panel. Of course, the crop overlay method is still available when you want extra visualizations for safe margins, splitting into rows/columns, or when working with images where you’ve already added overlays.

Part 1: Bulk export with saved settings, buttons for favorites, and multiple watermarks

Part 2: Integration with Lightroom / CaptureOne

Part 3: Custom crops



Your browser / screen does not support HDR, or scripts are disabled. See my HDR tests and more info to learn how to to properly view HDR images.

Fighting my urge to sleep in after a long week of shooting, I didn’t exactly jump right out of bed on time. Throw in the uncertainty of reaching and scouting a new location, I had to hustle to stay ahead of sunrise. My heart was pounding by the time I arrived to this overlook, but it wasn’t long before it settled as I looked over the placid water into the first color of the crisp morning sky.

This HDR image was edited using ACR for RAW processing and Lumenzia for 32-bit dodging & burning with luminosity selections, exported as an HDR image using Web Sharp Pro, and then converted to an HDR video using Final Cut Pro X for Instagram. 

Note that if you are viewing on a computer which supports HDR (such as an M1 MacBook Pro using Chrome), the image above will show as an HDR AVIF. However, if your computer does not support it, then you will see an SDR (standard dynamic range) JPG. The SDR image is optimized to look as good as it can within the limits of those displays, but the HDR is definitely a more compelling image. If you have an iPhone, you can view this image as HDR with the Instagram link below.

I’ve also been experimenting with posting these HDR images on Instagram. Technically, it isn’t supported. But you can convert an HDR photo to an HDR video and that is supported. There are many limitations (HDR is only shown when viewing full screen on an iPhone and the IG overlays only disappear if you click and hold on the screen), but it’s still interesting to have a way to share HDR images on these great mobile screens. I would rather just host my own images and bypass these limitations, but we don’t yet have support for mobile browsers to show HDR images on iPhones / iPads. Hopefully that will change soon.

How to eliminate noise with PureRAW 3

DXO has just released PureRAW v3 to enhance your RAW images automatically with artificial intelligence (AI). I previously posted a detailed tutorial with PureRAW v2 showing how it can be used to enhance detail and reduce noise in high ISO images. Be sure to see that previous review, as I cover several details I’m not going to rehash here.
PureRAW is one of those rare tools that can improve most images with minimal work. It helps reduce noise, enhance detail, and correct lens distortions. That might sound like a tool only for high ISO images, but as I show in the video below, it can significantly improve the quality of even ISO 64 images for print. It’s incredibly versatile.

With the v3, DXO PureRAW offers the following improvements:
  • A new DeepPrime XD method which claims to help reduce the equivalent of 2.5 stops reduction in ISO.
    • In my experience, this holds up to their claims. The noise reduction is vastly improved and this has significant benefits to not only high ISO images, but the ability to print any image. When combined with Topaz Gigapixel, you can enlarge your prints to sizes I would never have thought possible.
  • Improved fine detail.
    • Noisy shadow detail improves significantly over the already impressive results from v2.
    • I find it adds substantial fine detail on ISO 64 images. It feels like my lenses are much sharper.
  • More control over settings.
    • You can now choose from 5 levels of lens sharpening instead of 2 (I’m counting off as an option).
    • You can choose from 3 methods of lens correction instead of 1. You can keep the original aspect ratio, keep the maximum area without any blank pixels, or keep everything to let you content-aware fill missing pixels to create the largest possible corrected image.
    • And you can selectively remove vignetting and chromatic aberration.
  • New batching processing options. If you use the standalone version, you can queue up several jobs at the same time, including with different settings. However, this capability does not appear to be in the v3 LR plugin
  • Support for Fujifilm X Series cameras.
A few things to note:
  • I find that nearly every image is improved. The one exception is starry night skies, where the results are a mix of good and bad. While I find the foregrounds of those images are improved, there are artifacts in the stars and I prefer the older DeepPRIME method (which comes with v3 and you can easily use or blend it as you like). I’m more inclined to use other noise reduction techniques for the stars (such as stacking or other denoising algorithms) than v3. But they keep making huge improvements and hopefully this is an area which will benefit as well in the future.
  • PureRAW’s legacy modes (such as the original DeepPrime) are still available and work the same as they did in v2.
  • You can also integrate this tool with Lightroom’s merge to panorama / HDR tool (you just need to run DXO before the LR merge).
  • I believe this is an excellent tool for HDR output from a single RAW, as it helps you avoid shadow noise while exposing properly for the highlights in a scene.
  • Try the demo version or check the camera compatibility list if you use an unusual camera or want to use a Smart Phone. I cannot process either standard RAW or ProRAW from an iPhone (and do not see any recent iPhone in the official list, but some very old models are supported).
  • If you already have DXO PhotoLab 6 ELITE, you don’t need PureRAW3 unless you’re seeking the Lightroom integration. You also have the same DeepPRIME XD capabilities.


The Lightroom integration offers a simple workflow. Just go to File / Plugin Extras / Process with DxO PureRAW 3 in LR after you’ve installed their plugin.

  • Set the denoising technology to DeepPRIME XD. This is mandatory if you want the best noise reduction. If you see artifacts (such as in stars), you might consider falling back to the older DeepPRIME method. But in general, I’d just use XD.
  • The lens sharpness works great at “standard“. This helps enhance fine detail is helpful when you intend to print. If you see any unwanted detail or artifacts, just uncheck the option to turn it off (it will still apply some detail enhancement even when completely off).
  • Turn vignetting on or off as you like. I prefer to leave vignetting off and use the controls in LR / ACR instead since they work similarly well and you can control the amount applied.
  • Turn chromatic aberration ON. The results here are better than you’ll get with LR / ACR after the fact.
  • I generally leave lens distortion off. I get good results from LR / ACR. More importantly, you’ll lose the option to blend the output with your original RAW if you want to mix different methods (which I would certainly do for night sky shots where I would treat the stars differently from the foreground).
  • I strongly recommend updating the name every time you change settings. PureRAW doesn’t name the file to remind you which settings you use and it can get confusing to compare different options if you don’t do this yourself. Hopefully, they’ll do this for us in the future.


Who should consider PureRAW 3?

  • Anyone making large prints. The noise reduction and fine detail are very powerful and a worthwhile upgrade from v2.
  • Anyone looking to reduce high ISO noise (other than starry skies as noted above). This is a great tool for hand-held portraits, weddings, events, and sports (if you can afford 15-30 seconds per images to process the RAW).
  • Those working with RAW files from small sensors such as drones or cropped sensors, which are inherently noisy even at low ISO.
If you’re curious to learn more about what they’re doing, check out DXO’s article on linear DNG and their official list of supported cameras and lenses. PureRAW costs $129 new, or $79 if you’re upgrading.

[Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  I have purchased all the software referenced above and only endorse tools I personally use and recommend. If you purchase through these links, a small percentage of the sale will be used to help fund the content on this site, but the price you pay remains the same.  Please see my ethics statement if you have any questions.]

Greg Benz Photography