If you’ve watched any of our recent workflow videos, you would notice that we’ve mostly started our editing process in Adobe Lightroom Classic. And there is good reason for it as our data shows that the majority of our users use that app to manage and edit their photo collections. However, a growing number of photographers are either starting their Lightroom journey with the “new” version of the app, sometimes referred to as Lightroom Desktop, Lightroom CC, or simply Lightroom. I am one of those photographers who uses Lightroom primarily to store every photo I’ve ever taken since 2009, as you’ll see in the video below.

Let’s start with Lightroom

While this article isn’t meant to compare the benefits and limitations between both versions, it is worthwhile to show Lightroom users a functional workflow that incorporates Photoshop as the conduit to our apps. In this case, those apps are DeNoise AI and Sharpen AI. The reason why I’m using Photoshop as the conduit is because that is the only app that Lightroom recognizes as an external editor. Fortunately, our apps play very nicely within Photoshop and it’s easy to move from one app to the other in a layered workflow.

Let’s start with the photo in question. I took this photo of a bald eagle recently and when you look at the metadata, you’ll notice that I had to crank my ISO very high. I needed to do this to get a fast enough shutter speed to properly freeze the bird, whose head was constantly swiveling in all directions. It was quite overcast, as well, so the amount of available light was somewhat dim. Here’s the original photo and the metadata for it.

Next, I applied a heavy crop to fill the frame with the eagle and eliminate a lot of the distractions caused by the surrounding pine trees. I also made some initial corrective edits for tone and color, which you can see below.

Cropped original photoColor corrected | © Brian Matiash
With that done, I exported the photo to Photoshop by right clicking on the photo and selecting the appropriate menu item.

And thanks to Photoshop’s layer-based interface, I was able to create separate layers to send the image to DeNoise AI and Sharpen AI. Here is a comparison of the original image and the noise-reduced version processed with DeNoise AI.

Original photoDeNoise AI v3.3.4 | © Brian Matiash
And here is a comparison of the noise-reduced image and the selectively sharpened image using Sharpen AI. I intentionally kept the sharpening amount very low to avoid oversharpening. That is why the effect may look subtle. But, subtlety is what I often aim for when applying corrective edits to my photos.
DeNoise AI v3.3.4 | © Brian MatiashSharpen AI v3.3 | © Brian Matiash

With the edits complete, I saved the newly created TIFF file and it automatically re-imported in Lightroom. I finished things off with a few minor stylistic edits, including adding Clarity and a vignette. You can see the pre-Photoshop image and the finalized version below.

Original photoFinalized photo | © Brian Matiash

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About the Author: Brian Matiash

Brian Matiash serves as Product Marketing Manager for Topaz Labs and manages the Topaz Labs Learning Center. He is also a photo educator and author, with his work being featured in dozens of international publications. Learn more about Brian by visiting his website.
Published On: December 10th, 2021 / Categories: DeNoise AI, Photo Editing Workflow Series, Sharpen AI, Tutorial /


  1. Dick Foster December 24, 2021 at 6:56 am - Reply

    Your names for the Adobe products are confusing. There is no “Lightroom Desktop.” The product names are “Photoshop Lightroom” (cloud-based), “Photoshop Lightroom Classic” (desktop-based) and “Photoshop” (desktop-based). https://www.adobe.com/creativecloud/photography.html

  2. JanP December 24, 2021 at 2:51 am - Reply

    Hello, what is the use of the sharpening option in Denoise, when after denoise the sharpening will be done in Sharpen AI.
    Should i just ignore it?

    • Brian Matiash December 28, 2021 at 1:52 pm - Reply

      Sharpen AI provides more powerful and targeted sharpening using a variety of AI models. If you own both apps, I do recommend using each one for its intended purpose. However, the detail slider in DeNoise AI will do a fine job in adding a bit of extra sharpening, too.

  3. labro December 11, 2021 at 11:24 pm - Reply

    Hello, strange, i wasn’t aware there was a new 333 version with masking until i see the new youtube wildlife editing video 10 december. I was still using 322 but not for few months.
    Sometimes i visit the topaz blog but nothing new since 29 augustus with denoise.
    is this “learn” URL the new blog ?

    • Brian Matiash December 16, 2021 at 4:57 pm - Reply

      You can always check for the latest version by going to the Help menu in each of our apps. If there’s a newer one available, it will let you know. And yeah, the Learning Center is our relatively new blog. We launched it in late July.

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