Neat Image is a plug-in for Photoshop 7 through CS4, as well as Photoshop Elements and Apple Aperture, that reduces image noise and grain in digital photos and scans. (They also have a standalone version, and a version for video!)
It works well at reducing noise in low-light action photos, as well as in portraits, in files of any format, including Raw.
For automated noise removal, you can download noise profiles for many digital cameras, or you can easily create your own. If you set it up as an Action in Photoshop, you can apply it to batches of images automatically. It can automatically match a profile to an image based on its EXIF data, and intelligently sharpen details as it removes noise.
In addition, it can remove film grain from scanned slides and negatives, JPEG artifacts from over-compressed images, and color banding.
Neat Image costs $34.90 or $69.90, depending on whether you want the automation features and support for 16-bit images. I recommend it highly.
Jeff Gamet is a contributing editor for Design Tools Monthly, the executive summary of graphic design news. He is also the morning editor and reviews editor for The Mac Observer and iPodObserver.com, and contributing writer for Layers Magazine and Photoshop User. He writes the InBrief column for InDesign Magazine, and is the author of “The Designer’s Guide to Mac OS X,” from Peachpit Press
When Jeff isn’t writing about the graphic design world, he’s talking about it on the Design Tools Weekly podcast with co-host Jay Nelson. He also talks about Apple and the Mac world every week on The Mac Observer’s Apple Weekly Report.
Jeff studies, tests and reviews new software and technologies for the Macintosh community as well as the design and print industries. He is a former Pre-press specialist, and has nearly 25 years experience with computer technology. Jeff trains, lectures and consults on techniques for more efficiently using Mac OS X in creative environments throughout the country.
In the rare moments when he can get away from his MacBook Pro, Jeff spends his time climbing and biking in the Colorado mountains.