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Lightroom Tutorial: What Is Moire and How To Fix It

by Erin Peloquin on October 17, 2012 · 1 comment

Lightroom 4 added lots of great new features to its Adjustment Brush.  One of which is a Moire reducing feature.  I am so excited that I finally took a photo with Moire in it so that I can show you how to reduce the elusive moire….

In the image above, do you see the funky rainbow digital feedback looking pattern that appears over the plaid?  That is moire.  Moire usually appears outside of nature – you’re not going to see this in trees, for instance.

Moire is caused by the intersecting of a fine pattern in the image with the pattern of the digital sensor in your camera.  It can happen on TV too – you might have seen it there.  You can try to avoid it on camera by changing your focal point (away from the pattern causing the Moire), or changing the camera position.

But if it’s too late to change your camera angle, you can reduce or remove the Moire effect in Lightroom also.  See the After close up below.

In the image below, you can see my Adjustment Brush paint area and my Moire setting.  Painting on a pattern like this is a great time to turn off the Auto Mask feature.  It just works too well sometimes!  Turning off the Auto Mask will ensure that the entire area of the shirt is covered by the brush stroke, rather than just certain colors of the shirt. 

 

There are times when the LR cannot remove the entire effect.  The rainbow colors might disappear, but you might still see the dark and light pattern.  The only way to fix that, that I know of, is with painstaking clone tool work in Elements.

As you can see from the before and after below, this particular Moire is not showing up too obviously at this size.  However, it’s definitely there and would show up on a larger print.  The sharper the image, by the way, the more noticeable this effect is.

In fact, the Nikon D800 comes in two versions.  The D800E is sharper but is more susceptible to Moire.  The D800 is slightly less sharp, but has less Moire as well.  Who knew?  This is a good article if you’re considering purchasing this $3000 camera!


This Moire brush is not something that’s going to be a part of your everyday Lightroom workflow.  But it’s quite effective when you need it!

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