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Wavelet denoise

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The wavelet denoise plugin is a tool to reduce noise in each channel of an image separately. The default colour space to do denoising is YCbCr which has the advantage that chroma noise can be reduced without affecting image details. Denoising in CIELAB (L*a*b*) or RGB is available as an option. The user interface allows colour mode and preview channel selection. The denoising threshold can be set for each colour channel independently.


  • User interface with preview is available.
  • Amount of denoising for each channel is selectable.
  • Possibility to denoise YCbCr or CIELAB channels instead of RGB exists.
  • Noise profiling is done.
  • Conversion from RGB to YCbCr and RGB to CIELAB is lossless.
  • Preview is capable of displaying one single channel only if desired.
  • Processing time is reasonably fast (around 20 seconds for a 10 Megapixel image) and independent from the amount of denoising applied.
  • User interface in multiple languages is available.


The wavelet denoise plugin for The GIMP reduces noise in an image using the algorithm copied and altered from the UFRaw program [Udi Fuchs] (which inherited the algorithm from dcraw [Dave Coffin]). Instead of denoising all RGB channels at once, the plugin implementation allows to denoise the RGB channels in dividually and - even more useful - to denoise the YCbCr or CIELAB channels individually. The colour model conversions are nearly lossless as the internal calculations are done in floating point numbers and rounding errors are avoided. Because the algorithm implements a wavelet filtering it runs quite fast.


This is part of a picture taken with the Nikon D80 DSLR camera at ISO 1600 in
RAW format. The face is lit by two candles and a colour temperature setting of
2500 K was used. The file was opened with the UFRaw plugin.

The goal is not to reduce all noise. The unpleasant part is the chroma noise
which appears only when shooting the camera in RAW mode at a high ISO speed. As
you can see the colour (chroma) noise is almost completely gone in the second picture and the luminance noise is slightly reduced. If you look closely at the face you will notice that the image details have not been altered much, the sharpness is almost the same.

Note that this is just the result of a uniform application of the filter on the unprocessed image. Masking the filter effect with a selection is possible which could improve the result even more.


This plug-in runs on multiple platforms:

  • Linux

    The plugin can easily be compiled from sources but be aware that some Linux distributions provide packages:

    • Ubuntu: Install the package 'gimp-plugin-registry'.
    • ArchLinux: Install the package 'gimp-plugin-wavelet-denoise'.
    • Debian: Install the package 'gimp-plugin-registry'.
  • Windows

    There exists a pre compiled binary for the plugin here. (Thank you Francois C.!)

  • Mac OS X

    'Gimp on OS X' provides a complete Gimp distribution which includes the plugin. You can download it here. (Thanks, Simone!)

What's new in version 0.3

The most significant changes are the introduction of noise profiling and internationalization.

  • Noise profiling is done.
  • Internationalization is possible now, several translations exist.
  • New slider "Softness" (which replaces the old "Detail" slider, but is completely different from it) to control the thresholding mechanism.
  • Introduction of the CIELAB (L*a*b*) colour space.
  • Reorganisation of source files and new installation routine via Makefiles.

What's new in version 0.2

There are several changes that have been made to improve the plugin.

  • The denoising is done on linear data now. The sRGB gamma of approximately 2.
    2 is compensated.
  • The interface has been reorganized
  • A 'Detail' slider has been added which affects the thresholds dependency on
    noise frequency.
  • Tool-tips have been added.
  • The single channel preview can now be displayed in colour.
  • There is a 'Reset' button which resets the currently selected channel tempor
    arily (during the time the button is pressed).
  • Normal reset buttons have been added.
  • The size of the dialog is saved now after it is closed.
  • The default thresholds are all zero now.
  • The progress bar was fixed and tweaked.

Apart from that minor other changes have been made.


The plugin is distributed under the General Public License (GPL).

GIMP Version: 
Code License: 


Hi all: I want to write my case: For installation in Ubuntu-8.04-AMD64, libgimp2.0-dev 2.4.5-1 installed, I wrote gimptool-2.0 --install-admin wavelet-denoise.c. Notice that the file's name is wavelet-denoise.c not wavelet_denoise.c

Any hope for windows binary ? will be needed to port it in windows or is just to compile? ("just" is a euphemism... is far to be simple for me, but will be hopeless if some of dependency have not a equivalent in win).

Thank you, JamesH, for providing this! I could not test it however as I have no Windows system with GIMP available. I will add it to the file list when somebody has checked it and if the license, install, readme files are included in the archive.

There will soon be another release with new features and I hope you will repeat this trick.

You are welcome and here is new one My English is not good, so sorry for my short sentence

I'm sorry but I don't know how to do it and I work on Linux exclusively. Maybe somebody else could provide a solution...

I have just built a windows binary without console window for the latest version. I'll send it as an attachment in a new post.

I see that the 0.3.1 Windows binary has yet to be uploaded. Can you please upload it as soon as you find some time? I'd really love to use the updated version.

i downloaded it and decompressed it to my desktop. you have to install gimptool from synaptic. then you should be able to install it using gimptool. im new at this too, but i got it working. try this gimptool-2.0 --install wavelet-denoise.c. sorry i misread the post[this is for linux) as soon as i install it in windows ill get back to you.

uh..installing in windows should be simple as a double click to unzip, and then move the extracted file in 1 of the gimp plugin folder (better in the less visible that usually is in for xp C:\ Documents and Settings\YOUR NAME HERE\.gimp\plugin for Vista C:\Users\YOUR NAME HERE\.gimp\plugin


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