How to Fix JPEG Artifacts in Photoshop Fixing banding and other artifacts in Photoshop

In this video, Unmesh Dinda from the PiXimperfect channel demonstrates how you can fix all sorts of different artifacts that are common on Jpegs with one of the recent tools in Photoshop and some clever selections.

Banding and other Jpeg artifacts

Color banding occurs when you have tonal breaks in your image or graphic file. It is easy to recognize banding in an image if you look at a color gradient (like for example blue skies) and see abrupt color transitions. This happens in images when there aren’t enough tones available to recreate a seamless gradation of colors and is very common in compressed images.

This is part of the reason why you might encounter banding on some images on social media as those are likely to undergo some sort of automatic compression.

Banding is not the only problem that you might encounter when dealing with Jpegs online. There are other artifacts including Block boundary artifacts (common when images are reduced to lower bit depth).

Automatic correction in Photoshop

The first example that Dinda shows in this video is very basic. If you have a simple image with block artifacts open it in Photoshop and go to filter> neural filters>Jpeg artifacts (in case you didn’t download it do so).

Here you have three levels that you can choose from. Depending on how bad the artifacts are on your image choose low/medium/high and see how the results look. Now choose a new layer (or smart layer if you want to change the level of the filter after the fact).

If the image looks good – you are basically done but if there are areas where the filter removed too much of the details you can apply a mask and paint with 10% flow or so to bring in some of the details back).

That one was a really simple example, however, Dinda also shows two more complex examples that require more manual work.

The second example Dinda demonstrates involves some graphics and text. In this case, an image that had gone through some serious compression resulted in some horrible artifacts around the text. If you try to apply the Jpeg artifacts filter you will see several problems. First, the filter might have changed the color of some of the text. Next, you might also see that there are some leftover artifacts around the text.

So what can you do in this case? well, after you apply the filter if the color of the text or the background changed what you need to do is select the channels panel on the right panel (usually above the layers), select the channel with the highest contrast (of the color you want to fix) use Ctrl to select the area you want to fix.

You will need to invert the selection by Ctrl + shift + I and now create a new layer and sample the original color (turn of the layers above and just go back to the layer before you applied the filter). Now use the brush to paint with the original color. You might need to increase or decrease the selection area (select>modify> and contract or expand).

The third and last example in this video deals with a complex image that has both banding and artifacts.

The first step as before is to apply the neural filter, however, this usually only goes so far, especially with banding in the sky. Dinda suggests creating a new smart object (layer) so that you can change it easily later.

Now go to filter>blur>surface blur. The first step here is to push the threshold all the way up. Then raise the radius up until you see that the banding in the skies disappears. Then you can stop and start lowering the threshold and stop before the banding goes back.

Now you can add a mask and paint over the areas where you want the banding to be removed (otherwise you will destroy much of the other details in your image).

You can find a lot more photo/video editing-related videos and articles on our dedicated editing subsection. You can also find more of Dinda’s video tutorials here on LensVid.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of LensVid.com. He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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