I just made a small comparison of rendered images in Cycles with different sample values, then I used NeatImage Standalone demo to remove noise with different settings (you can recognize that I used stronger reduction on the 300 samples image, so details are more ‘washed out’).
Although worrying too much about ‘noise’ is mostly typical for the ‘tech-maniac type’ CGI or photography guys, I think it could show the power of noise-filtering as a post-processing step and it could be useful for everybody.
It doesn’t just saves time; it also saves electricity (it has effects on your budget and on the environment both).
– download the images and compare them in 1:1 ratio (on the native resolution of your screen)
– I didn’t used any filtering on the 500 sample render; I used it as a reference
– removing the noise in NeatImage required about 15-20 sec per image (could be batched).