Tag Archives: Topaz Adjust 5

Topaz Labs Updates Adjust and Simplify Programs

Updates to Topaz Adjust and Topaz Simplify

Topaz labs announced today two minor updates to their popular programs Adjust 5 (5.2.0)  and Simplify 4 (4.2.0)

About Adjust:
With Topaz Adjust you can give your images the soul and character you envisioned in the field! Unlike our eyes, a camera lens can’t compensate for all the tonal values we see right in front of us. If you shoot something bright, you’ll lose all the details in the shadows. If you shoot something dark, the highlights will be blown out. You can try to correct contrast, details, and vibrancy yourself, but it’s difficult to make images pop like you want.

Topaz Adjust is designed to enhance three characteristics: contrast, detail, and color. Specializing in producing vivid images, Adjust uses Topaz’s adaptive exposure, adaptive saturation, and even includes our cutting edge detail enhancement algorithms to give you the secret “oomph” ingredients that make your images stand out.

About Simplify:
Topaz Simplify gives you a set of tools to create art that only you can make. Build a wide assortment of effects such as watercolors, oil paintings, cartoons, charcoal drawings, sketches, and more. Make your art uniquely personal instead of using cookie-cutter filters and achieve better results faster with specialized digital art technology.

Simplify is designed to create cool graphical effects to quickly turn your images into sketches, watercolors, and a wide range of other graphical and artistic effects. With intelligent controls for edge tracing, details, large image features, and original image enhancement, the artistic effects and styles you can achieve are endless.

Major features introduced in the latest versions of Adjust and Simplify include:

  • High DPI Display Support for Windows.
    High DPI monitors now display Adjust and Simplify properly. The application GUI has been updated to display correctly on 4k monitors.
  • Preserve Image Metadata.
    Adjust and Simplify now preserve all image metadata.
  • Separation of User Data and Program Files.
    Computer user accounts now store saved effects separately for each computer user. User created presets are now saved in user specific data locations, in their own separate folder. Once you log off your computer user account, your custom effects stay private!
  • Import Your Custom Topaz Effects Easily.
    Adjust and Simplify automatically imports all of your saved effects from previous versions!

New Effects.

  • Adjust 5.2.0 comes with 18 new effects. New notable effects can be found in the Stylized Collection, the Vibrant Collection, and the Toned Section.
  • Simplify 4.2.0 has 12 new presets in the Detail Removal and Enhancement, Line and Ink, Painting, and Sketch Collections.

 

As always, updates for current users are free

To learn more, get free trials or buy, click the links below

Topaz Adjust 5

Topaz Simplify 4

Double Process – The Better Grunge HDR?

Double Processing

Readers familiar with this site know I am not a big fan of the “Grunge” Style of HDR. I don’t say don’t do it, it’s just not my cup of tea (I think I have been watching Wheeler Dealer, the British show, too much this week, Mate!). Although I do admit I would like to have some fun  playing with a grunge style but every time I do my “Fans” or my customers give it a big thumbs down and say they like my more natural or “As the eye sees” style of HDR. And I agree for the most part, I do what works for me.

But what if I were to do a Grunge style, what would it look like? Well, I don’t think it would look anything like the Grunge presets in popular HDR programs. But how would I do it? With a little known technique that well started for me, as a mistake: Double Processing.

Double processing? What’s that? Well quite simply, it is taking your image and running it through your tone mapping…Twice!

So let’s take a look at a couple images from my portfolio down as I normally would do with pretty much my normal process in Photomatix Pro 4.1

The first one is from the old artillery bunkers above the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands

The Next Image is from an abandoned filling station in Vista New Mexico.

Now let’s see what these images look like using the standard Grunge Preset in Photomatix.

 

 They certainly have that look. But they are just too Mid-toned for me. How about if we make them look surrealistic but with some better tonality throughout the image?

So how do we double process in Photomatix. It’s really quite simple. If you are using the Standalone version, after you do your first round on normal tone mapping, you hit process and it applies the tone mapping. Usually at this point you hit save. Well instead, we just press the Tone- Mapping Button again and it takes the image right back into the tone-mapping screen and applies the previous settings again to the image. Or you could change them up a bit if you wanted to go for a different look.

If you are using Lightroom and the image gets taken back into Lightroom after the tone-mapping, simply export that single image again into Photomatix.

For mine, I just applied the same settings again (Strength 70, Saturation 70, Light Adjustments: Natural, Gamma -1.20)

Here are the results

 

Ok not bad, but let’s take it just a bit further and bring in some more of the detail that the Grunge style has. We’ll do that by using some different software. Topaz Adjust 5.

Have I told you how improved the new Topaz adjust 5 is? They have some REALLY useful presets and I’ve begun using some of them on standard images to make what I get in camera look more like what my eye sees when I am shooting. For this example, I just used the “Detail” preset in Topaz Adjust 5, Just to increase our detail and add a  bit of edge contrast.

 

And there you have it, MY version of Grunge. Might not be your style, might not be something my customers would even buy. But it was fun and a different way to do things for those times you might want to go over the top a bit. Or if you’ve already been going over the top, a better workflow that may improve your images.

 

Okay, now where did I put my Cup of  Tea mate?

 

Hope that helps

Compositing the HDR Portrait – Topaz ReMask 3

Compositing the HDR portrait – Topaz Remask 3 

I was challenged to do this by a few people, last week a Long Island Photography group asked if it was possible (most said no). Then this week, a friend sent me a link to Joel Grimes and his commercial work blending HDR and sports photography and kind of challenged me to see what it would look like if I did it. (Never challenge me) 

I’ve had this idea for almost a year now but I had a different vision for it, which I still will try next weekend when I have a model for a different reason but if we have spare time I will try my other method. But inspired by the above I thought I would give an HDR Portrait a whirl using compositing of two images using Topaz Remask 3 to make the selection masking process as easy and precise as possible. 

First let’s take a look at out two images. 

Our background: this was an image I shot in San Diego’s Balboa Park a little over a year ago. It is a 3 exposure HDR, finished in Photomatix Pro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 The Model Image was shot two months prior when I was shooting images for my book, How to Take Great Photos. It is a standard photograph shot using OCF

 

Topaz Adjust 5

The first thing I did was take my background image and it needed more of an HDR look to it…yes I actually wanted to grunge it up a bit. I could have started from scratch and reprocessed the image in Photomatix, this time with a heavier hand. But I knew that wasn’t really necessary as I had a tool that would do it with much less work: Topaz Adjust 5 

I opened the image in Photoshop, duplicated the background and then used my plug-in for Topaz Adjust 5. I went to the HDR Presets and selected HDR Heavy Pop Grunge. This provided just the look I was after

 

 With my background image as I wanted it, it was time to move to my Model Portrait of lovely Noelle and to start the masking process for a smooth and precise selection

 Topaz Remask 3

Opening the image in Topaz Remask 3, It was a simple task of painting red what I wanted to remove, painting green what I wanted to keep and using the Blue Compute brush to paint a line around the subject to compute what stayed and what went

 

After about 15 minutes to really get things right, slowly refining the mask till it was perfect. I had the mask I needed for the selection

 

Bringing it back into Photoshop, here is the selected image of our model Noelle.

 

After a few adjustments it was time to drag our model onto ourBalboaParkbackground. Using the move tool, I simply dragged the selection onto our background image. At this point I needed to mirror flip her so that she was facing the right direction to fit into our scene. I did that with Edit>Transform> Flip horizontal. Then, again using the move tool, positioned her where I wanted in the frame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At this point she really wasn’t blending well into the scene so I thought she needed a little HDR look to her too. I duplicated the layer and again I returned to Topaz Adjust 5 but this time I went a little lighter handed and used one of the Vibrant Collection presets: Detail – Strong. 

Now she had the detail I wanted to match the background but she still didn’t blend with the tone of the image as much as I would have liked. So I used a trick I showed you a year ago when I did the shoot at the harbor. I duplicated the model layer again and this time opened Topaz BW effects and selected the Platinum preset. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I then turned the color layer above back on and changed the opacity of the color level to about 65%. Now she seemed to blend in pretty well, but I still wanted her to look more natural because going too far can highlight things that are not flattering to a woman. 

After a few tweaks here and there with position, and a little use of the blur tool around some of the edges and a little dodging and burning. I had the look I wanted for the image

Edit*

The last step was to take a soft brush and some dark gray set to a medium opacity and on a new layer add some shadows behind her feet to make her blend in better

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 At this point I though it best if the image was cropped but I couldn’t decide which way I should crop it to 8  x 10 proportions, so I did both.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You tell me. 

I hope you enjoyed that. It actually was a lot of fun and challenging to do. I haven’t been a fan of compositing, preferring to do all my work in camera. But I am happy with the results and of course I really can’t resist a challenge from anyone.

 

Hope that helps,

PT