Tag Archives: Topaz Labs

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

New from Topaz Labs Texture Effects 2 with Discount Code

texture-box-3dTopaz Labs introduces Texture Effects 2

On September 27th Topaz Labs will introduce an update to their popular Texture program Texture Effects 2

Many peopel love the look of adding textures to their images. What they don’t like is the hassle and learning curve of doing so in Photoshop. Texture Effects allows you to add texture  effects in a snap and manipulate them in endless fashions of your choice and masking.

In the update in Texture Effects 2 they’ve taken it a step above with more lightning fast features, custom effects, and even professional textures from Hazel Meredith and 2 Lil Owls.

Not only that but from September 27th through October 30Th They are offering a Discount coupon worth $10 off the purchase price, Reg $69.99 now just $59.99. Just click on the banners and use coupon code ” TFX2 ”  As always the update is free for current users of Texture Effects

Here is a great Example of the power of Texture Effects 2 Order Now!

Topaz Labs Texture Effects 2

Before

Topaz Labs Texture Effects 2

After

affiliate_250x250_desert

 

New From Topaz Labs Impressions 2

Topaz Impressions 2Our friends over at Topaz Labs announced today an update to their popular Impressions program to Impression 2!

Impressions is a plug in filter that allows you to take your photographs and stylize them as Paintings- Brushstrokes to Canvas. Sometimes I find this look just fits certain ones of my photograph that feel to me painterly in the first place, Impressions 2 allows me to take it to the next level. It’s really a lot of fun and makes some beautiful images.

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New From Topaz Labs – Texture Effects -Coupon Code

Topaz Labs is a very cool company. They have the most extensive lineup of plug-ins and effects around. Now I’m a very Old School Shooter so I’m pretty traditional in my editing. So they have a lot of Plug-Ins that I “think” won’t interest me. but then I start to play with them and I find, I’m wrong. They are a ton of fun. I found that with Topaz Restyle and Simplify and I defiantly found that wish their newest release – Topaz Labs Texture Effects Continue reading »

Topaz Labs ReMask 5 Intro Sale

Topaz Labs introduces ReMask 5 the latest and updated version of their famous easy to use Photo masking Software and also has a Sale Price of only $49.99 That’s $20 off their usual price!

This Great price is good until September 18th . Just Click the link below and enter Coupon Code GetReMask5

Topaz Labs introduces ReStyle

ReStyle_box_clear-125x175Topaz Labs introduces ReStyle 
 
I’m sure most of the readers here are familiar with Tone-Mapping. Where we take a specific tone (lightness) and change it to a different tone (Lighten or darken). But what if we could instead do the same thing but with Color and Hue..In other words; Color-mapping. Taking something of a specific color or hue and changing bit to another.
 
Well, the good folks at Topaz Labs have brought that to you. With “Styling” apps all the rage for your Smart Phone Pics, why not take that idea to a professional level. Whether it’s a cross processed look or a dark and Smokey look to your image. Just about anything is Possible with Topaz Labs Re-Style

Software Review – Topaz Lab’s new -Clarity

Clarity_box_clearTopaz Labs Clarify – Get the Funk out of your HDR

Read to the end for a special Discount Code on Topaz Labs Clarity

Just released today is the new software from our friends at Topaz Labs – Clarity

Some of you may have read the article I wrote on “Why HDRs don’t look real” In it I went on about how what’s missing in a lot of HDRs is Midtone Shadow and Midtone Contrast. Controlling these two things either in the original HDR process or later in post can really do a lot to add photorealistic look to your HDR or actually any image.

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Topaz Labs releases B & W Effects 2.1

bwbox_transparentToday Topaz Labs announced the realease of B & W Effects 2.1

As always the update is fre to anyone that owns B & W Effects

The new updates to B&W Effects 2.1 make it the most powerful and comprehensive black and white conversion software on the market. The two biggest additions are:

The Zone System Viewing Mode lets you see your image broken down into 11 zones that represent the full tonal scale going from 0 as black to 10 as white. Zones are shown in different highlight colors for easy viewing. This viewing mode helps you determine whether or not you have the full tonal range in your image and then make exposure adjustments in our conversion module to correct these tones.

Continue reading »

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

Product Review: Topaz Labs – Adjust 5

Topaz Labs – Adjust 5

 Recently Topaz Labs came out with their latest release for their Adjust series of software, Adjust 5. It wasn’t long ago that I review Adjust 4 so with that fresh in my mind it’s easy to see some of the new things that are a part of Topaz Adjust 5 and there are  quite a few things of note that make this a better program than it’s predecessor.

 It retains it’s Lightroomesque interface. Presets on the left, Adjustment panel on the right and preview panel in the center.

 

I’ll work my way around the interface to point out what is new.

Presets

Staring on the left with Presets, There are 107 new presets. All the Adjust 4 presets are still there but they have added 107 new presets and they have broken the presets up into categories instead of just one long list. The category lists are:

  • Classic Collection
  • Vibrant Collection
  • HDR Collection
  • Film Collection
  • Toned Collection
  • Stylized collection
    And a folder for you to store your presets. 

What I really like about the new presets is that they are things that I would use. Even though I still would suggest you add these effects on a separate layer for control of the amount of effect later, there are a lot of great effects that are good like they are. Finally someone said lets make some good looking presets that actually make sense instead of some things that look like a Peter Maxx poster on Crack (I thought I would throw in a reference for both old people and young. Kids, DON’T do drugs!) 

I especially liked the new HDR presets; they are so usable it’s crazy. I would rather have something like this as a starting point and then get crazier, then to start with crazy and have to tone it down. Cuz usually I just bypass crazy. And there still are some crazy presets no doubt but they have been balanced by some very useful ones. 

A new feature of  Topaz Adjust 5 is that now you can add multiple effects to your image. Say you want an HDR effect and then a toning effect. Just apply the HDR effect and then apply the toning effect. ( The apply button is new) Saves you the time of going back to Photoshop and then back in to Adjust. 

Adjustments

Moving over to the Adjust panel on the right; at the top is a new histogram. Moving down they have the same Global adjustments as before but with the addition of a Curves adjustment which is always handy. 

The other big change is the addition of Local Adjustments via a Brush tool. You can brush out the effects you have added which is a great feature if you don’t know how to or don’t have the ability to do a layer mask. You can also Dodge, Burn and Smooth the image using the Edge aware brush. 

Below that they have added Finishing Touches, where you can add vignettes and frames. Add some grain or change the tone of the image. 

The last addition is a Transparency Slider so you can vary the total amount of the effect on your image. Again, a great tool if you don’t like working in layer. 

The only thing I wasn’t crazy about is that some of the sliders seem backwards in their actions, such as the Transparency Slider. If you are used to working in Photoshop and transparency there, 100 is the full effect of that layer. In Topaz Adjust, 100 is no effect at all. A few other controls did the same thing like when you add a vignette, moving the slider to the right gives you less vignette, not more. I would have done it different. 

Examples

Here are a couple examples, the first with the HDR Heavy Pop Smooth and the second with the addition onto of the HDR, a Vintage preset

 

 

 

Verdict

It’s a better program for the changes. The new presets alone are worth it and the local adjustment brush is really helpful. I think they have come a long way with this product. It’s great to get many looks and it’s great to use for single image HDR’s . Like I said in the previos review HDR without the mess

 I’d like them to fix two things; the way the adjustments work (make the controls more like Photoshop works left to right) The other thing I would like to see changed is the Preview. Its fine in the single image mode where you can click on the image to see the before and after, but in the side by side view, it’s in a vertical view. I wish they would also add the option of a horizontal view. 

So all in all well worth the upgrade. Speaking of which, it is a free upgrade to current Adjust Users 

This is a Photoshop Plug-in. Lightroom, Aperture and iPhoto users can get a free download of Topaz Fusion Express to use Topaz Adjust within their programs 

There are also plenty of Webinars at the Topaz Labs site to help you get the full use out of any of their software products.

 

To try or buy Topaz Labs – Topaz Adjust 5 visit : Topaz Labs

Till November 30th they have Adjust 5 at a special price of just $49.99 with the coupon code of : ADJUSTME

 

Product Review: Topaz Labs -Topaz Adjust 4 – HDR without the HDR Mess?

If you are a big fan of the “Grunge ” or “Painterly” Styles of  HDR or if you would like the HDR look to your Single  images but just can’t be bothered with all the work. Well I may have a easy and inexpensive fix for your desire.

Topaz Adjust 4 from Topaz Labs

Now you may be saying, “Peter that’s certainly not your style” and you are right, it isn’t. But I have to be honest and cognizant of the fact that those styles are some of the most popular for people that enjoy HDR Photographs. And I will let you in on a dirty little secret of the Photographic Art world. Grunge and Painterly HDR styles far outsell realistic HDR styles when it comes to selling prints. So I think it would be a little foolish of myself to deny those styles or force my opinions on anyone.

So onwards.

Topaz Adjust 4 is a Photoshop Plug-in which you might guess means you need Photoshop but they do have a free product called Topaz Fusion Express that makes their programs compatible with Lightroom, Aperture and iPhoto along with a couple free editing programs like Irfanview.

Topaz Adjust 4 is available by itself for an inexpensive price or in a Bundle of 10 Topaz programs which works out to a very inexpensive price per program when purchased that way.

It works like most Plug-in, it is available under the “Filter” menu in Photoshop. I would suggest as I usually do, before applying or launching Topaz Adjust 4, you duplicate your layer so the effect is applied upon that layer only to give you more flexibility as I will discuss later.

Launching Topaz Adjust 4 brings up a familiar LR Style panel. Presets on the left, Adjustments on the right and Image preview in the center. The program launches quickly and also auto-previews the last used previously preset. The speed tells me this is not a processor demanding program.

Presets

There are Presets that mostly deal with color pop and those that deal with increasing detail and then of course a few that do both. You can also Save your own presets as well as Import and export them to share with other users. I found most of the presets on the heavy side but again, that’s ME. For most users the presets will be just about right and I am sure many just choose one and don’t even touch the adjustment panel

Adjustments

The Adjustment Panel on the right starts with an Exposure section which is where you would do work to compress the exposure of the image to get more of that HDR look, Next below that is a section to work on how much detail you want in an image and you really can go anywhere from mild to wild with these controls. The next section down controls Color if you want to add some saturation pop (or take some away) and finally there is a Noise section which seemed to be effective but limited in adjustments. This may not be a problem if you buy the bundle because you will have Topaz De-Noise which can be launched from this application. Any adjustments made were applied and the preview refreshed rather quickly.

OK, I’ll admit it was fun

NOW comes the confession. I actually had fun using this. Yeah it’s way beyond where I will normally go with images but it was nice to just play and get some wild effects on some of my images in my portfolio. And that is part of it. It can be very image dependant. Using the Automotive images I shot in the previous post were not so successful but when I opened some images from a car show I shot two years ago they worked perfectly and were well suited to any treatment I applied.

Use it on a layer

Now I mentioned using them on a new layer earlier. This is appealing to me and how I work because although I may not love the wild style, I can, by varying the opacity of that layer, have as as little or as much of that style as I want and by doing that was certainly able to find something pleasing to my eye. I certainly could see using the Detailed preset for some work.

So summing it up, it’s kinda like how I eat. I try to eat healthy as much as I can, but the truth is, I loves me some hot wings. Topaz Adjust 4 may just be your hot wings.

Here are some of  images and the original to compare to ( Click to enlarge)

 

If you would like to buy or try Topaz Adjust 4 click here

Hope that helps,

PT