Topaz stand-alone and plug-in software

Three valuable plug-ins for image processing, creating black and white images, and improved clarity.

TOPAZ - STAND ALONE AND PLUG-IN SOFTWARE (MAC/PC)

TOPAZ PLUG-INS (e.g. FOR PHOTOSHOP)

Topaz Laboratories offer their image processing software in modules. Each module is designed to perform a specific task - such as sharpening, resizing, colour enhancing. These were created as plug-ins for Photoshop soft􀁺ware.

 

What do they do?

The plug-ins that are available include:

- Adjust 5 - for making general adjustments to your images. (The Review appears below.)

- B&W Effects - for creating black and white images from your colour original. (The Review appears below.)

- Clarity- for improving the detail within an image. (The Review appears below.)

- Lens Eff􀁹ects - go direct to web site just click here

- Texture Eff􀁹ects - go direct to web site just click here

 

So, having acquired your Photoshop Elements software you can now download the plug-in that will help you most in taking the next step to high quality images: Topaz Adjust 5 .

 

I rate this soft􀁺ware very highly indeed.

 

The soft􀁺ware reviewed:

 

The soft􀁺ware I am going to review on this page is Topaz Adjust 5 , Topaz B&W Effects, and Topaz Clarity.

 

If you want to go directly to the Topaz Labs site to look at all of their image processing software follow this link: Topaz Lab Soft􀁺ware.

 

TOPAZ ADJUST 5

 

The main purpose of this software is to give you a nuanced adjustment of your image so that you get the rendering that pleases you most.

For example I opened this file in Topaz Adjust 5 :

and looked at it using the presets provided. In the end I settled on the following version as the one that pleased me most. It gives a more autumnal feel to the scene. In order to achieve this I simply ran through the available presets until I made a final choice.

This took me less than 3 minutes.

- In Topaz Adjust 5 Presets take the form of a list of processing possibilities such as 'brilliant warm', 'brilliant cold', 'High key', 'Low key', 'soft 􀁺 focus', and many others.

- When you click on any one of these it then shows you a small version of what the eff􀁹ect will look like on your image. It also allows you to simulate how the image would have looked if you had used diff􀁹erent films in a film camera.

- There is an option to see all of these alternative modes in a grid-view of Presets.

- Tools for providing a more refined adjustment occur in a panel on the right-hand side of the screen, including the ability to adjust exposure, brightness, contrast, colour, and modifications of the Curve Tool.

- Local adjustments can be made through dodging and burning.

- Finishing touches include the ability to add a border.

 

- Topaz Adjust also provides a suite of tools that you can use to further edit a preset image, including the ability to alter brightness, sharpness, contrast and so on.

- Topaz Adjust takes you one step further than Adobe Elements, but is still simple to use.

- If you have an earlier version of Elements already and do not want to spend the money to upgrade to Version 15 you can still obtain Topaz Adjust to use with your existing version of Elements either as a plug-in or as stand-alone image processing soft􀁺ware.

 

Topaz Adjust 5 enables:

• Exposure correction

• Contrast adjustment

• Shadow adjustment

• Highlight adjustment

• Extreme colour generation/modification

 

The Primary Functions of Topaz Adjust 5 Include:

1. Dynamically and creatively make your images pop.

2. Rescue the integrity of dull images by introducing vibrant color and detail e􀁹ects.

3. Intelligent detail enhancement / reduction with innovative detail manipulation functions.

4. Basic noise reduction.

5. Equalize image exposure to result in everything from balanced and well-exposed images to edgy and

exciting image e􀁹ects.

6. Unique color e􀁹ects via advanced color processing.

Some of this is well beyond your needs when starting out in image processing. However, it does

demonstrate the power of this soft􀁺ware.

In order to demonstrate what Topaz Adjust will do for your images I applied some of these techniques to the following image.

This first illustration shows what you get on the opening screen:

Topaz Adjust employs Presets to enable you to reach your desired image quickly. For this scene I chose (from the choices in the column on the left􀁺) the Preset that improved the look of the sky . By opening a double view of the scene you are presented with a Before and Aft􀁺er view of any changes that you make:

With a modicum of sharpening - using the sharpening tool in the right-hand column - the final image shows much more punch and better exposure than the original:

Does Topaz Adjust 5 do its job well?

- In a word "Yes".

- Very competent so􀁺ware (MAC and PC) and outstanding for the price.

- A good start for any beginner or amateur photographer looking for eff􀁹ective processing at a low cost.

- Especially good for gaining dramatic contrast, balancing tonal values within the image, enhancing local contrast and dynamic range, with good recovery of detail from the shadows and the highlights.

- Topaz Adjust 5 is great for enhancing small details without boosting noise, making the results far better than a simple sharpening or local contrast adjustment.

- Although this program can be used as a stand-alone image processing software, I prefer to use it as a plug-in Photoshop. It can also be used in this way with Aperture for Lightroom, iPhoto Paint Shop Pro, Photo Impact or Irfanview.

 

Is it difficult to learn?

No, it is quite intuitive, and with a little practice you will soon master the refined changes that

you can make to the image using the tool set provided.

How much does it cost?

You can obtain this software either on its own, in which case it costs $49.99 (not bad for the extra control that you get over your images), or you can obtain it as part of a complete bundle of Topaz So􀁺ftware for $499.99 (perhaps try out "Adjust" first and then see which of the other components you would find useful).

You can go directly to the Topaz Adjust 5 site here.

TOPAZ B&W EFFECTS

I use this Photoshop plug-in on a frequent basis.

It is one of the easiest to use and eff􀁹ective programs for converting colour images into black and white.

For my example I have chosen a wood panel carving - a good subject for monochrome photography.

Using Topaz B&W E􀁹ffects I selected the Classic Preview (from the mosaic of Preview options):

I selected the Curves adjustment panel and from the options provided I chose the Strong Contrast setting, and saved the image.

Less than 2 minutes work.

There is more for you to see on the Topaz Labs web site - the B&W module is discussed in greater detail here.

Does Topaz Effects do its job well?

In a word "Yes".

 

Is it diff􀁹icult to learn?

No, it is quite intuitive, and with a little practice you will soon master the refined changes that

you can make to the image using the tool set provided.

 

How much does it cost?

You can obtain this software either on its own, in which case it costs $59.99 (not bad for the extra control that you get over your images), or you can obtain it as part of a complete bundle of Topaz software for $499.99.

You can go directly to the Topaz B&W E􀁹ffects site here.

TOPAZ CLARITY

- Very competent software (MAC and PC) and outstanding for the price.

- A good start for any beginner or amateur photographer looking for eff􀁹ective image processing at a low cost.

- Although it can be used as a stand-alone image processing software, it is much more powerful when used as a plug-in for Photoshop, Aperture, Lightroom, iPhoto Paint Shop Pro, Photo Impact or Irfanview because these have tools not found in this plug-in.

- In the words of the Topaz web site: "Topaz Clarity is the modern version of the Contrast slider, with better technology and better results. It enhances local contrast, which gives your image crisp details, better tonality, and "sharper" features without losing highlights or shadows."

I can endorse its claim to eff􀁹ectiveness.

I am sometimes pushed to know whether it is better to use Topaz Adjust 5 or Topaz Clarity.

For some images I feel that I achieve even more through using Clarity.

Here is an example:

Since this is an image showing the ruins of a building I went for the Presets under the heading "Architecture".

Looking at the grid of possibilities shown in the Architecture Preset panel I didn't think any of them added to the original.

Instinctively I turned to the Landscape set, and soon chose the "colour and contrast boost" version as my starting point. You can see the split screen comparison between this and the original (on the left􀁺). The diff􀁹erence may seem small (as it should when you get it "right" in the camera), but the Clarity soft􀁺ware does make a positive di􀁹fference.

The converted version was a bit too strong for me, in terms of colour saturation, so I reduced the saturation level (using the tools available in the right-hand panel) to 60% of that in the chosen Preset. It is this ability to make your own fine adjustments that is so valuable whenever you are using presets.

The final image converted using Topaz Clarity looked like this:

Again, a quick route to the image with which I am happy.

Have a look here at detail about Topaz Clarity on the company web site.

 

Does Topaz Clarity do its job well?

In a word "Yes".

 

Is it diff􀁹icult to learn?

No, it is quite intuitive, and with a little practice you will soon master the refined changes that you can make to the image using the tool set provided.

You can go directly to the Topaz Clarity site here.

By using this site you consent to the use of cookies, some of these are third party cookies, also deployed are cross-device tracking and other tracking technologies. In addition where relevant there is some hashing and transfer of User login and other User data to Tradedoubler for cross-device tracking and personalized interest based advertising.

Cookies can be managed in your browser or device settings.

Where you see a link please assume that it is an affiliate link. By using these links you will pay nothing extra for the product, and any income generated through those links will help to cover the cost of maintaining this site. I try at all times to provide informative reviews and information about various products.The partial funding through affiliate commissions with Amazon, ShareaSale, SmugMug, TradeDoubler, Corel, Serif, 7-dayshop, Topaz, On1, Webgains, ACDSee, Calumet, CJ Affiliates, VigLink, Jessops Photo, Digital Photography School, and any other specifically named company does not in any way affect the cost of the item to you. The cost is exactly the same as if you had gone to the merchant site directly.

The reviews and recommendations are as honest as I can make them. If you buy on the basis of that review or recommendation, then do not like the goods and you return them to the vendor I receive nothing -so there is no point in providing a good review of a duff product.

 

Please examine our Privacy Policy. Acceptance of this policy is assumed from your continued use of this site.

Parts of this site are

VigLink badge