Topaz Labs provided us with software for processing our images on our Route 66 Tour. My hope was to process these images as we went along, however I didn’t realize how little time we would have. We rushed to finish in 30 days.
As a result we will post images as we process them. I guess this is truly post processing. (Oh… the puns will roll.)
Topaz provides a suite of plug-ins. They have names like Clarity, Impression, Glow, etc. Clarity is basically your color, contrast and value settings.
Here is a before and after using Clarity…
Topaz Clarity comes with several presets that you can mouse-over to preview the effect. You can also make your own adjustments and save them as presets.
The companion to Clarity is Detail. If you bring out the colors and contrast, you next want to bring out the details. Detail is Topaz’ sharpening tool. It does a fantastic job. Before getting TopazDetail I would hear other professional photographers talk about it and I would think… why can’t you do that in ____ ?
My experience with Topaz Detail thus far has been it is cleaner and leaves fewer digital artifacts and ghosting around the edges. Here’s an extreme example, yet it is very good.
Glow is an interesting plug in. It works on the edges of objects inside the image. For example, where the sky meets a building would be an edge. As a result, soft edges, like clouds get an interesting halo effect, while hard edges remain hard and sharp.
While there is banding in the sky, that’s to be expected with an effect like this. The above image probably wouldn’t score an 80 at IPC because of the banding, but it might be a start for an artistic rendition.
Above is what the out-of-the-camera image looks like.
While I haven’t reviewed every Topaz plugin (and I’m not finished either), they are fun to use. Just mousing over the presets gives you ideas.
I’m not a big fan of push-a-button results. Why? Because anybody can do that, however, using push button plug ins are a good augmentation to your tools I can easily see using these as part of an artistic workflow.
In addition, I can see using these with prudence to produce stunning results. Detail and Clarity are two, if used correctly, can bring an image in to amazing color and clarity. Over use them, however, and you can ruin an image.