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Topaz Studio

PLUGINS, CAMERA RAW CONVERTERS, NEW FILTERS – IT IS GETTING CRAZY OUT THERE!

Image of view from Edinburgh Castle, ScotlandI don’t know where everyone else is, but I am getting so totally confused about all the new software-plugin releases that have come out in recent days/weeks. I was hooked on plugins since I bought Nik Viveza at Christmas of 2009. I remember being nervous about paying so much for it, but loved it right from the beginning (and now it is free!!!). Over the years I have become totally immersed in what can be done with all the plugins available – and wish I could afford to get them all (sigh). So in this wordy blog I will try to sort this out.

As a quick example, let’s talk about Viveza 2 again. I downloaded the first beta version of Lightroom and never looked back. Lots of people said Nik Viveza was just a copy of what Lightroom (or Adobe Camera Raw)  could do for an image. Yes, it did similar things, but still was a lot different in my mind. Flash forward and I still use Viveza on nearly every post-processed photo even though we now have the somewhat similar Camera Raw Filter available in Photoshop. The point here is that yes, there is a lot of overlap between most of these programs, and yes, they do things just different enough that they all present some benefits to your post-processing workflow. It is really just personal taste in how you want to adjust your images.

So here we are now with not one, not two, but three really good updated software programs (not to mention several other newer ones on the scene) that can process Camera Raw images and do pretty much everything Lightroom/ACR does. They are now all stand-alone programs or plugins for Photoshop layers. For website links to all three programs, check out my Tidbits Blog sidebar. Using the same image of Edinburgh Castle, the top one used Luminar 2018 for Windows, and below used On1 Raw 2018 and Topaz Studio. I tried to use a fairly similar workflow doing the basic Raw editing first and then adding in filter effects. So here is my take on where we are now.

All three of the above programs are really good – I am not going to bash any of them as they all do things I totally love. Do they overlap in what they do? Somewhat, but each has a few things I wish they all could do. Of course that is what sets them apart and why it is so hard to decide which one(s) to get.

To figure out which one would fit your workflow, you need to answer a pretty simple question: What do you want to do with your image or several of your future images? Where is your interest going – do you want to go more into an artistic feel or are you just trying to get the most realistic images for your profession or travel experiences? Since I do not have a professional studio or take wedding or senior photos often, I am more inclined to really stretch what the plugins will do to give an artistic feel to an image. Now I do understand that having a few quick tricks up your sleeve for clients to give them a choice of a few really artistic images is nice to have so using special effect plugins is just fine for that.

  • Topaz Studio

First, the Topaz Studio is a free download and contains several adjustments to get your started. Your older Topaz Labs filters can be accessed in this interface so you will always have access to them. You can’t go wrong with Topaz Studio’s Impression or one of their other creative Labs programs like Topaz ReStyle or Topaz Texture Effects for the really artistic effects. Impression has given Topaz the one-up on the other programs for the artistic effects and I am sure you have read lots about it – it is one of my favorite plugins. And I have to mention this little slider that lets you stop the painting action wherever you want – great addition to the updated filter. Topaz has done a terrific job with their masking effects tools and the different masking tools work really smoothly. The biggest down side is that even though Topaz Studio platform is free, to get it to work well you need to buy their Pro Pack. Therefore it brings it in line with the other two programs as far as cost goes. The Impression filter (or Clarity, Detail, or Simplify) needs to be bought individually to add into the Studio interface. If you already own Topaz Impression (or the other filters) as a Topaz Labs filter, you are entitled to a free upgrade for Studio (forever is their policy – once a filter is bought it is upgraded for free). And please do update to the newer Topaz Studio Impression filter – it is much better than the older Impression 2. If you own many Topaz filters, they will all eventually be added into the Studio interface. I am not going to say the program does not have its problems, but I do know enough by working with them that their final product will be very good. They have a Basic Adjustment that is not as complete as the others, but with the addition of the Clarity and Detail plug-ins, and several color adjustments choices, it is fine. In the image below, just a little more work on the clouds and some color reduction would really help and can be easily fixed in the program.

Image of Edinburgh Castle, Scotland - using Topaz Studio

  • On1 Photo Raw 2018

Photo Raw is now a really good challenger to Lightroom and is definitely worth checking out if you do lots of photo shoots. I have always liked On1 but it was very computer processor intensive. Their Browse Module is now lightening fast – it makes LR look really slow. I was stunned at how fast it all happens and it appears to be picking up my keywords from LR – that was even more amazing! And my computer hardly even cared. Once an image is chosen, go into their Develop Module which sets you up with the needed filters and is very similar to LR. Besides Shadow and Highlight sliders, there is a Midtone slider which I really like. There are other similar sliders to LR and includes a Detail section and Lens Correction section. Then it is time to go into the Effects Module where they provide lots of presets and individual filter choices. A very popular filter is called Dynamic Contrast – very similar to Detail in Topaz. Also the Glow filter is to be very popular. When masking, they do have a lot of choices (including a new Chisel Brush and Blur Brush) but I found it a little harder to use than in Topaz or LR. The filter settings can be somewhat hidden which includes the  blending options, and Highlight, Midtone, and Shadow sliders so the filter is only applied to certain areas if wanted. My biggest problem with On1 is the high learning curve. I believe it is a fantastic program and technically is going to keep Adobe on their toes. But it does take time to watch the videos to understand where everything is in the interface and what all the different filters will do. I can honestly say that On1 is totally improved from previous versions and I plan on using it a lot more. In the image below, the cloud color is just not quite right to me but the foreground sharpness is incredible! The clouds can be fixed easily in the program.

Image of Edinburgh Castle, Scotland using ON1 Photo Raw 2018

  • Luminar 2018

And now to Luminar 2018 – new entry for me into the field since I am a Windows person and this was for Mac previously. The image at the top of the blog is the Luminar example – loved the cloud effect especially and the Golden Hour filter on the front of the buildings. There are other parts I love and parts I hate it! Okay – if they would have updated it to match their Mac counterpart for us Windows users, I would love it. After watching several  videos just to find out all the sliders are not there, it is a bit frustrating. I also find that the Masking Tools are harder to use than with the other programs. The Mac version has several grouped filters for different types of effects – for Raw images an Essentials group was created which contains Tone, Accent AI, Color Temp, and Polarizing Filters. In Windows there are Filters Catalog but the Essentials is not the same group. This is definitely confusing. (Thank you Serge Ramelli for the video showing this filter set up – see Luminar 2018 vs Lightroom Classic?) But I love their filters and they seem to give a slightly different feel to an image – the Sun Ray filter, the Golden House filter, an Accent AI filter – and many others. Of the 3 image results shown, I liked the results from Luminar the best. I am under the assumption Luminar will be catching up the Windows version soon so it will work just like the Mac users interface. When that occurs, I will blog on this so everyone knows.

  • Bottom Line

I do love all these programs – have used Topaz and On1 for years – in fact my second favorite plugin from years ago was On1’s Photo Frame 4.6 – the best framing plug-in ever and I was totally upset when they discontinued it. BTW they do still have some framing options, but it is not quite the same – will blog on this soon. All three of my images are not that different – just some personal preferences there. And this was basically just using the Raw processors – each program has decidedly different strengths which are not showcased in these examples. A recent post by Photoshop Guru Matt Kloskowski called Is There a Lightroom Replacement explains in more detail about the browser and Raw converter issues – a good read. And check out my Related Blogs below for some other examples of what these programs can do.

As you can see things are changing as we come into a faster and more efficient software era. We have to say good-bye to some of the ways we used to post-process and attempt to figure out what to do with all the “Raw Converters!” – and what do we need from a filter program. I think so much of what you choose has to be based on just trying out the software now and seeing what works. Like I said, I am pleased, I am frustrated, and I am amazed at some of the filters I am now seeing. All three of these plug-ins are seasoned software companies and know what they are doing. Apparently Nik has been bought from Google recently by DxO and will be coming out this Spring with some updates. So there will be a new-old kid in town to really spice things up. Will I use their Raw converters for my work? Probably not so much – still a LR person at this point. Will I use their Special Effects filters? Totally!!! Hope this helped a little if you are as confused as me. I will continue updating you on all the new things coming out with these plug-ins but in the meantime, just try them out. It is amazing what some of the new filters are doing and it may fit just what you need for creating a new type of post-processing effect. In the meantime, Happy Black Friday if you are in the US and good luck finding some great PS finds!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Macphun Luminar 2018 Sun Rays at a Glance
Now Available – Free Beta Version of Macphun’s Luminar for Windows
Introducing the Free Topaz Studio
Updated Impression Now in Topaz Studio
Updated Clarity Now in Topaz Studio
How to Add a Simple Glow Effect to Your Image
A Beautiful View
My Favorite Photo Frame Plug-In – OnOne PhotoFrames (hum!) – just a little nostalgia here

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HOW TO DO A BLACK & WHITE GRADIENT MAP CONVERSION

The Royal Horseguards Hotel in LondonThis week just another simple technique learned mainly from Blake Rudis on how to create a pretty nice quick black and white image. The rather low key above image is of the Royal Horseguards Hotel, also known as Whitehall, in London taken from the London Eye. I think it has a bit of a Halloween feel to it. It is a good example of using the Gradient Map Adjustment Layer to convert to a black and white photo.

I am sure most of you have heard that a black and white Gradient Map will create a pretty nice black and white image without doing much else. This effect can be improved by using a couple little tricks. Blake Rudis presented the following technique in a recent Creative Live presentation called Post-Processing Workflow for Portraits and Landscapes. To get a good black and white conversion, a good color image is first needed so this is the first step for getting a good result. To create a black and white image, first set set swatches to the default settings of black for foreground and white for background  – then clicking on the Gradient Map Adjustment Layer. Often a very nice black and white image usually occurs and many people just use this. For this image, a really almost black blue tone was used instead of the black color by editing the Gradient in the Gradient Editor (click on strip to get editor). Blake’s tip is to add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer underneath the Gradient Map Adjustment Layer. By adjusting the Hue, Saturation and Lightness sliders, a better range of tones can be achieved. By clicking in the image using the Targeted Adjustment Tool in the upper left of panel,  individual colors can be adjusted without changing the sliders manually. The bottom strips under the sliders are color range limiting bars (drag the outer triangles together or stretch them apart) and can be adjusted to get some more variation in tonal range. He also suggested trying a Selective Color Adjustment Layer or Black and White Adjustment Layer instead of the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer. I found this whole concept to be very flexible and it makes the Gradient Map Adjustment Layer a much better tool for converting to black and white. The image above got the amazing detail by using Topaz (for website see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) Studio with the Detail plug-in. Then the Gradient Map Adjustment Layer was used for the black and white conversion, and finally a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was added underneath to get the great contrast. If the Gradient Map Adjustment Layer is turned off, a really weird colorized image appears. It is amazing that this works! The last step was adding a slight color effect using the Camera Raw filter’s Split Toning settings of Highlights 194, Saturation 15, Balance -10, Shadows Hue 234, and Saturation 17 – the layer opacity was changed to 62% for the cooler tint.

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Image of a Malayan Tiger at the Jacksonville ZooThe above is one of my tiger images taken at the Jacksonville Zoo a while back. First added one of my colorful painted textures placed above the tiger layer and in a mask, the tiger was painted back. After a little clean up, a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer was added on top and a Black and White Adjustment layer was placed underneath it. The Blue Filter was selected in the Preset drop-down to bring out more detail in the tiger. The sliders were adjusted to get just the right contrast. Then several Curves Adjustment Layers were used to target different parts of the image to get the correct effect. Most of the time the last step in black and white images should be adding the tint. The tiger image used a nice subtle warm tint provided by Glyn Dewis for his lion image from a really good video called Take a Picture from Good to Great in 5 Steps. It was set up in Camera Raw as a Split Toning preset: Highlights Hue 23/Saturation 6 and Shadow Hue 41 and Saturation 6. In this case the last step involved adding a slight vignette to the image. (See my Yet Another Great Way to Create a Vignette! blog.)

Well that is it for this week. Enjoy this beautiful fall weather we are having!…..Digital Lady Syd


YET ANOTHER GREAT WAY TO CREATE A VIGNETTE!

Image of a bunch of small pink flowersThis week I am just presenting a simple vignette technique – I have to admit I am always looking for the best and easiest way to create one. Blake Rudis, one of the best Photoshop gurus around, used this technique recently in a video – he always comes up with really original ways to use Photoshop and this simple vignette technique is one of them. Here is the video link called How to Make a Gradient Vignette in Photoshop.

To sum up the steps to what is happening, set the Foreground/Background swatches to black and white, then add a Gradient Fill Adjustment Layer, set the Style to Radial and check the Reverse box. A gradient must be created once to do this technique quickly so double click on the gradient strip in the dialog box. In the Gradient Editor dialog, on the top edge of the strip, drag the left tab right to Location 68. On the lower edge, move the left black tab all the way over next to the black right tab. Click the New button and name the gradient (mine is named BRudis Vignette) and it saves at the bottom of the Presets list. Click OK to return to the Gradient Fill dialog, adjust the opening size by setting the Scale to 700 to over 800%. By dragging the cursor in the image (it turns into the Move Tool), the vignette can be moved around. Just for your information, before adding the vignette the image was duplicated and taken into Topaz (see website on sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) Studio – used my uploaded to the Community SJ Small Flower preset which contains the Impression Adjustment for the painterly effect. In Photoshop the layer was set to just 42%. A layer above was set to Overlay and with  a large soft brush set to a really light yellow, the flowers in the center were painted in to lighten up the focal point – then the layer was set to 77% layer opacity. As a last step the Gradient Fill Adjustment Layer vignette was placed on top at 72% layer opacity.

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Image taken at Hilton Waikoloa VillageThis Hilton Waikoloa Village image used the same type of vignette – I created a little action to add it onto the image. (Basically two steps: first add a Gradient Fill Adjustment Layer to image, and second go into the Gradient Fill dialog and check Reverse, Radial and a large scale like 750%, then go into the Gradient Editor by clicking on the gradient strip and choose the new gradient preset, and OK twice.) This vignette creates a very simple and subtle effect. Also try changing the blend modes, using Blend If tabs in the Layer Style Dialog Box, or painting out other areas in the layer mask. For the above the adjustment layer was set to Soft Light blend mode at 53% layer opacity. The image was also first post-processed in Topaz Studio using Precision Contrast, Blurs, Focal Blur, and Color Theme Adjustments.

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Image taken from the London Eye
A colored vignette can get a different look to the image. The London Eye image used a soft brown-colored vignette effect. To change the vignette color, apply the BRudis Vignette gradient.  In the gradient strip click on the bottom left tab and in the color field, change the color – it changes on the fly as you sample in the image or try a different color. The landscape was set to a Scale of 1000% do to the large width of the image, Soft Light blend mode, and layer opacity of 85%. Topaz Studio was used with my posted preset called SJ Building Sharp applied.

I am finding this is a very fast and natural way to add a vignette. A while back Matt Kloskowski had a great way of creating a vignette that I presented in my How to Create a Subtle Vignette blog. I find I use them both – sometimes one looks better than the other. Most of the plug-ins have very nice vignette presets. Another quick vignette can be made from a Curves Adjustment Layer (by dropping the right top point down the side and then painting in the layer mask with a soft black brush). Overall this technique by Blake is probably the fastest and easiest to use quickly, especially if the action is created . Well that’s it for this week – have a good one!…..Digital Lady Syd


COLORIZING NASA PHOTOS USING TOPAZ STUDIO (AND CHECK OUT UPDATED DETAIL)

Image of Saturn's Rings from Cassini Mission
This beautiful image was originally a black and white taken on one of the last days of the NASA Cassini-Huygens Mission using its Wide Angle Lens. The Moon Tethys is in the upper left background. My original thought was to just try painting different colors into the rings to get an unnatural but pretty color effect. To my surprise, Topaz Studio using both Clarity and the new Detail adjustments were a quick answer to get the beautiful result.

Here is the workflow followed to get the above results:

  1. First downloaded the image from the NASA Cassini-Huygens Mission site – scroll halfway down to find image pia21342-1041 where both tiff and jpeg files can be downloaded. The image above used the tiff file, but the jpeg file worked out pretty good even though it had such a small resolution. (The bottom image of Mimas was two jpeg files that were 59 and 67 KB.)
  2. Open in Photoshop and go to Image -> Mode -> Grayscale and change image to RGB.
  3. Go to the Image -> Image Size – set resolution to 300 by unchecking the Resample box, enter 300, and recheck (the jpeg file is at 72 ppi but the tiff file is 300). Can now go in and change size in inches and set to Preserve Details (enlargement) in drop-down menu if needed. Can also Reduce Noise if noticeable at this point.
  4. Duplicate image and open Topaz Studio – apply my SJ Saturn Rings. The preset has been uploaded to the Topaz Community. The colors were set in the Color Theme Adjustment so the colors in the rings can be changed to any colors wanted by just clicking on each square in the New Color Theme settings swatches and selecting new colors.
  5. Added a Green Luminosity Curves Adjustment Layer to increase the contrast just in the green channel. (Same technique as using a Red Luminosity Curves Adjustment Layer – see my How to Use a Red Channel to Crete a Nice Blended Image Effect blog.)
  6. Since Detail was just added to Studio, a composite image (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) was created above and went back to Topaz Studio -> Detail. Since I am having trouble with my presets and am working with the Tech Team, the settings are just listed here (Detail in TSO – Overall-Overall Small Detail 0.34, Small Detail Boost 0.67, Medium Detail 0.51, Medium Detail Boost 0.31, Large Detail 0.53, and Large Detail Boost 0.31, Lighting Midtones 0.29 and Highlights 0.63. In layer mask painted out the rings and left the background dark to keep noise under control – used brush set to Mask Transparency 0.80. Channel Mixer Adjustment – Adjusted Lightness Channel-Red 1.73, Green -0.23, and Blue 0.34, then painted out background so only just the rings received the effect). Back in PS the layer was set back to 80%.

That is all that was done to this image. It was a lot of fun and I love the results, even though the rings are not quite those colors. The point is that it took only a few minutes to do this image – no hand painting – it just picked up the colors. The Color Theme Adjustment did most of the color work and then Detail’s new Color Mixer Adjustment tweaked it a bit.

NASA image of Saturn's Moon MimasThis updated Detail is much like the updated Clarity as it is also divided into two adjustments: Precision Detail and Color Mixer. Since it just came out, I do not have much experience working with all the sliders – the Channel Mixer Adjustment appears quite different from the original Topaz Detail 3 interface. But I am enjoying having the sliders available for quick use when needed. Here is a quick reminder of what some of the sliders do in the new Precision Detail Adjustment:

Small Details – Affects visibility of fine details in image

Small Boost – Weakens or strengthens the smaller details

Medium Details and Medium Boost – Affects visibility of the medium details with Boost weakening or strengthening the effect

Large Details and Large Boost – Adjusts visibility of the large details with Boost weakening or strengthening the effect

Sharpen – a new slider added – it does seem to add in more detail.

There is a new section called Lighting which contains sliders for Midtones, Shadows, Highlights, Black Point and White Point – same sliders from Detail 3 except the Midtones slider has been added and the Exposure and Contrast sliders are now removed.

The Channel Mixer Adjustment was also added to complete the update of the old Detail 3. It contains a totally new interface from the original Tone section that contained Cyan-Red, Magenta-Green, and Yellow-Blue sliders – these correspond to the Red, Green and Blue channels in this adjustment. There is also a Gray swatch which represents the Lightness of the image. I need to find out more on these sliders, but each have Red, Green, Blue, and Constant sliders. In the Adjustment Preset drop-down, there are several presets (Cloudy Evening, Faux Infrared Landscape, Red Contrast, and Red Green Switch) that can be tried out to see what happens with these sliders. A Maintain Brightness and Monochrome toggle switches were also added. Lot to explore here.

The image above is a composite of an upper and lower level NASA images taken in March 2017 from the same site. Topaz ReStyle was used to introduce the color palette. Topaz Studio’s Precision Detail Adjustment, Color Theme Adjustment, and Impression Adjustment were all used to get this almost poster like effect. For the Precision Detail Adjustment, a layer mask was opened and Luma was selected so just the moon was selected and the background was black – Luminosity slider 0.11 and Range 0.01. In PS Saturn was added in on separate layers with some brushes I had created a long time ago. On a final stamped layer on top, Nik Viveza 2 was used to soften the rough edges between the sharp shadow lines of the moon.

A couple of things I noticed – it appears that they are removing the older versions of the plug-ins in the Plug-ins drop-down and just adding them into the Studio Adjustment lists. Am checking on this as I would like to have the old ones still available. Also, there appears to be the original category preset choices on the left side that correspond to the plug-in being used by clicking on the drop-down menu under the Search field.

Try downloading some of the wonderful imagery from NASA and see if you can create a magical feel. Just remember all the beautiful Hubble images were originally black and white images and the colorization used is similar to what was created in this blog. Hope you have a wonderful weekend…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:

Updated Impression Now in Topaz Studio
Updated Clarity Now in Topaz Studio
Introducing the Free Topaz Studio
Flowers Enjoying a Planetary Twilight Sky


UPDATED IMPRESSION NOW IN TOPAZ STUDIO

Image of a little pink Vinca flowerHere is a quick blog on another big update to Topaz Studio. This time the program now includes an Adjustment Panel for Impression. The interface is very similar to what is in the older Topaz Labs Impression2. It actually is easier to understand compared to the Clarity update (see my Updated Clarity Now in Topaz Studio blog for more on this) which included two adjustment panels working together. And the same great Topaz policy stands so if you already own Impression, it will be updated for free. As I said in the Clarity blog, before going any further, please be aware that Topaz is not going to update the actual Topaz Labs version if you own it. Instead it will be updated in Studio (to download go to my Tidbits Blog sidebar and for more info check out my see my Introducing the Free Topaz Studio blog) before adding the Impression update. If you have Studio already running, just go to the website to find the Impression update by clicking this link.

The new Impression update will now be linked as Impression in Topaz Studio (Filters -> Topaz Studio -> Impression) instead of in the regular Topaz Labs individual plug-ins in Photoshop. By selecting Impression, an interface very similar to Topaz Studio will appear but only the Impression presets will be shown on the left side. By using the Studio interface, each adjustment (including the Impression Adjustment) can be masked, different blend modes applied, and opacity adjusted. So there really is a major benefit to using the upgraded version in Impression for Studio. Below are the major changes that have been implemented to the plug-in:

  • The addition of a Painting Progress Timeline slider which “…allows you to move forward and backwards through the development of the Impression effect added to your image.” Using it will give some very different effects from what the full application of the paint strokes creates.
  • Increased the resolution of any image larger than 2k.
  • Increased detail in every brush stroke. Must compare with the Topaz Labs version to actually see this difference.

Just like with Clarity for Topaz Studio, Impression can be opened from the the blue Adjustments button, the Adjustments menu in the top bar, or from the Specialty section in the pop-out on the left side of the interface  – down at the bottom Impression will be listed along with the new updated Clarity if you own it also. I know some people are enjoying have the presets all in one place, but I am still having problems with organizing My Effects presets so I can tell which ones go with which adjustment. By clicking on the three bars at the bottom of the preset and selecting Edit, the name can be changed so I am now adding a TI to all my Impression presets and TC for my Clarity presets.

For those who have forgotten what all the Impression Stroke sliders do, or if you are new to the plug-in, here is a quick reminder:

Brush Size – Very small size protects the detail in image; large size blends detail so less noticeable and more painterly.

Paint Volume – Individual strokes show highlights and shadows; increase size for an Impasto look.

Paint Opacity – Transparency of the strokes (more background comes through).

Stroke Rotation – This slider adds variation to each stroke and when combined with Stroke Color Variation some very interesting texture results can occur.

Stroke Color Variation – This introduces different shades of color in image – the color changes drastically when set really high.

Stroke Width – Set to 1.00 the stroke is scribbly and -1.00 very realistic.

Stroke Length – The large the amount, the longer the stroke.

Spill – Use to make edges of edges more painterly – set to 1.00 and the paint spills over edges as an outline.

Smudge – Burs and smooth edges of strokes – set to 1.00 and it looks like PS Oil Paint Filter.

Coverage – How far the medium is spread across the surface – when set low the background shows through.

Coverage Transition – Only appears if Coverage is used – set to a lower amount and it becomes a white vignette.

Painting Progress – The new slider that can be reduced to take the actual stroke layout to an earlier stage. Really fun slider to use.

Remember that to add a Vignette to an image, in the Lighting section move the Vignette slider and more slider appear to further add alter the effect. Since Topaz Studio does not support Photoshop Smart Objects, there is now a .tsp file format that will save the settings used in the layer so you can go back and see what was done to the layer – just go to File -> Save and in the drop-down name and save as a .tsp. This will save the layer even when opened as a plug-in in Photoshop – just click OK as before to apply the layer.

The image above is a pink Vinca flower where Impression for Topaz Studio was used on two different layers. Each time the default settings were used and the mask was opened and different areas were painted out. It can be added into the same image as many times as you want with different preset effects or settings – or the same! Then individual adjustment masks can be opened and the actual effect can be localized to a certain part of the image just like individual layer masks work work in Photoshop. This image used the Painting Progress slider set to 0.71 for the first use of the adjustment. After the Impression Adjustments, a Texture Adjustment not in the Impression panel was added where one of my textures was used to give the more Impasto effect – just painted out the flower and foreground leaves to soften this effect. Last step was to add a Dual Tone Adjustment to really bring out the highlights on the flower.
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Image of a Zebra Longwing Butterfly in a Bottle Brush PlantIn this image of the Zebra Longwing Butterfly, Topaz Studio’s Impression Adjustment was applied twice on two different PS layers. One used my charcoal presets with the Paint Progress set to 0.43, and the second started with the default settings where a little more color was added using the Impression Adjustment.

I am really enjoying the flexibility the plug-ins now have. It is much easier to apply the different plug-ins in one place and use the effects together. Topaz is still hard at work adding more of their plug-ins into the interface, so be on the look out for another one to be added soon. In the meantime, try adding in Impression into Topaz Studio and try it out if you do not already own it. I think it is one of their best plug-ins!…..Digital Lady Syd