*Helpful Topaz Workflow Suggestions

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image © Darcy from Topaz – all rights reserved, used with permission

Hi all.  Darcy from Topaz Labs was nice enough to share this simple yet remarkably helpful graphic showing us the proper order to best utilize and stage different Topaz plugins.

As many of you know, I’m a bit of a honk for the Topaz products as I really feel they offer an amazing value in the plugin universe.  I’ve fielded quite a few emails over the years asking about when is it best to implement noise reduction versus sharpening, etc and I’ve always said it is good to get your initial, simple exposure tweaks done in your host or digital asset management software (lightroom, aperture, et al) and then before altering the pixels any further, run through noise reduction before doing anything to sharpen or further define the pixels as that would also further define the noise or any artifacts, color shifts, posterization, etc.  Sharpening should be the last thing done to any image, and now we have a cool step by step in visual form.  Thanks Darcy!

Darcy has laid this out wonderfully in Topaz terms, and for those of you who’ve been getting into the Topaz plugins like myself, I’d imagine this graphic will do well to help us streamline our workflow through the various Topaz plugins.

Currently, Topaz Detail 3 is on sale for 50% off through April (click HERE and use “aprdetail” to get 50% off)!  What is normally a $40 plugin is now $20, so head over and download the free trial to give it a go.  If you like it, buy it before the end of the month to qualify for the half price license.

You can head over to Topaz Labs website to see what they offer, or below are reviews I’ve done of some more of the Topaz plugins that I use often, and love.

Topaz DeNoise 5, the best noise reduction software I’ve ever used.

Topaz Clarity, possibly my favorite enhancement plugin.

Topaz ReMask, anyone using photoshop masks should download this. Now.

Topaz Simplify, art filters with the click of a button.

Have a look, have a go, and enjoy.  Please feel free to share your results (or any imagery) with our ever growing community on Flickr HERE, and connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks and happy shooting!

Tyson

 

*Topaz Detail 3, my first run

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Hi all and welcome to a quick review on your Topaz special plugin of the month!  This month Topaz is running a special on Detail 3 for 50% off!  Normally $39.99, if you use the code “aprdetail” HERE on Topazlabs website, the price drops down to $19.99!!!

That’s all well and good, but what does Detail do?  I had not tried it until I was made aware of the sale, so here is my experience and thoughts on what I think it is best at doing.

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*Fun with soul windows. Eye retouching techniques using Photoshop.

 

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A couple years ago, I’d posted a tutorial on simple eye enhancement techniques and I wanted to revisit and build on that.  Lately, “Photoshop” has seemed to be getting absolutely bludgeoned and cast as some evil, socially destructive outcast.  Used as a verb, photoshopping has become akin to kicking a blind puppy, and then forcing it into a life of anorexia.  While I am in no way a fan of, nor support using photoshop to unnaturally build unrealistic body proportions, or overly plasticize a face to perfection, I will make the case that retouching is an art and like anything has boundaries.  If viewing retouching from a creative angle, there are things that can be a lot of fun.  If viewing retouching from a practical angle, it can be effective.  Going overboard in any direction can certainly lead to criticism, but so many forms of artistic manipulation have and will always continue to draw ire.  For this post, I want to play around with both the creative and practical angles in regards to enhancing one’s eyes in a portrait.  Thank you to my friends Mat and Heather from Mirrorlessons – Bestmirrorlesscamerareviews.com for the shot you see above.  Eyes are often a focal point in many a good portrait, so why not add a bit of punch to that focal point?  Come on in to see how I achieve this quickly and easily.  If interested, you can download these eye enhancement Photoshop actions for free…

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*Topaz DeNoise5, updated and on sale for 50% off!

Topaz DeNoise5 On Sale

Hi guys!  Your monthly Topaz deal is here!  Topaz Labs is offering up DeNoise for 50% off.  I have written up a more in depth review on DeNoise 5 before, and feel it is one of the best, and most effective plugins I use.  It’s pretty amazing to see what this software can do for your high ISO images.  Topaz is running this sale through the end of March via Topaz Labs Website HERE.  Just use the code “mardenoise” at checkout to get the discount.  C’mon in to see some before and after examples…

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*Topaz – Simplify 4, quick and easy digital painting filters with a click!

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Topaz continues to improve they’re line of valuable plugins with the new release of Simplify 4.  Currently on sale through the end of this month for $19.99 (50% off!) when using the code “febsimplify” during checkout, Simplify 4 provides a quick, easy and very controllable plugin for a variety of painting and line drawing effects.  You can see it on Topazlabs.com HERE, or come on in to see a screen shot and read my ramblings on why I think this is a pretty amazing plugin for $20.

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*Topaz Star Effects, on sale just in time for the holidays

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With the recent kitchen sink sale that Topaz had, it got me curious about some of the other plugins on offer.  I love DeNoise, Clarity and ReMask, but what about all these other cool, quirky plugins?  Topaz Star Effects allows a user controlled enhancement for any point of light in your image, and through the month of December, it is on sale at 50% off for $14.99 here at Topazlabs.com when using the code “decstar” at checkout.  Well, if you have an extra few bucks lying around, and would like to enhance any points of light in your images, check this out…

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*Alien Skin Snap Art 4, Instant digital painting effects

As seen above, Alien Skin has released Snap Art 4, featuring an example image from yours truly!  I am a big fan of the Alien Skin plugins and with this new release, they’ve continued to refine one of their most unique offerings.

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Painting has never been so easy.  With their most recent release, Alien Skin has yet again upped the ante on creative digital photography plugins.  Snap Art 4 provides many jumping off points and the final result can vary between a single click, or as much time as you’d like to throw at a painted rendition of your digital image.  The use of improved masks and even more creative controls, Snap Art 4 builds on what was already a powerful and fun tool.  C’mon in to see more examples and info…

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*Topaz ReMask 3, why have I not been using this until now!?

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Topaz is offering yet another one of their awesome plugins at a steep discount through the month of October (50% off using the code “OCTREMASK” CLICK HERE).  This time, it is ReMask, and I’m amazed that I have not used this plugin until now.  As I’m sure anyone who uses Photoshop or Elements can attest, the task of having to select and mask strands of flyaway hair, or pull a subject from a detailed background can be a bit of a pain… Worry no more, seriously, check this out:

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*The Mirrorless Diet, how to lose weight instantly! Part 3

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PART 3: Processing your shots

After applauding your choice to invest in featherweight cameras and optics that have the image quality to rival top end digital SLR’s (well, in many scenarios anyway), it all comes down to processing, and turning those files into the beautiful images you knew they’d become.  While weight is no longer a huge part of the equation, it is now time to see if we’ve compromised our ability to document our travels for posterity in all their pixel rich glory…

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*The Mirrorless Diet, how to lose weight instantly! Part 2

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PART 2: Shooting your trip

You’ve already suffered through my long winded gear explanation in the previous post about gear weight in part 1. Here are some of the images and techniques I use with the gear being utilized for each shot, laid out. The above panorama shot was a handheld series of 5 frames, shot in portrait orientation using the Canon EOS-M and 22mm f/2 lens. The third and final part in this series will focus on the actual processing of the shots and won’t really have much to do with backpacking per se, nor the weight saved, but hopefully can show that with these small cameras, image quality is not compromised.

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