*Topaz Detail 3, my first run

TimberlinePano (1)

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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*Hallelujah!!! Apple finally supports Lumix GM1 RAW files! (as well as XE2, XT1, and others)

GM1 with green garda wrist strap

 

I may be speaking to a small audience on this one, but I cannot contain my momentary excitement, er, relief.  For those GM1 shooters who’ve been using Lightroom or ACR, DXO or Silkypix, this news will be of little consequence.  For those of us who use Apple’s Aperture, today is a good day.  FINALLY (seriously Apple, this camera was announced last Fall and has been in shooters hands for almost 5 months!) Apple has decided to properly support the .RW2 RAW files from the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1.

Along with the GM1, below are the cameras that are now supported in Apple’s most recent Digital Camera RAW Update 5.04:

  • Fujifilm X-E2
  • Fujifilm X-T1
  • Nikon D3300
  • Nikon 1 AW1
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GM1
  • Pentax K-3

If you’re a shooter with any of the above cameras, and use Aperture as your Digital Asset Management software, you can download the new version of Digital Camera RAW v5.04 – HERE or just go to your Software Update and it should be sitting there ready to go.

I will be testing the RAW files from the GM1 shortly and will have an article posted in due time.  In the mean time, if you’d like to receive that when it is posted, feel free to enter your email at the top right of the page to subscribe or find me on Facebook or Twitter.

Happy shooting,

Tyson

*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.

the trail head

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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*Holiday Topaz Super Sale!

If you’ve been waiting for a particular Topaz Plugin to go on sale, consider this…  The entire collection, like every single plugin they currently offer, is available for $199 from Friday November 29th through December 2nd.  Click here and use code “blackfriday2013″ to get every plugin for nearly half off.  In my opinion, Topaz offers four plugins that are unparalleled and a couple others that have proven to be useful and really fun.  I’ve been using, and have reviewed many of these over the years so feel free to have a read via the links below.

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

HalloweenReMask Topaz

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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*Topaz Adjust, on sale in all its popular image enhancing glory!

topaz adjust

What may be seen by many Topaz plugin users as the quintessential Topaz offering, Topaz Adjust is being offered for 50% off through the end of September.  Using coupon code “septadjust” you can get what is probably Topaz most useful and popular plugin for $24.99, or apply the same discount code from the complete collection for a $25 discount!!!  This was the very first plugin from Topaz that I ever bought, I paid full price, and I’m still thrilled with it.  I use many of the Adjust filters as layers in my imagery, and particularly to enhance my HDR interior shots that I use for my grow’d up photography (you can click the above before/after comparison to see what a single click can do).  It is extremely cheap for the power it provides.  It can be used for nice, subtle detail enhancement, full blown surreality or anything in-between.  Visit Topaz Labs website HERE to try or buy this awesome plugin.