Topaz continues to provide fun, intuitive and effective plugins with their most recent release, Topaz Texture Effects. On sale via Topaz Labs website HERE for 30% off (normally $69.99, on sale through November 20th for $49.99 when you use code “TEXTUREFX” at checkout), as is often Topaz’ MO for new releases. Come on in to read my thoughts, and to see more…
I always feel the best way to determine if a plugin is right for you, is to download a free trial, which you can do HERE via the Topaz Labs website. The free trial is fully functional, and allows you to get a feel for it before deciding to buy. If you choose not to, you can let the trial expire, and remove it from your plugin folder, or if you do choose to buy it, all you’ll need to do is enter the activation code you receive when you purchase the license. If you do this before November 20th (next Friday) you’ll get it at the introductory, discounted price.
Alright, let’s have a look at Texture Effects.
What is Texture Effects? Well, as the name suggests, it supplies a series of preset textures which can be applied to your image, and then refined. On top of that, you’re able to selectively adjust your image through a variety of customizable, user added adjustments. Topaz includes 275+, large textures (5000 x 5000 px) with the program, which is plenty large enough to completely cover most any full sized file, and will adjust to suit the size otherwise. The ability to add textures is also included.
If working from Photoshop, I always like to duplicate my background, or merged layer which I then run my Topaz filter on. This allows me to further mask, and blend when back in PS, but if using the standalone, or using through Lightroom, don’t worry, Topaz Texture Effects has you covered on the blending and masking fronts.
In my opinion, Texture Effects is the most beautifully laid out interface that Topaz has yet created. Starting with presets along the right hand side, but adding a fun new view via the “Browse” button which will pull up all filters in an easy to see, preset visual layout (above), along with user downloadable options.
After selecting your preset, clicking on the filter will bring up all of the adjustments that are preached into that particular filter. The cool thing here is that each preset has some adjustments added, but you can remove, add (via the + Add Adjustment), layer and change as many adjustments as you’d like by clicking the downward arrow and playing with the sliders.
Each of the drop down adjustment menus have their own set of sliders, and include an opacity slider to control that specific grouping which is wonderful. This further allows fine tuning and where most software effect plugins allow the effect’s opacity to be adjusted universally for the effect, Topaz Texture Effects allows control of the opacity for each select adjustment within the effect, and that is a very cool addition for Texture Effects.
If you want to entirely disable a particular adjustment, just click on the eyeball which will hide it, and if saved while hidden, will not be applied.
In the Texture adjustment dropdown, you can select a preset texture from texture groups. You can move, invert, flip and resize the texture as well as control its blending mode (a’la Photoshop layers!). What is even cooler, is that you can mask out the effect within each of the drop downs… Seriously, selective and customizable masking within each adjustment panel. That’s pretty cool, and a feature I’ve not seen built into any plugin I’ve yet used to this extent.
They continue to refine the UI, and while there are slight visual differences to other popular Topaz plugins as far as the workspace and UI, it still has the same, basic, intuitive layout with the software walking you through your steps in a similar fashion to the way we process images in most all DAM software, moving through adjustments down the right hand side.
So, why Topaz Texture Effects? I’ve heard photographers dismiss image manipulation that may attempt to recreate effects like texture overlays or light leaks, asking why you’d want to do that to a beautiful, high resolution image file. Fair question, certainly. My response has always been, because I can. The beauty of digital imaging is that we have a file that we can apply an innumerable amount of adjustments and effects to, over a variety of versions of the same image. Often times, digital effects add a graphic element that aids the final image in a variety of ways, from commercial viability, to pure, plain old fun. I always have my original image file that stays untouched whenever I want to do something else to it. I find that to be an amazing part of our digital reality, and one that I thoroughly enjoy playing around with.
Here are a couple more before/afters, having played around inside Texture Effects for a few minutes each.
If interested in Texture Effects, check the listed system compatibility. If you have a semi-modern machine running an operating system that was created in the last 5-10 years, or have been digitally photographing and storing images on your computer over the last decade, you’re probably okay. Still, always good to double check:
Photoshop CS4+, Photoshop CC, Photoshop Elements 6+,
Paintshop Pro X, Serif PhotoPlus X5+, Lightroom
*Not compatible with Fusion Express
Mac OSX 10.8+
Windows 7/8/10 x 64bit + OpenGL 3.2
*Does not support Windows 32bit
Have a look, and give the free trial a go. I am seeing this as a great compliment to Topaz Clarity, myself and I like the idea of adding texture after creating some pop.
You can download the free trial, or purchase Topaz Texture Effects, on sale via the Topaz Labs website HERE through November 20th for $49.99, normally $69.99 when you use code “TEXTUREFX” at checkout.
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