Topaz Labs is an industry leader in post-processing plug-ins and tools for the photographer who expects more from their imagery. Their tools are some of the most advanced in the market, yet their continued focus on delivering products that balance both incredible power with intuitive user interfaces is one of the key factors that sets them apart. Today we’re going to take a close look at one of their most popular premiere plug-ins, Topaz Adjust. Algorithms like their adaptive exposure and color control enhance the image being worked on to bring out previously hidden details in shadows and highlights, producing consistently amazing results in a very short time.
Topaz Adjust Review
In today’s review, we’re going to take a close look at three images produced using only Topaz Adjust. We’ll show you our desktop and workflow so you can see the settings we applied in the various sliders to produce the sample images.
Let’s start by discussing a few key features and their application. Effect stacking and the local adjustment brush allow you to exercise fine control over how and where the effects are applied. For example, you can make a global series of adjustments that affect the entire image, apply those changes, and then apply specific adjustments to local areas. This completely dynamic workflow allows you to make as few or as many adjustments as you like, ultimately creating the precise image you were going for. And if at any time you get lost you can reach for one of the many built-in presets that deliver instant satisfaction, or provides the perfect base from which to begin your custom adjustments.
The Old Wood Church
Our first sample image is one that features an old wood church we found on Vancouver Island. It was a drab, dark day and that created a distinctive ambiance and muted the colors.
This is a very flat image right out of the box. We find no real definition or dimension to the picture, although it does exhibit some good qualities that just need to be brought out to make it come alive.
For this image, we made adjustments in the Adaptive Exposure, Details, Color and Noise panels to bring out the details in the textures of the century old wood.
With the above settings applied, the final image benefited from the adjustments, bringing out all the inherent character of the building.
The strong contrast and moody feel from the sky really comes alive here. The church becomes the primary subject in the image, and the lush green forests of Vancouver Island add context. Even though we tend to mostly work in HDR, this single frame tells the story of the church in a perfect way.
After all that work, its high time for a refreshment. Let’s head out to one of the oldest pubs on the west coast of Canada in our second sample image where we get to explore the old character architecture that makes this place so special, taking in the welcoming entrance and some of the details that surround it.
The summer’s day we visited here was producing harsh shadows and contrasts. Great colors were to be found everywhere in the signs and flowers that decorated the entrance, yet the incredibly bright sunlight was hiding details.
A few tweaks were all that was needed to create a natural feeling image full of dimension and depth. In this picture we applied Adaptive Exposure, Details and Color adjustments, creating an image that still feels natural yet explores the great details and colors.
With the above adjustments made, our final image created a subtle result, one that showcased the great textures found at the old pub.
In our finished product, the details in the stained glass border that runs above the peaked doorway and the colors in the signs and other features now stand out. With the facade exposed to the shady side of the building, the ability to pull out some of the finer details in this section of the image was really terrific.
Our last image in today’s review takes us to one of our heritage sites here on Vancouver Island, Hatley Park National Historic Site. Once again we find ourselves visiting on a bright summers day with harsh light and deep shadows. These are typically difficult elements to deal with in photography, and we’ll show you how with Topaz Adjust we can not only overcome these issues, we can actually use them to our advantage to create incredible imagery.
Deep shadows hide some details and the bright light from summers sun pushes the highlights to the limit here. For this picture, we used Adaptive Exposure, Details, Color and Noise adjustments, and finished it off with a delicate vignette to draw the viewer’s eye into the heart of the frame to focus on the prime subject; that incredible castle.
With all our adjustments now made, it’s time to reveal the final results and see how it all comes together.
In the final image, the incredible stonework that went into the design and construction of this iconic castle are totally accented. The colors in the surrounding forests and the deep blue sky help to create the feel of the picture here, one that is quintessentially west coast and Vancouver Island.
The Power Of The Tools
As we’ve demonstrated here, the depth and capabilities of the Topaz Adjust plug-in are really astounding. We’re easily able to pull out some of the dynamic range that was hidden in the picture, creating a more photo-realistic image yet still maintaining the standards set by fine art photography. The HDR workflow we typically use here at The Hollow is very time-consuming and with Topaz Adjust we’re able to use a single frame to find the dynamic range, color depth, details and textures that make our images pop, in a very short amount of time. For many applications, this one plug-in is all you need.
Topaz Labs is world-famous for their level of customer support. You can download and try out for 30 days any of their products, allowing you to really explore them before making that final decision. Topaz also has tutorials, webinars and feature blog posts listed on their site to teach you how to use the plug-in. All these elements come together to deliver a no-risk purchase paradigm for the photographer who expects more from their software budget.
Topaz Adjust On Sale!
We understand that Topaz Adjust is one of Topaz’s most popular plug-ins, and as such it doesn’t go on sale all that often. The regular retail price is a great value for $49.99, delivering a software tool with unparalleled depth. So when we heard of the September sale for Adjust, we were thrilled to share the news with everyone! Between September 9th and September 30th, 2013, you can save 50% off by using the coupon code “septadjust” at checkout, making this an obvious choice for only $24.99! Check it out for yourself and take advantage of these incredible savings today!