Gigapixel from Topaz is an image enlarger. The hype on the website says it uses machine learning to create more detailed enhancements. The website also shows lots of comparisons between Photoshop and Gigapixel. I was intrigued but at the same time very sceptical of the claims, so I decided to try it out on some of my images. You can see one of these in the video below which I just published on my YouTube Channel.
If you decide to try Gigapixel (and I strongly recommend you try it before buying), please use the link on this page. It’s an affiliate link which helps me cover the costs of running the Lenscraft website, this blog and producing YouTube videos, but it doesn’t cost you any more.
Friday Image No.219
This week’s image is another from my recent trip to the Highlands of Scotland. If you subscribe to the Light and Landscape free magazine (it really is excellent) you may already have seen this in my interview.
The image is a great example of matching the content to the
conditions. The conditions at the time were surprisingly calm and the loch
which was usually very choppy became like glass. There was also a thick blue
haze in the air which tended to fade the distant hills. This allowed me to
throw more emphasis onto the island and its reflection.
I captured the image using a Fuji X-T3 camera and a Fuji 18-55 kit lens. I mounted the camera on a tripod, and I set the ISO to 80 and aperture to f/14.0. This was to slow the shutter to 1/6” so that the surface of the loche was smoothed a little and the reflection became more broken by the ripples. I tried other speeds, but they didn’t work as well as this. A Kase 0.9 Soft ND grad was used over the sky to help balance the exposure.
Iridient X-Transformer was used to convert the RAW file to
the DNG format before processing with Adobe Lightroom. The colour image was
then processed to black and white using Nik Silver Efex Pro.
For members of my Lenscraft website, the latest newsletter goes out on the 4th May. It’s also published on the Lenscraft Newsletter page on the 4th May.
I hope you like the Friday image and have a great weekend.
Before I went to Italy for a couple of weeks, I started experimenting with Luminar 2018 from Skylum. Now I’m back I have been looking at the software more and I’m even more impressed with the results I’m getting. Looking back to the earlier versions of Luminar this wasn’t the case, but they have improved the software significantly.
I now see myself working more with Luminar, On1 and Alien Skin in the future (as well as some Topaz tools). This is especially true now the future of Nik is uncertain once more, with DxO Labs in financial difficulties.
Anyway, I wanted to return to some images from the end of last year to see how they could be improved with Luminar. The one at the top of this post is an example of one that I initially passed over. After a little work in Luminar it seems to have an appeal and has retained a natural look.
I just love learning and working with new software.
Have a great weekend.
(This page contains some affiliate links. If you buy any of the software following these links, I earn a small commission but it doesn't cost you anything extra. This helps me continue publishing free photography resources.)
Yesterday was a trip into Manchester to shoot some interesting architecture. It was a great day out even though one of the best locations was indoors. I have a few shots from the day that I will be sharing but this one was early on. It’s from inside John Rylands library who are quite happy for you to take photographs providing you keep out of people way – full credit to them. If you’re ever in Manchester, it’s a great place to visit.
I have shot this staircase in the library several times, but I wanted to try it with the Fuji X-T2. Previously I have only used either a compact or Micro 43 camera. The Fuji handles the noise very well and 10-24 lens allowed for a great perspective.
I hope you like the shot and have a great weekend.
I’m very pleased to be able to announce that my latest book “From Photography to Art with Topaz Texture Effects” has now been published and is available on Amazon. The book covers in detail how to use the Texture Effects software and provides two full length examples for you to follow. In common with my other books you are able to download the starting images for these examples so that you can follow the examples on your own computer.
In addition to the descriptions and examples, the book provides a number of more creative ideas for using the software. For example, did you know that you can use the software to create new Borders and Textures. This information hasn’t been previously shared and isn’t even available on the Topaz website.
If you don’t already have the Texture Effects software, you can use the 30-day demo with the book (available from the Topaz website). The book also includes a 15% discount code should you later decide to make a purchase.
You can find the book using the links below or search for the title on your local amazon store.
I have just received word that Topaz are launching a new version of their DeNoise software tomorrow. As an existing user I receive a free upgrade and wish more software companies would follow this model. If you don’t own the software its priced at $79.99 but if you use the discount coupon code “NOISEFREE” when checking out the price is reduced to $49.99 until the 20/03.
You can use this link to reach the product page of the Topaz Web Site.
I have been playing around a little with a Beta version and I’m quite impressed. Take a look at the following comparison – be sure to click the image to see the enlargement. This is a section of an image viewed at 100% magnification and was shot with a Sony RX10 at ISO640. The top image is unfiltered whilst the lower one has been processed using DeNoise.
I’m going to investigate this further once the full version is out tomorrow.
I have just received word that Topaz are running a 40% discount on their popular Topaz Adjust software starting 16th July and running through to the end of the month. The discount code for anyone who is interested is JULYADJUST.
This brings the price down to $29.99 which is an absolute bargain if you don’t already have the software. It provides a great set of all round adjustments for the photographer and I have been a long time user. I really like the Topaz policy of upgrades for life and think this is the right way to treat the customer.
I thought I would share the above image which was processed using Adjust. The original image of the volcano, although shot near to sunset was lacking the contrast and colours that I remembered. You can see this below although do keep in mind that the image is exposed to the right.
A few posts back I mentioned a new noise reduction program I had been using with my GX1 images. The program was Topaz DeNoise and I had a 30 day free trial. Well I’m happy to give an update and I will start by saying I purchased the full edition.
After the blog I got down to the serious business of trying out quite a few noise reduction products. These ranged from OK to quite good but DeNoise was the best for my needs. I must admit that if I was judging this purely on how effectively some of the products removed noise, there were a couple of programs that seemed to match the performance. Unfortunately these were devilishly complicated to use.
The problem most of the programs seemed to suffer is that they had too many tabs and sliders to be adjusted. First I would need to select the range of noise e.g. high frequency, medium frequency etc then I would select the level of reduction for both luminance and colour noise. In addition to this I could target tones (highlights, mid tone and shadows) as well as different colours. Often there were a number of other controls I also needed to play with. These solutions to me are not lightweight and usually left me wondering if I had made the best selection I could. I also wasted a lot of time cycling through all the options trying to perfect the noise reduction.
What I really like about DeNoise is that it’s very quick to use as well as being very effective. Firstly I set the level of noise reduction whilst viewing a mid-tone area of the image. I then look at a shadow area and use a shadow slider to increase or decrease the level of noise reduction in these areas. Next I check the highlights and use the highlights slider to make any further adjustment.
Once I am happy with the noise in these areas I can apply additional colour cleaning noise with another slider as well as using two more adjustment sliders to affect the red or blue channel. What’s great about these sliders is that they all work together. The first slider is enough to achieve good results but the other sliders allow you to fine tune and target the effect.
Once you have applied your noise reduction you might find you have impacted some of the very fine detail. To counter this there is a “Recover Detail” slider which is quite effective. There is also a De-Blur slider which I never fail to be impressed by. This is something that I first came across in the Topaz Detail plug-in and it reduces typical lens blur introduced by camera optics and anti-alias filter. Even with top quality optics and perfect technique, this slider can make a difference. There are a few other sliders to help you really get superb results but this blog was not intended as a product review.
This is a very impressive package that it incredibly easy to use and achieve superb results. Even shooting at the best ISO possible with my cameras, this plug-in will improve the results. Give it a try if you want a lightweight noise reduction workflow that is totally effective.