topaz

Topaz Texture Effects Book Launch

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Before & After Texture Effects
Before & After Topaz Texture Effects

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.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Cutting out the Noise

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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.

ISO640 image showing noise
ISO640 image showing noise
ISO640 after DeNoise has been applied. Yes it's also sharper as there is a deblur option.
ISO640 after DeNoise has been applied. Yes it’s also sharper as there is a deblur option. Notice how the colours appear more neutral also.

I’m going to investigate this further once the full version is out tomorrow.

Topaz Adjust 40% Discount

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Bolivia Volcano sunset. Processed with Topaz Adjust.
Bolivia Volcano sunset. Processed with Topaz Adjust.

I have just received word that Topaz are running a 40% discount on their popular 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.

Bolivia Volcano before adjustment
Bolivia Volcano before adjustment

Happy image editing.

Noise Reduction Update

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Image

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.