I really can’t believe how much I am liking this Topaz Texture Effects. The above photograph heading its way to the trash bin; I didn’t like it at all. I didn’t like the sky. I didn’t like the texture of the photograph, so for experimentation purposes, I wanted to see if this photograph which was heading towards that recycle bin could be transformed using Topaz Texture Effects 2. And all I can say is WOW.
My processing method for this photograph was:
- Original edits in Lightroom, which included exposure, contrast, highlights and shadows, blacks, whites and clarity.
- Using the Edit in Feature I selected ‘Edit in Topaz Texture Effects’ (which I had already set up via Topaz Labs easy instructions on how to use this piece of software with Lightroom).
- A dust and scratches adjustment was added to top left hand corner, in a diagonal shape to add texture to sky to the sky. Again I could add my own dust and scratch textures should I wish. But for this photograph I used one of the pre-installed dust and scratch textures.
- I wanted a light leak within the main tree where there was a hole in the branches, so I used the Light Leak Adjustment, increased the size and lowered the opacity so that it was so prominent. I just wanted that glimmer and the sliders with the Light Leaks adjustment gave me the exact adjustments I wanted.
- One of the many things I like about Topaz Texture Effects 2, is the ability to add your own textures.. so all those textures you have saved over the months and years on your computer, are easily imported into this software for you to be able to use at the click of a few buttons. So for this particular image, I used one of my own textures which I uploaded to Topaz Texture Effects 2 and then used the luminosity masking to keep this texture mainly in the areas where I wanted it to be more prominent. In fact you can add your own textures, light leaks, photos for double exposures.. easily and each panel gives you the ability to categorise your textures into groups.
- I wanted to make the darks and contrast of the trees, pond and bushes more prominent and I found I could do this easily by adding a Basic Adjustment to the picture. And because I didn’t want the sky affected as I had already achieved the desired look I wanted, I then add a luminosity mask to this adjustment so that it only affected the trees and pond.
- When I was happy I saved my photo by clicking OK and Topaz Texture Effects automatically added my textured image back into Lightroom. From there I just added a graduated filter and did some dodging and burning.
This photograph was basically one of the first few I did in Topaz Texture Effects 2 and I have to say, you don’t need to be an artist to be able to create stunning work. The software is easy to use and very powerful. The only thing that holds you back is your imagination. If you can imagine it… Topaz Texture Effects 2 can do it, easier and a lot quicker than using Photoshop alone.
Topaz Texture Effects 2 is also a standalone application, so you don’t have to have Lightroom or Photoshop to use it, which is an added bonus within itself.
I have now been using this software for a few days and as each day passes, I am finding that you can do some of the basic things that you do in Lightroom. Yes there are some limitations with Topaz Texture Effects… one being not able to Watermark your photograph… And my earlier little gripe about not being able to dodge and burn has now been smoothed away.. you see I have found a way to dodge and burn in Topaz Texture Effects 2… You just do the following:
- Create a Basic Adjustment
- Enable Masking
- Invert the Masking Layer to Black
- Select the Brush option, and lower the strength and hardness and paint in white at various strengths to do your dodging by altering the sliders within the Basic Adjustment Panel and then repeat the process to do your burning.
For me this software is exactly what I was looking for.. yes it does have its teething problems about stripping the lens profile from the metadata even after experimented to see whether the lens profile would still be there if I made sure that the Lens Profile was selected in Lightroom’s Lens Profile Panel in the Develop Module; but these are features that Topaz Labs could work on..
One other thing I have found, is this, if you want to do a post and show the enhancements you made.. or you want to create your work as a Preset make sure you do your screen captures as you go along and save the Preset before clicking OK. Because once you click OK, the photograph is automatically imported back into Lightroom and the Topaz Texture Effects 2 software is closed immediately.
Again minor things, but enhancements that would make this particular software just perfect.