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Software Review: Topaz Labs Plug-In Bundle, Part II

This is the second of three-part series that will look at the six products that come with the Topaz Labs Plug-In Bundle. They include Topaz DeNoise 5, Topaz Adjust 4, Topaz Simplify 3, Topaz Detail 2, Topaz Clean 3, and Topaz ReMask. The goal of this bundle is to give you everything that you need in one package to handle all of your photographic editing and enhancing needs.

 Topaz Labs Plug-in Bundle

Topaz Simplify 3
Topaz Simplify is a plug-in that transforms regular photos into works of art. It can change them into watercolors, line art and photorealistic paintings. Through a unique size-based technology, it processes the photo like an artist would. It eliminates the clutter and leaves only the essence of the image.

The goal of the technology within Topaz Simplify is to provide unlimited artistic possibilities for photographers. It doesn’t just provide cookie cutter effects, but rather gives you the tools to create your own personal and unique photographic masterpieces.

Topaz Simplify uses a proprietary image process engine based on multi-level topological decomposition wherein it suppresses and recovers detail base on a specific range of sizes determined by the user. Simply put, this plug-in simplifies the details of an image much the same way a painter would – by eliminating the non-essential items from the photo. It breaks down the image into a base image and the edges of the objects in the image and allows you to control both aspects independently.

What is new in Topaz Simplify 3
• New, more user friendly interface that allows you to expand and collapse the preset panel and the tool panel for a more adjustable workspace. This gives you more control over your workflow

• Presets and tool tips can each be enabled or disabled so that when you start up the plug-in you can control how Simplify opens up.

 Topaz Labs Plug-in Bundle

• With the new Snap and Recall buttons, you can save up to 99 snapshots for comparison

• The quick slider reset allows you to double-click on the slider name to easily reset the default sider values.

• There has been a significant stability increase so that you can process even larger images.

Now what does this mean to you? It means that you can be more creative with your work. You can be as subtle or as artistic as you want. You can transform your photos into watercolors, line art, cartoons, and much, much more.

You can also keep your photos as photos, but just reduced some of the clutter from the image, with the more distracting details gone, the viewer can focus on what is important within the photo. When you add the fact that along with the presets that are come with it, you can create and add your own, this makes this a really useful plug-in.

 Topaz Labs Plug-in Bundle

Topaz Detail 2
Topaz Detail is plug-in that is dedicated to artifact free detail enhancement, sharpening, and toning. The intent is to let your digital images pop without the side effects halos and artifacts that you get when trying to work with just Photoshop by itself. By giving you control over the small, medium, and large items in your image, you can better sharpen those things you want to have more detail.

When you start the Topaz Detail plug-in, it analyzes your image and breaks it down into the various details sizes and color elements. Depending on the size of your image this can take a while to process, but it is what gives you the ability to gain control over your image. Once in the plug-in, you can manually work with your image, use a preset, or a combination of both.

There are three main controls — one for detail, one for color, and one for tone. With detail, you can control the small, medium, and large details as well as providing a boost control for each size. The tone tab gives you the ability to control the range of color in the image. The color tab lets you manage the saturation and hue of the image.

What is new in Topaz Detail 2
• New user interface. Includes the ability to easily expand and collapse side panels.
• New presets layout features its own preview window.
Preview Navigator – Displays the region of the preview image you are currently focused on.
• Zoom – Allows you to zoom in and out of specific areas of your image to
allow for more precise selections.
• Parameters – Your slider controls for making your detail and color enhancements.
• I Feel Lucky! – Allows you apply randomized settings. This is useful when
you want to experiment with different settings.

So what does Detail do for you? First it allows you to better control what details are in your image and what kind of prominence they are allowed to play within the scene. In some images you may want more definition, and in others you may want less. You have the ability to control this.

As far as a sharpening agent, with the three levels of control as well as the color controls, you can really make the image stand out in the frame. In many cases detail can bring new life to an otherwise ordinary picture.

 Topaz Labs Plug-in Bundle

Both Topaz Simplify and Topaz Detail run for $39.99 as a standalone. Or you can get the whole Topaz Labs Plug-In Bundle for $179.99 which is a savings of $160 over the individual prices.

Just like with the prior two products, I really like the way that both Topaz Simplify, and Topaz Detail were easy to use, and really produced nice results. In both cases it was simple to get to the exact results that I wanted without a lot of effort. This makes it very easy to highly recommend both of these products as they will save you time and effort in getting your best shot.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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