Monday, 7 September 2015

Review - Topaz ReMask 5

Topaz ReMask is designed on one simple idea: To create the best quality mask with minimal input. By using ReMask’s simple 3-color tri-map technology, users have the power to quickly and easily extract even the toughest elements — hair, foliage, and transparent materials — in their photos. The new updates to ReMask 5 makes it the most powerful masking software on the market. The two biggest additions to this version are the standalone capabilities and background replacement tools.

We have been using the Topaz suite of plug-ins for several years now and they are absolutely indispensable in our workflow to get the look we want from our images.  As Professional Travel Photographers we don't always have the luxury of time to wait for great light or  the ideal background. Sometime you just have to get the shot regardless of the background or light. 

It is a great comfort for us to know that there is a plug-in that will save the day when we need to remove distracting or boring backgrounds and give the image more mood and emotion. We have used Topaz ReMask since version 3 and have been astounded by how easy it is to use when wanting to create an accurate mask. Some masks can take you a great deal of time in Photoshop however Topaz ReMask will give you an accurate mask in a fraction of the time. 

Before and After (example supplied by Topaz Labs)
With the new release of ReMask 5 it has now become even easier to mask images with the added benefit of being able to now replace the background and fine tune entirely in the application without the need to work in layers in Photoshop. The images below literally took us 5 minutes to mask using ReMask 5 including the sky replacement. 

Before - Scroll down for Final Result

Compute Brush (Blue), Fill (Red) to cut, Green to keep
Your first step to creating your mask is to select the Compute Brush (Blue) and paint along the edge separating what you want to keep (Green) and what you want to cut. Once  you have made your selection fill the areas to cut with the Red Fill button. This will fill everything that you do not want to keep with Red. If for some reason the entire image turns Red it means that you have not closed the area painted in Blue. Make sure that the Blue is painted to the very edge of the image (see example above). Once you are happy with your selection click on the Compute Mask button.

Compute mask result
You can now refine your mask using the Primary Brushes to fix all the edges that the Compute Brush didn't completely mask on its first attempt. You can do this by toggling between all three brushes (Compute, Keep, Cut). You can also toggle between the tabs at the top of the interface to change your view between Original, Trimap, Mask, Keep and Cut to see the mask. Once you are happy you can either click OK to return to Photoshop (if using as a plug-in) or if you want to replace the background in ReMask go to the Background Heading. Underneath this you will have three choices : Transparent, Solid Colour, Image.
Background choices Panel

Show Grid and Add Image 
To replace the background with an image select the "Image" button. This will open a File Box where you can navigate to an image such as a sky (or whatever you want in the background). This will import the image into the background of your masked image. A grid will be displayed (see below) so that you can stretch the file to cover your cut section of the mask. If you change your mind and want to use another background then click on the yellow button (see above) or if you want to reposition the background image then click on the orange button and the grid will reappear.

Added Sky
Screen View Options
Background image panel
Final Result
To make changes to the background image you can use the settings below these buttons (see left). You have the options of Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Temperature, Tint and Blur. These will only affect the imported background image and are invaluable in making your background match your foreground more evenly giving the whole image a more natural look.

In the top right hand corner of the interface you have your 3 view options: Single View, Split View, Quad View

Once you have finished simply click OK to be taken back to your Host application. Masking has never been so easy!

Final Result - with balloon in bottom right removed
If you are interested in trying out Topaz ReMask 5 then click here and go to Free Trial in the Menu Bar. If you want to buy one of the best masking tool on the market at a great price then click here . It is currently priced at USD$69.99 (last updated 6 Nov 2017).

If you have any questions or comments then we'd love to hear from you.

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