Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Topaz Labs "Glow"

Now we have been fans of Topaz plug-ins for some time. Most images that we process will use either Adjust, Detail, Clarity and ReStyle or a combination. Many of their other plug-ins are used but less frequently.

The newest addition to their stable of plug-ins is "Glow". In a nutshell Topaz Glow creates vibrant and beautiful images with energetic sparks of neon light. This plug-in will probably not gain a lot of fans with the more traditional photographers who are interested in the more purist forms of photography such as Landscape, Travel etc however this particular plug-in will probably most suit those photographers seeking a more artistic, painterly or almost electric look to their images.

The first big thing you will like about this plug-in is that it also runs as a stand alone program meaning that you will not require Photoshop to use it.

First look at the all the presets and you will notice that all are fairly extreme and even though presets are always good to get a starting point we have found that using this plug-in is best used from scratch with the usual subtle changes in the sliders. Once you have found a look that you like then save it as your own Preset.

With Topaz Glow
As Travel Photographers we wanted to see how we could utilise this plug-in for our images. On our recent visit to Tasmania we visited many waterfalls and thought one of these would be a perfect sample image to experiment with the effect. We really wanted the water to pop a little more and stand out and "glow" but didn't want it on the entire image.

Orginal - unedited
We applied settings to adjust the whole image to the point where the water was exactly the glow we wanted then simply added a layer mask and painted back the area surrounding the water that we didn't want affected. We have found that if you use quite subtle adjustments to the sliders in combination with a Soft Light Blend Mode and Strength slider (see bottom left of the interface page) you can obtain some really nice effects.

The effect will certainly give a "pop" and a sharpened look to your images although we wouldn't suggest this as alternative way to sharpen your images.

Below is one of our images taken in Venice, Italy. The first is unedited and the second has Topaz Glow applied but using the subtle effects and using Soft Light Blend Mode.

Topaz Glow

Below are some of the presets you can use with the plug-in -

               Preset: Wonderland
                     Preset: Blazing Neon II
              Preset: Airbrush 1 
                       Preset: Heavy Metal II

This post has really only touched on this new plug-in but you really need to play with it to see how it can creatively enhance your images the way you want them. Topaz offers free trial downloads however if you are interested in purchasing then click on the ad in the right hand column of this blog to take you to their product page.

Check out this great video "Topaz Glow - An Introduction". It runs for just over 38min.

If you have any questions or comments we would love to hear from you.

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