The new release of Topaz Studio has definitely turned a new leaf in my image processing workflow. To date the only Topaz Product, I owned and used regularly was Impression, until now!
I shoot and process multiple shot HDR images 98% of the time and despite the excellent job my HDR software does they still require some finishing touches.
After working in studio, a couple days things started to click and I put together a list of favorites. The program allows you to mark them as favorites and then puts them in the main menu folder. Many of the selections were so good they kept me quite happy working with one at a time but then I tried experimenting by layering more than one Effect together and came up with a winning combination.
Below are the original 0EV, HDR and Finished images.
A quick note about this image!
With a heavy heart working though some the Texas Coast images, Rockport was ground zero for the recent Hurricane Harvey and where I spent my last night in Texas while working a Kickstarter Photography Project a couple weeks before the storm hit.
I stayed in wonderful, very inexpensive, small place in the wonderful coastal town of about 10,000 folks. Although being very tired when I arrived, I did not realize when booking the room on my phone the motel was right across the street from a beautiful harbor. The sun was low on the horizon just approaching sunset, even before thinking about checking in I just had to go out and shoot some more pictures.
As I work through them now I can’t help but wonder if any of them are gone along with the small bait shops lining the street side of the harbor. The motel as well, the owner had done wonderful job on a remodel of the dozen rooms he owned. They accessed that about 30% of all the buildings/homes are destroyed and the another 30% will be beyond repair.
Let’s step through some Topaz Studio magic!
As mentioned I am using this on an already HDR processed image, open it with studio. Select the Blooming HDR Balanced effect
Adjust the Effect Opacity. Whenever you add any effect in Studio they will be maxed out and even if they look way over the top jump to the Opacity setting and turn it down, this is where the magic beings! For this image I loved it with an opacity of .43. You can also fine tune the effect itself as well even layering out part of the image with a paint brush function.
Hit Apply, this saves the effect and the creates a new layer where you can add another effect. Right below your main image you will see the newly added layer outline in blue. Even after you Apply a layer you can go back and select it again to make more adjustments here.
This looks beautiful right now but using the 100% zoom I like to push the Opacity right to where the pixels start to get a little grainy and then add some more magical depth with another layer.
Select the Black and White Barn Effect
Adjust the Opacity again, on this image I set it to .29 to give it a nice rounding/smoothing on the edgey Blooming HDR balanced effect it was layed over, it really adds an amazing clean pop to the sky and clouds.
Topaz Studio does such a beautiful job it has now become my new go-to tool for my final image processing and I am looking forward to putting together some more winning Effect combinations with it!