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New Topaz Release this week - Clarity

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by Robert Watcher, May 25, 2013.

  1. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I got a heads-up on both the new Topaz Clarity product and the $20 savings until the end of May 2013.

    I use the Clarity feature in Lightroom on most of my travel and street images. I love the effect it gives. I have never used Topaz products before today. 2 things that I noticed in a video that was produced about this product - - - both which are significant to my usage - - - are the great masking options built into Topaz Clarity, as well as the refined Clarity controls.

    I use masks frequently in Photoshop, but some of the Topaz selections are really wonderful from my early play with the program. Lightroom has one slider for Clarity control. Photoshop has none (unless I use Adobe RAW - which I don't). To be able to selectively affect finer details or broader areas only - and everything in between - is going to be a wonderful option. The presets really help out as well. Not just landscape presets either - - - there's Portrait, Wedding, Fashion - nice.

    I've only had it purchased for 15 minutes for my PC work station (will have to get one for my Macbook later), and after the effortless installation - have pumped several images through the plugin and am fully comfortable with it's functionality.

    Here is the video explaining the key features of Topaz Clarity - Topaz Clarity Demo - Top Five Features — LIGHT Photographic Workshops

    https://www.topazlabs.com/clarity/

    $29.95 with the coupon code "claritynew" until May 31'st, 2013

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  2. Dan Ka

    Dan Ka Mu-43 Regular

    128
    Jan 11, 2011
    Northeastern Ohio
    Got mine Thursday. Impressive piece of software. It will probably be my go-to software along w/ Adjust and Detail. There are upcoming webinars next week. Topaz Labs - Free Webinars and Live Training

    Screen capture of OOC jpg and Clarity.
     

    Attached Files:

  3. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    Thanks for letting us know.
     
  4. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    Bangkok
    rob collins
    Yes thanks for that. I bought it yesterday but was looking for a good tutorial.

    One thing I particularly like about Topaz (well detail and clarity) is their masking function. In particular, they have 'edge aware' masking which for instance means you can mask in or out say a sky very quickly and easily.

    I am slightly surprised and somewhat perplexed that photoshop doesnt have 'edge aware' masking in their features, it would certainly save a lot of time.
     
  5. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    OK - everyone that knows me, knows I'm not a techie. I just want results.

    I pulled out a 2008 grass hut shot in Costa Rica that my wife rented for us. It had lots of contrasty edges and so I wondered what Topaz Clarity would do on it. Well, let me tell you - the possibilities are endless. But here are a couple of quick settings applied. The effect can be subtle and can be significant.

    Top - Original Image : Middle - Landscape Preset : Bottom - played with sliders and masked out areas so they wouldn't be affected (2 minutes at the most was spent). Just fun - not to prove anything.



    cahuita-orig.jpg
    cahuita-clarity-preset.jpg
    cahuita-clarity-custom-masking.jpg


     
  6. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    The masking features are pretty powerful from first looks. I got wondering this morning how Topaz Clarity would work by using the Color Aware option in masking. I clicked on the flowers of this shot and dragged a large brush over top of the area. As can be seen with the mask in the upper right corner of the screen capture, none of the building was touched. It literally took me 10 seconds to run my brush over and then start dragging the sliders back and forth to make changes to that area. I also played with the Edge detection masking and smart Feathering.




    topaz-clarity-mask-2.jpg


    Before (left) and After (right) - subtle difference (only to the flowers on the wall)
    topaz-clarity-mask-1.jpg






    I know there are other tools and other methods for doing the same thing. I already have been using them up until this point. For the $30 though, this makes light work of similar adjustments that I took more time to do in the latest Lightroom 4.3 or Photoshop CS6. even. BTW - I'm not trying to sell this product or convince that it is the best - just enlighten on some of the options available for those looking for such things.
     
  7. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    One thing I got thinking that I would love from this program - - - is an option for the mask to be transfered over to Photoshop for further refinement if needed - or to be able to duplicate, adjust and use the mask on different photoshop layers. But it doesn't appear that is the case. Or is it?


    Here is one final image where I was playing with the Edge Detect masking to isolate the child walking in front - - - and then used all of the tools including the HSL settings to filter colors (yes all available on Photoshop as well). Luminance was quite useful in changing tonality based on colour - for the grungier less saturated look I was after.




    clarity-HSL-1.jpg

    clarity-HSL-2.jpg

     
  8. swampduck

    swampduck Mu-43 Veteran

    334
    Mar 29, 2013
    Taneytown , MD
    Dan
    Thanks for the headsup...just purchased...anything to make my PP life easier is good
     
  9. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

  10. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    No, it's not the case ... at least for now. Topaz Labs has a more powerful masking plugin called Remask, and they've repeatedly said if you want a more powerful masking tool than the edge-aware technology in their other plugins (including Clarity), we should use Remask. They also sell a standalone app/LR plugin, photoFXlab, for those who want layers without Photoshop. If you use photoFXlab as a standalone program, you can save your "projects" and open them later to adjust various layers. IIRC, you must have either a TIFF or a JPG for that. Personally, I'd rather use Photoshop for layers. But ... if I'm only going to use Topaz plugins, photoFXlab is great as a Lightroom plugin, because I can use several plugins on the same image without having LR create a new TIFF as it opens plugin after plugin.

    A few years back, I purchased the plugin bundle and have added new plugins since then. I've now added Nik, since the price drop, and I find I use it much more than Topaz. Still, there are a few Topaz plugins I keep coming back to. You can watch edited versions of many, if not all, Topaz webinars on YouTube, too.
     
  11. Julia

    Julia Mu-43 Regular

    57
    Mar 9, 2013
    Stuttgart, Germany
    Thank you for the heads up and the link to the video. After watching it and seeing the examples here, I snatched a copy of the app. Looking forward to working with it!
     
  12. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Edit - figured it out...see below...this applies to Lightroom

    I must be doing something very wrong - tried installing it three times. I have all the right directories and subdirectories, but no executable. The various forms of support on their website don't provide an answer. Am I missing something...? :confused: :redface:
     
  13. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    It's a Photoshop plugin, so there's no executable. You access it via Photoshop's Filter menu.

    --
    Sent from my phone. Please pardon my brevity!
     
  14. Dan Ka

    Dan Ka Mu-43 Regular

    128
    Jan 11, 2011
    Northeastern Ohio
    In addition to Photoshop, you can also access Clarity from Lightroom, Photoshop Elements, Irfanview, Paint Shop Pro, Photo Impact for Windows or for Apple - Lightroom, Aperture and iPhoto.
     
  15. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    FYI, it's only supposed to be compatible with CS4 and newer versions, but I was successful with installing it in CS2 on my rig. YMMV so try the free demo version first to be sure.
     
  16. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    The issue was that Fusion Express needs to be installed at the same time. :smile:
     
  17. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran


    Good to know. Thanks.



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  18. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    Ah, so you're using it with Lightroom and not Photoshop. :eek::smile:
     
  19. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Correct.
     
  20. mikekiwi

    mikekiwi Mu-43 Regular

    82
    Dec 16, 2010
    The Netherlands
    I also bought this nice piece of software, I think it is helping me improve certain images in a relatively easy way.

    I just took a shot for lens-testing and ran it through Clarity and chose the preset that matched my taste for this image which took me 2 minutes (already added a few presets to my favourites which speeds up determining which one is suited the most).

    The Clarity-output really was only the BW II-preset on the original jpeg from my OM-D, no extra things (levels/curves) done in another piece of software besides cloning out one white flower in the background

    After that I tried to get a similar output from Lightroom and that took quite a bit longer and is not the same in output (the Clarity-output does what its name says, it adds clarity to the Dandelion).

    Although this is not a spectacular output and difference and I can certainly spend some more time in finetuning in Clarity, it displays for me that even for these kind of images this plugin can help in getting a nice result in a few mouse-clicks.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Downsides of this plugin are:

    - slow load-times
    - the lag when dragging the sliders (NIK-software is a lot better in this respect)
    - for presets which only slightly differ, the previews don't clearly show the differences