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Topaz B&W Effects Experience?

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by oldracer, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    I downloaded the trial for this software last weekend and I am interested in buying it.

    1) The page where you request a 30-day trial key did not work in Firefox.

    2) I emailed the address provided in case of problems and got an automated response containing keys that I cannot make work.

    3) I tried the key request page from Chrome and received another set of keys that did not work.

    4) I emailed, via their site, tech support to ask for help. It is now the third day since and I have received no response.

    5) I called their phone number today and got a recording that gave a series of email addresses for various purposes, then hung up on me without giving me the opportunity to talk to a person.

    So ... do I pay for a license and expect to get a key that works or support if the key doesn't work? I don't think so.

    Too bad.

    Any other experiences?
     
  2. Salt Peanuts

    Salt Peanuts Mu-43 Regular

    61
    May 26, 2012
    Massachusetts
    Haj
    Thanks for sharing your experience. I don't think I'll be trying them out anytime soon now.
     
  3. stingx

    stingx Mu-43 Veteran

    347
    Aug 10, 2012
    Weird, NJ
    Hugh Douche
    It's you. I own pretty much all of their plugins, giving each one a full 30-day go beforehand. Nothing but great things to say about them and their products. My faves are Adjust and B&W.
     
  4. Salt Peanuts

    Salt Peanuts Mu-43 Regular

    61
    May 26, 2012
    Massachusetts
    Haj
    I fail to see how the issue OP is experiencing is OP's doing when -

    1) it's the company's webpage that didn't work properly in a popular browser
    2) it's the company that sent OP multiple product keys that didn't work
    3) it's the company that failed to respond in timely fashion to OP's e-mail
    4) it's the company that failed to provide phone support that is actually useful
     
  5. macalterego

    macalterego Mu-43 Veteran

    228
    Jul 10, 2012
    Lawrence, KS
    Jeffrey McPheeters
    There are lots of reasons a web page might not work in a single individual's browser. It's too little information to jump to a conclusion like that. But first impressions are important. I have owned their suite for a couple of years, and I like their webinars and free training. I also use Nik and OnOne and some other plugins, but Topaz Labs is my favorite because it lets me do my own thing, create my own presets, and do most of what I need for print projects. But it is software and there are bugs with all software; sometimes those bugs only bite in certain ways and in certain hardware setups. That's why you should always demo and if you want to demo longer, ask the company. They are usually happy to oblige if you ask for a little more time to demo. I have Nik, OnOne and Topaz Labs plugins for black and white. I can't say one is better than another, because they approach this differently, since, in most cases, these are color images coming in as sRGB or AdobeRGB RAW color space and were not really shot as B&W. The best thing to do in addition to your testing, would be to watch some of their webinars on YouTube (search for 'topazlabs'. Also, on their website, there are some webinars going on this week. Some tomorrow or Friday, I think. Sign up for one, and ask the moderator when you sign in about your issue and she'll get you connected to the right person to solve your issue.
     
  6. Dan Ka

    Dan Ka Mu-43 Regular

    128
    Jan 11, 2011
    Northeastern Ohio
    My experience has been nothing but positive w/ Topaz. From the time I downloaded and used the demos a few years ago to purchasing a few plugins at first, then their bundle, and lately their stand alone product, photoFXlab. Their customer service and tech support has been very responsive to my problems which were, in fact, my operator error.

    The only warning I received with the demo keys was to make sure the space for entering the key number was blank. They suggested clicking in the box, press control-A, press delete to be sure it is blank. I also have Nik plugins, but, much prefer Topaz.

    I have no problem getting to their website using Opera, Firefox, even MS Explorer, don't have or want Chrome. You may want to post your problem at their forum Topaz Labs Forum if you can get there. I go there everyday just as I come here everyday.
     
  7. stingx

    stingx Mu-43 Veteran

    347
    Aug 10, 2012
    Weird, NJ
    Hugh Douche
    Your loss. Fantastic company and products.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    Bangkok
    rob collins
    Sorry to hear of your problems.

    I have only one of their plug-ins - Details 3 - which was released in December. I am really impressed by it -well worth giving a trial.

    Also I noted that unlike virtually every other developer of photographic software they dont seem to charge extra for upgrades - transition from 2 to 3 etc - of their products.
     
  9. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Thanks, Dan. I didn't know about the forums, but I took your suggestion to go there and try to get some help.

    The saga continues. I registered as a new user and now, 10+ minutes later, I still have not received the new user email needed to complete the registration. So, no joy there either.

    Yes, I saw that and did the little dance. The need for this does not increase my respect for their expertise, however. Depending on the programming language it can take as little as one line of code to strip the non-numeric characters from a string before passing it to the key validator. Even the effort to repeatedly publish the instructions for the dance involves more effort than it would take to make the code work correctly.

    I really like what B&W Effects does, and I am almost certain to buy. But not when even multiple demo keys don't work and the company is as unresponsive as a corpse.
     
  10. macalterego

    macalterego Mu-43 Veteran

    228
    Jul 10, 2012
    Lawrence, KS
    Jeffrey McPheeters
    Keep us posted on how this works out for you. I'm not sure if I'd had your experience that I would have had the patience to persevere. Fortunately, I had no such problems and my user experience has been pretty good. I don't envy the developers of Photoshop plugins, with the current migration away for more powerful computers to tablets and in-camera processing. Nik was recently purchased by Google and I have yet to figure out what, if any, impact that will have. They have great plugins but the weirdest upgrade setup I've seen for a suite-owner. OnOne recently re-positioned their pricing structure, and, along with Topaz, have introduced the ability to work StandAlone and in layers for non-Photoshop or Aperture and Lightroom users not wishing to have PS open at the same time as their main digital asset manager in order to use the plugins.
     
  11. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    I've been using Topaz plugins for a few years now. I first purchased the bundle and since have added every new plugin they've released. My favorites are Adjust, B&W Effects, DeNoise and Detail.

    But like all companies, they screw up periodically. I've found the best way to contact Topaz Labs support is to use their forum (as another poster suggested). Their webinars are great, and all plugin updates are free. Most often support response is swift, but sometimes it takes a while. OP, I too would be very unhappy, but please be patient and persistent. IMNSHO, Topaz Labs is a reliable company with great plugins. :smile:
     
  12. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    I bought their BW Effects and it works pretty well. But I was able to get the 30 trial to work. Even Opera, my browser of choice, which, however, does not work with lots of sites, managed to download the product and get the key, so I regret your experience.

    Did you download and install the free Fusion Express program? The program does not work as a stand alone, but only as a plugin to Lightroom -- may other programs, but I use it in Lightroom. You need Fusion Express to get it to work in a raw converter.

    I just processed this photo in it with no problem:
    [​IMG]
     
  13. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Yeah. I dunno. A little crazy I guess, but I do like how the plug-in works.

    I finally found an actual person to communicate with at Topaz. I saw the name of the Marketing wonk, Nichole, on their forum and did a Google search. She popped up under username "Nichole with Topaz Labs" at dpreview, so I PM-d her there. She sent yet another key and this one worked, though I did nothing different in entering it.
     
  14. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    594
    Oct 18, 2011
    I recommend looking into the NIK suite of products.

    Not only do I far prefer their software (and it all works flawless in Lightroom w/out any hassles or extra modules) but they ALWAYS have someone ready to help when I've called and the same holds true for email, as well.

    They're more expensive, but I feel the product, results and customer service are far more worth it.
     
  15. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    You can also ping Nichole on the Topaz Labs forum, where she answers a lot of questions. She does many of their webinars too.

    --
    Sent from my phone. Please pardon my brevity!
     
  16. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Yeah, I've tried Silver Efex and it is quite neat. But B&W is not really my thing and I do maybe a half-dozen photos a year, so the Nik stuff is really not cost-effective. Maybe Google will open-source it someday. It's pretty peripheral to their business.
    Yeah, again. That's where I found her name but I can't get on the forums. She said she'd fix that manually but it has not happened yet.

    I expect to hear from her on Monday regarding all these difficulties. We'll see.
     
  17. OldRadioGuy

    OldRadioGuy Enthusiast Amateur

    56
    Nov 11, 2012
    Austin, Texas USA
    Bob
    I hate to see Topaz Labs getting a bad rep here. I have been a customer for more than two years, starting with Adjust. I now have all their plugins and use most of them often. They are very customer-friendly and the plugins are reasonably priced.

    Once you buy a plugin, not only are minor updates free, but new versions are free, too.

    Bob
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    You know what?
    I own Silver EFX and after trying the Topaz version - I am going to get it too! :smile:
     
  19. cdecurtis

    cdecurtis Mu-43 Regular

    45
    Sep 6, 2012
    Marietta, Georgia, USA
    Charles
    Great company, great support. Your experience is the complete opposite of mine. Frustrating I am sure.
     
  20. wclavey

    wclavey Mu-43 Regular

    45
    Sep 27, 2012
    Houston, TX
    Westley
    I purchased Topaz B&W a year ago, or so, and have used it occasionally, but I had found that I could make my own macros in PS5 that were more to my liking in the end. I still used it for some of the "canned" effects it came with. However, I downloaded the new B&W 2 the other day and tried it out on some images I have done over the past 6 months and found that I like it very much. Some of the issues that I had with the first version have been been well thought through and I really like the quad toning facility it has. I'm pleased, at first look, with this new version.

    For reference, I process about 90% of what I shoot as B&W.