Jumpstart Creativity with the “I Feel Lucky” Button
Do you ever just stare at an image and think to yourself “Geez, I don’t even know what I want to do with this”? Topaz Adjust has a great little feature to help you jumpstart the creative process of post-processing. It’s called the “I Feel Lucky” button!
Located next to the APPLY button in the bottom right of your Settings & Parameters window, this die icon button will randomly move the sliders to create a new effect each time you click it. This can be a fun way to see which direction you might want to take your photos in.
Here is an example of a photo I took with my cell phone while leaving class one day. I loved the way the sunlight was streaming down and illuminating some objects while leaving others darkened. It reminded me of good triumphing over evil, in my case the light at the end of the tunnel of a long semester of hard work. Click on the images below to see an enlarged image of the original and the edited version. Then read on to see how I got there.
With the advent of the digital darkroom, the ability to create the impossible has become a more accessible reality to many of us who dreamed of creating impossible images. Much of my inspiration comes from the love of comics, wanting to create those action splash pages. Sadly, my drawing skills shamefully lacked to make it in the comic book industry, so photography coupled with the gaining popularity of cosplay, became the natural extension to create the images I wanted.
Some of My Fantasy Composites
When it comes to creating a conceptual image, I take a very collaborative approach. Working with others helps to hone the concept and identify the technical challenges involved in the process, both on location and in post production.
Boring Photos are For the Birds! Use Topaz Adjust to Add Interest to a Snapshot.
Every year in Texas we are greeted by the birds that fly south for the winter. It seems nice that they always come to visit, like a distant relative. And while it’s inspiring and majestic to see the geese flying in formation proudly, I’m always the most fascinated by the thousands of black birds I see silhouetted against the sky. It’s an almost sinister feeling that reminds me of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic, The Birds. Every year I’m amazed at just how many birds can fit on the power lines and light poles, and I always try to snap a photo with as many of them in the composition as possible. Here’s a photo from this year’s migration taken with my iPhone through the car window.
Like so many other times that I’ve been inspired by a passing moment, this photo fails to capture the eerie sense of wonder that I felt when I took it. Since boring photos are for the birds, I challenged myself to enhance my photo with Topaz Adjust to give it just the Hitchcockian feel I was experiencing. (Before you ask, yes, I did my journalistic due diligence and made sure that Hitchcockian is a real word. Strange, isn’t it?) Through a quick Google Images search I found two source images to reference for inspiration.
If you’ve ever used Topaz DeNoise for high ISO noise reduction you might have noticed a posterized effect occur on certain images. Often this posterization isn’t evident until you increase the auto-brightness, where you then see the unnatural swerving of tone gradation going this way and that.
Baffled by this effect, like a scientist I sought to figure out how to get rid of it, mixing the sliders up every which way until…eureka! To get rid of posterization all you have to do is increase the ‘Add Grain’ slider and bam! Posterization depleted.