Discussion here.

Much has been said about Topaz ReMask, but now there’s one more thing to talk about: ReMask is about to become faster, easier, and prettier right in front of your eyes. We’ve been working Topaz ReMask v2, which includes a user interface for easier and more intuitive use – and even enhances the already high masking speed and mask quality of the original.

Just to give you an little sneak peek of what it will eventually look like, here’s a shot of the current alpha user interface:

Topaz ReMask 2 screenshot
Topaz ReMask 2 screenshot

(note that this may undergo significant changes by the actual release of ReMask 2)

The overall workflow will be like this:

  1. Paint the KEEP (green), CUT (red), and PROCESS (blue) areas with a combination of fill tools and brush tools.
  2. Hit the process button. The mask immediately updates right there in the user interface.
  3. Refine the mask if you wish by specifying more parts of the image to keep or remove. Refinement much easier because you can see exactly what you’re doing right there on the screen.

Extremely simple, highly intuitive, and still blazing fast – just the way masking should be. Here are a couple of other cool features in the new version:

  • Vastly improved and specialized hair masking algorithms.
  • Saves result to a layer mask in Photoshop if you have one enabled on the layer, or just cuts image out of its background if you don’t.
  • Four views that show all aspects of your mask at all times for the utmost control over your final result.
  • Undo/Redo functionality and full keyboard shortcut support.
  • Highly improved memory management – uses own memory instead of sharing Photoshop’s memory. This makes it a little faster and a lot stabler than original ReMask.

Personally, when I tried using the new version of ReMask for the first time, I was actually extremely surprised by how easy it was to use. Astronomical props go to our developers for releasing a completely redesigned and reworked product in such little time. This is not a little minor update, this is practically an entirely new product – looks like it, feels like it, and works like it. I usually don’t like to gush catchphrases but I was sincerely blown away by the difference between the new and old ReMask – it’s simply amazing. PSP and Elements will also be supported by ReMask 2 in addition to Photoshop.

Despite all these improvements, we really appreciate our early adopters and would therefore like to offer ReMask v2 when it’s released as a completely free upgrade for existing customers of ReMask v1. Your support and feedback is what makes the constant improvement of our products possible.

Thanks again! ReMask 2 is scheduled for a mid-November release, so you don’t have too long to wait.

This post was originally posted on November 5, 2009

This has been a good month for website feature additions! We’ve just released a Photography + Photoshop + Topaz discussion forum that you can access here:


Sign up for lots of benefits! We have big plans for the forum, and in the future we will be integrating our customer back-end into it, which means your owned products can be integrated into your profile for forum perks and recognition. More immediately, we will be putting up contests (with prizes!), tutorials, techniques, and other goodies onto the forum. We also think it will be a great way for Topaz users to get in touch with other Topaz users to share tips and show off their unique images.

But it’s not exclusively Topaz-related stuff either – feel free to post about general photography or Photoshop topics as well! Occasionally we might even have a guest poster that will write a “How I Did This” tutorial or something similar on the forum. We at Topaz are also very heavily involved in our forum, so it’s a great way to get in touch with us as well.

All gallery submissions will now go through the forum. If you’re interested in beta testing Topaz software, we’ve also now formalized a beta tester program.

See you on the forums!

This post was originally posted on October 22, 2009

This post was originally posted on October 8, 2009.

(Go to the Topaz ReMask homepage here.)

There’s pros and cons to having a software that is completely integrated with Photoshop with no user interface of its own. Even though the complete Photoshop integration makes it much faster and easier to use when you understand how it works, the same thing makes it a bit harder to learn. That’s why we’ve been hard at work since its release to provide tutorials and educational material (in addition to the User’s Guide) to help smooth the learning curve for you. Whether you’re a Photoshop novice or guru, you will still pick a few things up from the following Topaz ReMask educational resources.

These resources are ordered from least advanced to most advanced:

ReMask: The Basics (pdf) – The complete beginner’s guide to using ReMask. If you don’t know how to use layer masks in Photoshop, start here.

Getting Started with Topaz ReMask (pdf) – The fastest way to get started with Topaz ReMask without having to know any theory. Involves the included ReMask Actions set for ease of use.

Topaz ReMask Quick Start (video) – The video companion to the Getting Started guide. Ashley shows you a basic step-by-step way to get a quick mask with Topaz ReMask.

How Topaz ReMask Works (video) – Eric gives a quick primer on how Topaz ReMask works and explains a bit about tri-maps.

Topaz ReMask Best Practices (video) – Eric goes into more depth into how Topaz ReMask processes its masks and three best practices to keep in mind while using it. This video is highly recommended if your masks aren’t turning out the way you expect.

You can also check out a short ReMask FAQ here.

If you find something unusual while working with ReMask, please take a look at the most appropriate resource. There’s usually a very simple explanation for anything that might go wrong. Hope that helps!

This post was originally posted on October 8, 2009

We’re putting up a photo gallery on our website that will showcase different photographers and images that use Topaz software. Instead of the smaller photos on our product pages, this gallery shows beautiful full-sized images for all to see.

We’d love to have some of your Topazed images up there. If you’re interested in submitting some photos to the gallery, please see the forum post here:

Topaz Gallery Submissions

Send however many images you want, as long as they’ve been Topazed in some way, with any of our software. We’d love to display your photos to the world!

This post was originally posted on October 6, 2009

We’ve had lots of feedback, questions, and comments on Topaz ReMask, and we thank you for taking the time to write to us and submit examples. I thought I would post a few frequently asked questions (and their answers!) here on the blog.

One thing that I want to note: Topaz ReMask works in a very different way than other masking plug-ins, and plug-ins in general. For one, it doesn’t have a user interface, so it’s almost impossible to “feel” your way through the plug-in. I strongly urge you to at least get a basic idea of how the plug-in works by scanning the User’s Manual or take a look at one of the short 3-4 minute video tutorials. They actually help quite a bit when starting out.

Now that that’s out of the way, here are some of the more common questions we’ve gotten:

How do I refine my mask if it’s not perfect?

If you’ve gotten a mask from ReMask and there’s areas of the mask that you’d like to improve, it’s easy to tell ReMask to re-process a part of the image with additional information. When processing, Topaz ReMask’s thought process goes something like this:

1. I see white in the tri-map over certain image features. I now know that image features similar to these (in color, proximity, etc) are to be kept in the final mask.
2. I see black in the tri-map over certain image features. I now know that image features similar to these are to be removed in the final mask.
3. I see gray in the tri-map over certain image features. I must use the information from #1 and #2 to determine the correct mask for #3.

Keeping this in mind, it makes sense that sometimes ReMask may not have all the information it needs to correctly deduce the gray areas with 100% accuracy. This is where mask refining comes in. All this consists of is using the resulting mask that Topaz ReMask gave you first, as a tri-map for another pass of Topaz ReMask. The key is to give it a little bit more information this time.

As a very simple example, let’s say you’re masking an apple and, for whatever reason, the stem wasn’t included in the mask even though you want it to be. You would first select the layer mask and paint white on some of the stem. You don’t have to paint ALL of the stem, but you have to make sure you don’t get any white on the background… or else ReMask will get really confused.

Then, you paint black on parts of the background around the stem. Finally, paint gray on the areas that you want ReMask to process (this time with added information). For the rest of the apple you don’t have to do anything because ReMask already gave you a black and white mask, so you can just leave it like it is.

(Sometimes it’s more appropriate to paint a thick gray over the entire stem and then paint black or white. It’s up to the situation. The only important thing is to give ReMask more information via black and white areas so it can correctly deduce the gray areas.)

After that, you can either apply Topaz ReMask again to the whole image, or just a selection of the stem. This will refine the mask at the gray areas using the new information. You can repeat this process if necessary.

How do I fix a procEngine -1000 or -878 error?

This is a memory issue. Go to your Photoshop Preferences and take a look at the RAM section.

First, drop it to about 40%. Restart Photoshop and try ReMask again.
If that doesn’t work, try increasing it to 85%. Restart Photoshop and try ReMask again.

If these don’t work, we’re coming out with a memory management upgrade soon, which will almost certainly help with the problem. Also, try minimizing the gray areas in the tri-map; ReMask’s memory usage is directly proportional to the amount of gray area.

Why do I get a message that says “No Layer Mask Channel Found” or “‘Make’ command not available”?

For the first message, Topaz ReMask must be run on a layer with a layer mask containing black, white, and gray. If there’s no layer mask, it will not run.

The second message only occurs when you use actions. If you do use actions, use nothing else – don’t create a layer mask, etc. The action will do everything for you. The “Make” error happens when the action tries to create a layer mask when there is already a layer mask on the layer.

Let me know if there’s any other questions that you want answered in the comments.

This post was originally posted on September 28, 2009