So yesterday we had an amazing webinar with Jo Ann Kairys titled: Blending Reality and Fantasy – Creative Illustrations with Topaz. During the webinar a question came up regarding the adjustment tabs in Topaz Adjust: What is Global vs. Local vs. Finishing Adjustments?

Many of you already understand the difference/purpose of these options and and are already making great use of them. However for any of my users that may not have a solid understanding of what they are, what they do…or what these options are supposed to do, then that makes it hard for you to effectively use them. So let’s take a look at these options and how they fit into your workflow.

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Most times after using ReMask in photoFXlab (or the built in masking tool), you’ll want to add in a new background and make some additional adjustments. photoFXlab’s built in layers makes it easy to do this. After you have created your cutout go to the bottom right of the program where your layers are located.

Click on the +File button, which will launch a window so that you can navigate your system to select the background image (from your images) that you’d like to add. Find and select the image to add it.

For those that are making a multi-layer composition, feel free to add as many image layers as you’d like. You can rearrange the order of layers simply by clicking on one and dragging it up or down in the layers palette.

Each layer can be individually resized or moved. To access these options go to your Tools tab – located at the top right hand side of the interface. Here you will find options for layer rotation, movement and scaling.

Make sure you the layer that you want to adjust is selected (will appear highlighted in blue) and then make your desired adjustments.

The new photoFXlab 1.2 update features the ability to save your project and layers (saved in “pfxl” format). This new saving capability will allow you to save a project in progress, so that you can return to it at a later time to resume edits. It’s also helpful to those that want to keep a layered record of the work done to each image.

Opening Your Files
When you have photoFXlab open (in stand-alone mode) then you will be able to go to File->Open or File ->Recent Files.

If you choose File -> Open it will then open your finder and you can browse through your files. You will be able to open jpegs, tiffs, pngs, and pfxl from photoFXlab (in stand-alone mode).

When you are using photoFXlab as a plug-in (ONLY) you will be able to access your RAW files as well.

You can also use the shortcut keys Cntrl+O (Cmnd+O for Mac) to launch your Open Finder window.

You will also have the option to open one of your eight most recent photos by going to File->Open Recent. Selecting one of those photos will open up the photo in the interface immediately.

If you have a .pfxl file saved, then you will be able to open and edit the layers that you have saved in your layers panel. You will also be able to save your layers with the .pfxl exten- sion when you are using photoFXlab as a plug-in. You will go to File->Save As when you have the program open, and save your file. You will then have to open the program in stand- alone mode to access that .pfxl file with the layers.

Saving Your Files
When you are finished with your project you will have the op- portunity to save your project.

By choosing File->Save your finder window will pop-up with the files original file name. You can then choose to change
or keep the orignial file name, as well as select the file type. You can save as a .tiff, .jpg, .png, or as a .pfxl file. The .pfxl file will be the only file format that will save your layers as a form of non-destructive editing. You an also use the shortcut keys Cntrl+S (Cmnd+S for Mac) to launch your Save Finder window.
By choosing File -> Save As, you will have all of the same op- tions as File->Save, but the file name will be blank, allowing for you to save it as your own unique file name. You can also use the shortcut keys Cntrl+Shift+S (Cmnd+Shift+S for Mac) to launch your Save As Finder window.

Our developers are hard at work on the photoFXlab™ update and that should be available very soon! It seems that there is still some user curiosity regarding the benefits of the program how it can help improve the Topaz workflow. Let’s take a look at the unique program features to help you understand the purpose and how it might be helpful to your Topaz workflow…

photoFxlab™ is a dedicated workspace that connects you to all of your Topaz programs and features simple enhancement tools. In addition convenience and added flexibility, it also offers:

1. Instant access (via a searchable library) to your Adjust, Detail, Simplify, Clean, B&W Effects and Lens Effects presets – without having to invoke the plug-ins. Instead of going to Filter -> Topaz Labs and selecting a program then applying a preset you can simply scroll through the preset library and instantly apply the preset effect to your image.

2. A layered workflow and built-in masking tool with edge aware technology – this masking tool is integrated with the program and does not require you to own or use ReMask. It is also handy for quick masking and blending jobs.

3. Selective adjustments brush with edge aware technology (previously only available in Adjust and B&W Effects). Quickly brush in detail/smoothing, dodge/burn and color in saturation.

4. Easy-to-use sliders for color/tone (the dynamic slider is my favorite – reminds of a “quick & lite” version of Adjust)

5. The new InstaTone tool.

For those using Lightroom, iPhoto and Aperture, you will also be able to access the ReMask program as well. Also, since photoFXlab™ works as a stand alone, it gives you the option to quickly edit with your topaz programs without having to open Photoshop or your other editing programs.

Ok, so hopefully by now you’ve all heard about the new photoFXlab™ workspace that will soon be added to the Topaz lineup! This workspace offers full access to all of the Topaz plug-ins (including ReMask™ and instantly connects you to all of the Topaz effects (from Adjust™, Simplify™, Clean™, Detail™ and B&W Effects™) in a searchable library. Featuring a layered workflow with masking capabilities, selective enhancement brushes with edge-aware technology and a fun new way to InstaTone™ your images, photoFXlab™ is the new way to experience Topaz.

photoFXlab™ was designed to better integrate your Topaz plug-ins with convenient selective adjustment capabilities and offer a more streamlined workflow. It’s great for users that:

– Like the selective adjustment brush in Topaz Adjust™ 5 and Topaz B&W Effects™ – photoFXlab™ has it’s own selective adjustment brush and it features edge aware technology.

– Use Aperture, iPhoto or Lightroom – now they have the ability to use ReMask™

– Want to explore all the presets from Topaz effect programs without having to open each Topaz plug-in

– Want to instantly apply tone to an image – inspired by the unique tones found in

– Want to make quick edits with Topaz without opening their full host programs

(If you missed the sneak peek webinar then be sure to check out photoFXlab™ Sneak Peek to get caught up to speed!)

Like with all new releases, there is already lots of excitement flowing in from our awesome users…which also means lots of questions! So I’m going to keep you all well-informed by giving you the answers to the 10 most asked questions about photoFXlab™.

Q1. When will photoFXlab™ be available?
I don’t have an exact date but it should be available sometime this month 🙂

Q2. Can I get a free copy?
A2. Yes, there will be chances to win! Be sure to sign up for intro webinars once the new photoFXlab™ program is released. During the webinars we will be giving away some free copies to a few lucky attendees. Just sign up for an intro webinar for your chance to win! You can sign up on our webinars page:

Q3. Will there be a free 30-day trial?
Yes, as with all of our other Topaz programs there will also be a free, fully-functional 30-day trial. No watermarks or limitations (other than the 30 day limit)

Q4. Will it be added to the bundle?
No, photoFXlab™ is an optional workspace – not an enhancement plug-in – and will not be added to the bundle.

Q5. What’s the compatibility requirements?
photoFXlab™ will be available for both Mac OSX 10.6+ and Windows XP and above (32-bit and 64-bit). If using as a plug-in, you will need CS3 and above, PSE6 and above, Aperture 2 or 3, Lightroom 2-4 or iPhoto. Compatibility for Irfanview, Serif and PSP TBA.

Q6. Let’s talk price…what’s it going to be?
As with all new releases, there will be a special limited-time introductory price for photoFXlab™ when it is released. That special release price is currently set to be $29.99.

Q7. Will there be an upgrade price for current customers?
This new workspace is not an upgrade, so there will not be an upgrade price. Anyone interested in adding this tool to their Topaz collection will be able to take advantage of the special limited-time release discount.

Q8. Do I have to own the bundle to use/purchase this program? You do Not have to own the bundle to use the new photoFXlab™ program. It will recognize your licensed Topaz software and allow you to continue using them in your current host program or in this new workspace. If you don’t own a specific Topaz program they will still be listed but grayed out and its associated presets will be available for preview only. However you can always add any programs that you don’t have at anytime.

Q9. Do I have to own a Topaz program to use the presets?
All of the effect presets will be listed in the preset effects panel on the left. If you don’t own the Topaz program that a set of presets are associated with then you will only be able to preview those effects. In order to apply those preset effects to your image you would need to purchase the Topaz program that they are associated with. (Also, you can always sign up for a free 30-day trial of that Topaz plug-in program to test them out first)

Q10. Do I have to own a Topaz ReMask™ to use the tools in the masking tab?
Nope! The built in masking tool is part of the photoFXlab™ program. You do not have to own or use the ReMask™ program in order to take advantage of the awesome masking technology.

To receive the release newsletter once the program is out be sure to sign up for the Topaz Newsletter at: