In this tutorial I will show you a useful workflow for creating a retro looking image. We’ll start with the following procedure:

  1. Apply one-click, darkroom inspired effects to the image at reduced transparencies.
  2. Use the Tone module within Adjust to create a new & unique, retro look.

So follow along and find out how you can achieve a stylized effect using Topaz Adjust!

Initial Image

Here is the image I’ll be working with for this demo. It was captured at Mayfield Park in Austin, Texas. You may download this image in the resources to the right to follow along (the download also includes 20 new Adjust presets…instructions on how to import these new presets are included at the end of the tutorial).

Create a Retro Effect with Topaz Adjust

Camera settings are as follows:

  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Lens: EF70-200mm f/4L USM
  • Focal Length: 70mm
  • Exposure: 1/500 sec at f/4.0
  • ISO: 2000
  • HDR Natural Mode with +3 EV

Overall the image has a lovely composition, however something still feels incomplete. Perhaps it’s the plain, white-washed color of the branches & bark that is calling its name for a style makeover. Using presets in Adjust, we can add some oomph to this image.

Step 1: Applying Presets in Adjust

We’ll start by browsing through the Film and Toned Collections. Each of these collections contain darkroom inspired presets that can help you achieve a stylized, retro effect.

  • To start, navigate to Collections on the left side of the interface and click on the Film Collection to expand its list of presets.
  • This Collection contains a variety of darkroom inspired presets, like cross-processing, a creative technique that was discovered after developing film in the wrong chemicals.

  • To create these presets, the Tone module (under Finishing Touches on the right side of the interface) was used to simulate retro processes. We’ll take an in-depth look at this in Step 2 of this tutorial.

Tone Module in Adjust

  • As you can see, there are a lot of options to choose from. Rather than clicking on each preset, let’s view them in grid view mode to compare and contrast (a new feature in Adjust 5.1).

  • To access grid view mode, click on the tiny 3×3 square icon adjacent to the presets.Grid View Mode

  • As you are browsing, keep in the back of your mind that if the effect appears too strong, you can always expand the Finishing Touches panel on the right side of the screen and reduce the Transparency of the effect later on.
Create a Retro Effect with Topaz AdjustFilm Collection in grid view mode
  • Should you find a preset you really like and might use again, click on the star icon to “favorite” it, adding the preset to your Favorites folder.
  • There are a few presets that really stand out to me for this particular image: Cross Process II, Retro Style III, Retro Style IV, Timeless III and Tungsten Film in Daylight.

How will I ever choose? I went ahead and favorited each of these presets by clicking on the star and then returned back to my home screen to access the Favorites collection.

Create a Retro Effect with Topaz AdjustThe preset Timeless III has really caught my eye…just look at the before and after:

Create a Retro Effect with Topaz AdjustI love this look, however I still want to aim for other interesting, retro looks. In that case, let’s apply several filters on top one of another at reduced transparencies to create something new & unique.

  • Start by applying Cross Process II (or a similar filter) to your image.
  • Go to Finishing Touches-> Transparency to adjust the overall transparency of the applied effect, as it may appear too strong.Create a Retro Effect with Topaz Adjust
  • Be sure to press the Apply button (bottom right corner of the interface) before moving onto the next applied preset, or else the settings will be lost.  Create a Retro Effect with Topaz Adjust
  • Apply the Tungsten Film in Daylight I preset to the image with a transparency of 0.70 and press Apply.
  • You may also decide to check out the Toned collection, which contains more presets to help you achieve the retro or vintage style. Just be sure to reduce the transparency should the effect be too strong.
  • I applied the Mint preset to this image and set the transparency to 0.80 and pressed Apply.
Create a Retro Effect with Topaz AdjustToned Collection in grid view mode


  • Press OK when finished to return back to your host editor.

Here’s the final result after stacking several one-click presets on top of one another at reduced transparencies:

Create a Retro Effect with Topaz Adjust

Step 2: Tone Module

If you do not find a preset that suits your taste to par, use the tone module in Adjust for selective toning. Let’s now take a look at this tone module within Adjust, the magic behind these Film and Toned presets. Take your original, unedited image back into Adjust and apply a preset. The preset Timeless III will be used for this demo.

Create a Retro Effect with Topaz AdjustTo understand what’s going on within the preset itself, expand the Tone module under Finishing Touches. You’ll notice 4 different Color Regions:

Create a Retro Effect with Topaz Adjust

  • Look at Color Region 1. It is black and is set at 9.60. This is the the low end of the 0-255 tonal range scale (0 = pure black, 255 = pure white).
  • This scale represents value, or shades of gray, from the lightest end, to the darkest end of the spectrum. Create a Retro Effect with Topaz Adjust
  • Color Region 4 is off-white, affecting the highlights at 238.55.
  • Color Region 2, the deep purple, is set at 83.63. This affects the darker midtones within the image.
  • Color Region 3, the yellow ochre, is set at 186.45 and is affecting the lighter midtones.
  • You may adjust any of these colors for ultimate control. For instance, should you want to change the purple in Region 2 to blue, simply click on the color swatch to pick a new color.
  • You can then adjust this color’s value in the tones of your image, whether you want it to affect the highlights, midtones or shadows on the 0-255 scale.
  • Try experimenting with these sliders to see what you can create.
  • If you make something you like, save the preset by clicking this icon Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 9.25.19 AM above the Menu in the bottom left corner.How to save a preset in Adjust
  • Then click Save to save your custom preset into whichever collection you wish to store it under.

Create a Retro Effect with Topaz Adjust

Final Thoughts

  • Stacking presets is a great way to achieve a variety of unique results in Topaz Adjust. By mixing and matching different presets at reduced opacities, I was able to produce a variety of different results.
  • For a personalized, retro look, using the Tone module is key.
  • Don’t forget, you can always return back to the selective parameters and adjust the exposure, color, details, etc. for even more control.
  • Another secret weapon is the Warmth slider under Finishing Touches, which controls the temperature of your image.
  • To finalize the look, be sure to check out the Vignette and Grain modules under Finishing Touches.

Importing New Presets

To wrap up this tutorial, 20 new Adjust presets have been created and are available for download in the resources to the right, along with the sample image used in this demo.

Important: Before importing presets, please make sure that you have updated your version of Adjust to the latest version (5.1). You may download the most recent update from our downloads page. These presets were created with version 5.1 and will not import into older versions of the software. 

How to import presets:

  • Download the file to the right. In the folder you’ll find 20 presets with .tpp extensions.
  • To Import the preset, Open Topaz Adjust and navigate to the collection you wish to import the preset into.
  • Above the Menu in the bottom left corner, click on this icon Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 9.25.19 AM and then select Import.
  • Navigate to the file you just downloaded and select the preset you wish to import.
  • After you press OK or Open, the preset should then appear in the Collection.

Please note that this method only allows for the import of one preset at a time. Should you wish to import everything at once, you’ll need to navigate to the Adjust 5 installation location. There will be a presets folder that contains each collection and you can drag the new presets here. Depending on your operating system, the presets folder will be located in one of these destinations:


  1. Navigate to Computer -> MacHD -> Library – > Application Support -> Topaz Labs -> “Adjust 5” -> Presets.
  2. Copy and paste the presets or drag them over to this destination (you’ll want to put them into the correct Collections folder).

  1. Navigate to (32Bit machines) C: Program Files Topaz Labs “Adjust 5” Presets, (64Bit machines) C: Program Files (x86) Topaz Labs “Adjust 5” Presets.
  2. Double click on the Presets folder and create a new Collections folder.Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 7.48.56 PM
  3. Copy and paste the presets or drag them over into this folder.

Here’s the list of presets included in this package and the Collections they are intended to be placed under, although you may place them into whichever collection you desire (or you may create a new collection to place them under):

Toned Collection

  • Amethyst
  • Burnt Umber
  • Celeste
  • Deep Saffron
  • Hunter Green
  • Jasmine
  • Mulberry
  • Periwinkle
  • Sapphire
  • Space Cadet Blue
  • Turquoise
  • Split Tone VII
  • Vintage II
  • Vintage III

Film Collection

  • Cross Process VI
  • Lomo IV
  • Retro Style V

HDR Collection

  • Dynamic Natural
  • Landscape Pop
  • Landscape Pop II

Thanks for reading and enjoy!

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Download the Resources
  • Download the Sample Image + 20 New Adjust Presets!


  1. Kevin Weinert

    This still seems to be a problem. I was able to upload these presets in an earlier version of Adjust, but the current version does not do anything with them, nor does it even generate a message after it does not import them. Too bad, I like these a lot.

  2. Susan Liepa

    After upgrading to Adjust 5.1, the Retro Collecttion and presets appear in Adjust and work correctly.

  3. Paul Tyrrell

    I must apologise I have PSE 10 and 11 not 12.
    I have installed the new “free” presets from the one explanation from Darcy, it didn’t show up immediately but was there within 5 to 10 seconds.

    I have now opened and run adjust 5.1 perfectly on:
    Photo FX Lab
    PS CC 2014
    PS CC
    CS6 Extended
    Lightroom 5.6
    Lightroom 4.3
    PSE 10
    PSE 11
    Aperture 3.5.1.

    There’s only 40 comments and 4 are mine, there will always be a computer that won’t accept something but this is “free” and working perfectly for me, Try shutting all your photographic software down and loading it again.
    Thanks for the FREE upgrade to Adjust 5.1 and these lovely FREE new setting my fav Topaz Rock Stars, from Paul Down under

  4. Paul Tyrrell

    OK I had the .tpp files that were blank white pages too but I have now gone through and third on my Mid 2012 rMPB, i7, 16GB Ram, all of my software is up to date.
    PS CC 2014 fine,
    Aperture 3, perfect via fusion express 2
    Lightroom 5.6, perfect via fusion express 2
    PSE 12 perfect

  5. Paul Tyrrell

    I just copy and pasted them on a rMBP i7, Mavericks 10.9.4 and PS CC 2014

  6. Paul Tyrrell

    I just copy and pasted them on a rMBP i7, Mavericks 10.9.4.
    OK they weren’t there, so I looked in a few other preset galleries, came back to my collection and they we there and ready to go. Working perfectly.

    Cheers team, thanks and they’re a very nice mix of presets too. Just click off them to a least 2 different preset groups and they might come back for you too. 🙂


  7. Terry Nyman

    Yes, I’m using version 5.1 of Adjust. I did submit a ticket the other day after Darcy’s reply.

  8. Ged Stankus

    I just installed the Adjust 5.1 update and now when I open it with PS 6 and click the apply button, I get a pop-up window that tells me Topaz Adjust quit unexpectedly???
    However the effect that I applied appears to have been applied.
    I’m on MAC 10.6.8
    All my other Topaz filters appear to still be working properly.

  9. pat

    I’m on a Mac 10.9.4 – I downloaded the presets as prescribed and placed them in the appropriate folders in Adjust. Oddly, I find the new Adjust presets if I edit a photo in LR5 configured to use Topaz Fusion. However, if I edit a photo in Photoshop Elements 11 using TopazFX, none of the new Adjust presets appear – very confusing!

  10. Win Winsborrow

    Here is the problem I am having with this Download package. Using an iMac , Mavericks 10.9.1 – the download zip folder unzips the files into “Adjust Preset Package” with files extension of .tpp, just as they should be. However when I check all my existing Presets in Topaz Adjust 5, they are showing as a tpp extension, but are “Unix Executable Files” (EXEC) and these work just fine. Copying your .tpp files shows up as a “Document” and not “EXEC “files as they should be within Adjust 5 presets to work.
    Need to know how to correct this.

    • Carl Brauer

      I had the same issue and eventually had to import the presets individually directly in

    • Corey

      Exact same issue here in Mavericks 10.9.4.

      Like Carl, I had to import the presets one at a time from within Adjust.

  11. Hervé Gomanne

    Well, manually adding or modifying files in the “C:\Program Files” directory (or equivalent) usually won’t work well under Windows Vista+
    You need administrator privileges to do that, but even then the UAC (Windows security mechanism) will interfer : when you launch the program Windows will replace the modified or added files with it’s own, so you won’t see the new files, and the old ones will not have any modification.
    The best (but slowest) method is to import them within the plugin : the new files/folders may not appear under a file explorer if the plugin is not running, but Windows will put or update them whenever the plugin is launched.
    Another solution is to install the plugin outside of the “program” directory, to gain right of access on it (but doing this you also loose some Windows functionnalities on it, like save points).

  12. Jonathan

    I’m running this on a Mac i7 running the latest OS X and I copied the presets into the Topaz 5 preset folder. They are not showing up in Adjust and I am updated to Adjust 5.1.

    • Darcy Wheeler

      I’d advise creating a new Collection in the Collections folder and placing them there. You can also import them one at a time by opening Adjust and clicking on the icon above the Menu in the bottom left corner. You can find more elaborated instructions at the end of this article.

      Hope this helps.

    • Jonathan

      Unfortunately, the presets won’t show up if I create a new folder or drag the new folder into an existing collection like My Collection. They are in the target folder, but won’t show up in Adjust. I’m opening adjust via Fusion from LR 5.6.

    • charlie

      Same issue for me. I created new preset folder, drug and dropped, but cant Adjust to see the new folder/collection at all. Have opened and closed many times. I imported into My Collections and they all imported, then disappeared totally. I started to import again and it says they already exists. But where?

  13. Tricia Hallenbeck

    I too have downloaded the presets. I use Paint Shop Pro X5 on Windows 8.1.1. I copied/pasted them into the correct folders. However they do not show up when I open Topaz Adjust. I am running version 5.1 of Adjust. I rebooted and tried again and same result. None of the new ones appear in their respective folders.

    So…decided to import them even though they were already copied once. I saw there was a “My Collection” folder in the list so I imported them into that. Closed PSP down and then restarted it and they still are there and they work fine! So importing worked where as copy/paste did not. Either way they are there and I love em and thank you!

    • Darcy Wheeler

      You might try creating a new Collection folder and placing those plugins into it. They should then appear in 5.1. I’ve updated the instructions above to include a screen-capture if needed.

  14. Sharon O'Rourke

    I have a Mac with Snow Leopard 10.6.8. I followed the instructions…updated Adjust to 5.1, put the Retro Presets in the folder containing all the other presets. I can’t seen to import them via the import button in Adjust. The name of the folder appears in Adjust but there are no files present when I try to load them. All the presets appear to be present in the folder itself that I placed with the other preset folders.

  15. Marie

    I am having the same problem with the presets and I have updated to 5.1. The presets show up in the destination folder but not within the adjust module, however I created a new collection and moved the new presets to the collection I created and they do show up and are usable from the new collection.

    • Darcy Wheeler

      Try creating a new Collections folder under Presets and they should then appear in 5.1.

  16. Corey

    When I download and import the new presets, they appear with the .tpp file extension like the other presets, except the “Kind” of file in the info pane is “Document” and not “Unix Executable File” that the other Topaz extensions show. None of the new presets appear in Photoshop. (I’m working on an iMac.)

    • Darcy Wheeler

      These presets are for Adjust only and will not work in Photoshop. You can either import them from within Adjust by clicking on the icon above the Menu in the bottom left corner and then clicking “Import”. The preset will then import into whichever collection you have open.

      Or you can try moving them over manually as described above my Marie and at the end of this tutorial.

    • Win Winsborrow

      That is the same problem I am having on Mac Mavericks OS X 10.9.1, see my post of 8-22-2014

    • Corey

      Thanks for the response, Darcy. Like some others here, I had to import the presets one at a time from within Adjust. (I’m working in Mavericks 10.9.4.)

  17. Peter Volz

    I have encountered the same problem. I cut and pasted the presets in the proper preset folders but when I started Adjust 5.1 the new presets do not show up in the program. I am running Photoshop CS4 and windows 7

    • Darcy Wheeler

      Do these presets import manually? To import manually, open Adjust and click on the icon above the Menu and then click “Import”. The preset should then import into whichever collection you have open.

      Or you can try what Marie mentioned above – she created a new collection and moved the presets there.

      Hope this helps.

  18. Larrylee

    Must be really hurting for subject matter out there in Tex. We need to send them some of the rain from east Tenn. to green things up out there. That shot would look better using Topaz B&W: Larry

    • Darcy Wheeler

      Thanks for the feedback. This image was ideal to use as a toning example, however will try to use a more interesting subject next time. 🙂

  19. Sabine

    I learned that for using the presets I need Topaz Adjust 5.1.
    I own Topaz Adjust 5.0 – is there a possibility to upgrade for free or do I have to buy a higher version?


      all upgrades are free,just go to web site

  20. Carl Brauer

    Can you import the presets on a Mac if you are using photoFXlab and Aperture?

    • Darcy Wheeler

      Yes, I’ve included instructions at the end of this article on how to import the presets. Doesn’t matter which host editor you are using as these presets are specific to Adjust only. The easiest way to import is to open Adjust and then click on the icon above the Menu (bottom left corner) and then click Import.

      You can only import one preset at a time this way, so if you want to import everything at once, see the end of the article for instructions on how to do this.

  21. Bill Milner

    Not using Elements but had no trouble with PS CS5 64 bit. Just created a new folder in the Adjust 5 presets folder called downloads and drug and dropped the new ones in. Open PS, open a new image and started Adjust. When I went to the new folder “downloads at first nothing was there but gave it a minute and went back to another collection then back to the download collection and all were there and worked fine. As I said this is not Elements so there could be an issue there. Just reporting that it wasn’t a problem in CS5.

    • Bill Milner

      Should have added – Windows 7 64 bit.

  22. Peter Costich

    I imported the new presets using the “(64Bit machines) C: Program Files (x86) Topaz Labs “Adjust 5″ Presets.
    Copy and paste the presets or drag them over to this destination (be sure to place them into a certain Collections folder).” method,
    All presets appear in the Collections folders as suggested however, when using Adjust5 in conjunction Adobe PhotoShop Elements 9, none of the new presets appear in the designated Collection folders.
    Attempting to import files individually from the Presets folder results in a Windows 7 error message “Adjust5 has stopped working….”
    What am I doing wrong?

    • Darcy Wheeler

      This may be an uncaught bug in the program. I’m on a Mac currently and did not experience any issues when importing presets, however it may have been undetected with the Windows version. Will try and get on a Windows system tomorrow to see if I can repeat the issue and report it to our development team.

      I encourage you to submit a ticket here explaining what has happened:

      We’ll then investigate the issue tomorrow to see if this is a bug that needs to be resolved. Thanks for your understanding and hope to get this fixed soon.

    • Roberto


    • Terry Nyman

      I have the same problem on a 64 bit Windows 7 machine with Photoshop CC 2014

    • Darcy Wheeler

      Have you guys updated Adjust to version 5.1 yet? If working with older versions they will not import. I suggest you submit a ticket reporting this incapability to import presets.

    • Susan Liepa

      I am using Lightroom 5.6 on Windows 7 service pack 1. I created a new Retro Collection folder under “(64Bit machines) C: Program Files (x86) Topaz Labs “Adjust 5 Presets” then copied in the downloaded presets. Opened LR, then Adjust 5 (x86). The new Retro Collection folder did not appear not did the presets. Then tried importing the downloaded presets into existing Adjust 5 Collection folder but the presets did not appear. Tried restarting LR as well as Adjust 5 and tried copying/importing the presets several times. No luck. I did not receive any error messages in Adjust 5. Adjust 5 worked correctly except the new folder/presets never appeared. No reply necessary, just thought I’d add my experience to the queue.

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