If looking for a unique way to distinguish intricate details such as fur and feathers, look no further than Topaz Glow. Follow along to learn how to emphasize the smaller features in your image, making them crisper and sharper than before. If you don’t already own Glow, download a free 30-day trial of Topaz Glow.

Before we get started, if you noticed that there is a distracting element in your photograph, check out this tutorial, Enhancing Macro Photographyon how to remove it, then head back here to enhance the details of your image!

Feathers Enhancement

In the image below, I can already tell that the feathers could use more depth and definition. Download this image under Resources in the top right to follow along.

How to Emphasize Intricate Details

Step 1: From Photoshop (or by using Glow as a standalone editor), bring the image into Topaz Glow.

Step 2: Choose the Fur and Feathers collection from the top pull-down menu.

How to Emphasize Intricate DetailsStep 3: Choose one of the presets. For this demo, I selected Fur and Feathers IIOnce you select the effect, you will see it automatically applied to your image.

How to Emphasize Intricate Details

Step 4: Reduce the opacity of the effect, if desired. The Strength slider can be found in the bottom left corner of the interface.

How to Emphasize Intricate Details

Here’s a view of the image at a reduced strength of 60%:

How to Emphasize Intricate Details

Step 5: You may find that you don’t want the effect applied over the entire image. For example, you may want the effect to only be applied to the bird and not the background. You can conduct layer masking if you want. You can either use Topaz Glow’s integrated masking which is located at the bottom of the adjustment panel, or you can import your edit back into Photoshop to mask there.

Step 6: Once you are satisfied with your edit, if you are using Glow as a Standalone click File > Save As… and choose an appropriate file name and location. If you are using Photoshop, click OK to import your edit back into Photoshop.

Tip: To Mask out some of the Glow Effect in Photoshop:

  1. With the layer selected, go to Layer -> Layer Mask -> Hide All. This will add a black layer mask to the layer, removing the Glow effect.
  2. Press B to access your brush.
  3. In your tool bar, make sure that the white paintbrush is on top. You can press the X key to toggle between black (hide) and white (reveal).
  4. Reduce the opacity of the brush if desired, then start to brush the Glow effect back into the eagle only.
  5. If you make a mistake, simply press X to toggle back to black to remove the effect.
  6. You can then make a stamp copy layer (ctrl + shift + alt + e or cmd + shift + opt + e). This will allow you to flatten your result into a single layer without merging all the layers together. That way, you can continue working on the image without the layer mask getting in the way.

Fur Enhancement

Here is another image that isn’t as sharp as it could be. Let’s take it into Topaz Glow to see how it can be improved.

How to Emphasize Intricate Details

Step 1: Again we are going to be using Topaz Glow. You can choose to use Glow as a plugin or as a standalone. If you have forgotten how to open Topaz Glow as a plugin, the instructions are listed above.

Step 2: Choose a preset from the Fur and Feathers collection. For this image, I chose Whisker Wires III.

How to Emphasize Intricate Details

Step 3: The effect is a little strong for my taste, so reduce the strength to around 40% or less.

How to Emphasize Intricate Details

Step 4: Again, you may not want the Glow effect applied over the entire image. You can conduct layer masking to quickly remove the Glow effect from the background. You can either use Topaz Glow’s integrated masking which is located at the bottom of the adjustment panel, or you can import your edit back into Photoshop to mask there.

Step 5: Once you are satisfied with your edit, if you are using Glow as a Standalone click File > Save As… and choose an appropriate file name and location. If you are using Photoshop, click OK to import your edit back into Photoshop.

Tip: To Mask out some of the Glow Effect in Photoshop:

  1. With the layer selected, go to Layer -> Layer Mask -> Hide All. This will add a black layer mask to the layer, removing the Glow effect.
  2. Press B to access your brush.
  3. In your tool bar, make sure that white paintbrush is on top. You can press the X key to toggle between black (hide) and white (reveal).
  4. Reduce the opacity of the brush if desired, then start to brush the Glow effect back into the dog only.
  5. If you make a mistake, simply press X to toggle back to black to remove the effect.
  6. You can then make a stamp copy layer (ctrl + shift + alt + e or cmd + shift + opt + e). This will allow you to flatten your result into a single layer without merging all the layers together. That way, you can continue working on the image without the layer mask getting in the way.

How to Emphasize Intricate Details

Step 6: Here is the final before and after. Subtle, yet effective.

How to Emphasize Intricate Details

Macro

When used lightly, Topaz Glow can help emphasize macro shots, including flowers and other intricate details.

How to Emphasize Intricate Details

Step 1: Open your image in Topaz Glow. You can use Photoshop or use Topaz Glow as a standalone.

Step 2: Apply a preset from the Fur and Feathers collection. For this demo I have chosen Fur and Feathers III.

How to Emphasize Intricate Details

Step 3: Reduce the strength of the effect as desired, then try applying a blending mode (adjacent to the Strength slider). For this example, I have chosen to apply a Screen blending mode.

How to Emphasize Intricate Details

Step 4: If you wish to make additional adjustments to the image inside of Glow, press P to access the selective parameters.

Step 5: Once you are satisfied with your edit, if you are using Glow as a Standalone click File > Save As… and choose an appropriate file name and location. If you are using Photoshop, click OK to import your edit back into Photoshop.

Step 6: To further sharpen the flower, try bringing it into Topaz Detail, where output sharpening can be applied. But before applying output sharpening, be sure that the image is at its final output size.

Step 7: To apply output sharpening, simply increase the Small Details slider to around 0.10 or so. You may need to zoom into 100% to view the changes more accurately.

How to Emphasize Intricate Details

Step 8: If you start to notice noise appear, try reducing the Small Details Boost slider to a negative value.

Here is the final before and after:

How to Emphasize Intricate Details

Summary

The technology in Glow can help bring out the hidden lines and light in your image. When applied selectively, you can use the techniques demonstrated in this tutorial to bring out intricate details in certain areas of your image.

If we haven’t quite sold you on the awesome power of Topaz Glow, don’t worry! We let you try before you buy. Download a free 30-day trial of Topaz Glow.

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