Topaz Detail’s precise, incremental detail control is made possible by the pre-processing that each image goes through to break it down into multiple, controllable, detail levels.  Many users often wonder if it is necessary to adjust every slider in the detail tab when editing their images. The answer is no.  While you do not need to use every slider in the detail tab, it is important to have an understanding of how the detail and boost sliders work to get the best results for your image.

So, as you’ve already discovered, Topaz Detail is not only great for detail enhancement, but also for detail removal as well.  I like to think of the program as more of a detail intensity filter, by which you can increase or lessen the intensity of details in your image.  By lowering the detail sliders you can remove distracting or non-essential details, and by completely removing the details you can end up with a very soft, almost painterly effect.  Removing detail can also slightly blur your image so be sure to not over do it.

Above you will see an example of the effects that the detail and boost sliders can have an on image.
Now, the Small, Medium and Large detail sliders are your main controls and are generally the best starting point for your adjustments.  The main detail sliders allow you to control the intensity of strongest large, medium and small details in your image.  I like to think of the detail sliders as applying a heavier effect, whereas the boost sliders apply a more intricate and detailed effect.

The boost controls are used to refine the smaller (or weaker) small, medium and large details and are relative to the settings of their corresponding detail sliders.  The higher the setting of the detail slider is the more intense the effects of the boost slider will be. You will generally see more details (in number) affected when you adjust the boost sliders.  One thing to keep in mind when working with the sliders in the Detail tab is that over-applying the main detail slider and its associated boost slider can result in a very unpleasant, harsh-looking effect.

The last thing I will leave you with is a few tips on how I use some of the detail sliders in my workflow…which you may also find helpful. So, occasionally you may notice that in the process of enhancing detail your image may appear slightly grainy or noisy. This occurs because the smallest details present in your image are being enhanced and begin to stand out more. To counteract this, simply lower the Small Boost slider and it will remove the noise-like details and smooth out your image in a pleasant way. You can easily add the appearance of depth to your image by increasing the Large Detail slider; this can also intensify shadow areas.

This post was originally posted on October 22, 2010
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