One of the cool things about Topaz that you might not know is that you can also edit and enhance your video footage. If you’ve ever seen those animated Charles Schwab commercials and thought: “that looks kind of cool!”, then you’ll be happy to know that you can also quickly and easily create some of those same effects on your own projects.

So, today I teamed up with our friend Greg and so we can show you how to apply your favorite Topaz imaging effects to video. I’ll start with a short overview to give you the basics of the workflow. Then we’ll look at a short video tutorial, created by Greg, so that you can see it in action. The most important thing to know, before you begin, is that this requires Photoshop Extended. You can use CS3 or above (Mac and Windows) but it will need to be the extended versions.

1. Start by opening your video footage. Go to File -> Open and select your video clip.

2. Go to your Layers Palette, select the Layer and right-click on it (CMD-click in you’re on Mac) and select “Convert it to a Smart Object”…which will apply your Topaz filter adjustments to every frame of your video.

3. Go to Window -> Animation. Click the “Play” button and you can see your video play. You can also select a specific frame as well if you’d like.

4. Go to Filter -> Topaz Labs and select a Topaz program

5. Select a preset or make manual adjustments to create the desired effects.

6. Once you are happy with your adjustments click OK save it back to Photoshop.

7. Go to File -> Export to save your video with your Topaz adjustments.

And that’s it! You now have a way to quickly and creatively enhance your video footage!

If you want to see it in action then checkout this quick video tutorial on editing your video footage with Topaz.

This post was originally posted on November 12, 2010

What is the easiest way to boost or lower the effect of a preset on my image?

Presets are a fun and useful feature included in most of the Topaz programs. Presets affect each image differently and don’t always work for every image, but they are still great to use as starting points for your adjustments. Occasionally you may apply preset and be immediately satisfied with the results, however most times additional tweaking will need to be done.

There are a couple of ways that you can easily boost or lower the effect of presets on your image.

Original Image
The easiest, and most basic, way to do this of course would be to increase or decrease the sliders.  However, sometimes your image may need just a little more or just a little less. I want to show you two additional ways to do this.

Processed once in Adjust
To boost the effects of a preset you can run your image through the Topaz filter twice – there are two ways that you can do this. The first, which is used if you want to apply the exact same settings, would be to use your Photoshop shortcut to reapply the last used filter. To do this go to your Filter menu (after you’ve applied your first round of adjustments) and the very first menu option will be for the Topaz filter that you just used. Selecting this will automatically reapply the adjustments to your image – without reopening the Topaz program interface. You can also use your PS shortcut keys (CMD-F for Mac users or CTRL-F for Windows users) to reapply the adjustments as well.

Processed twice in Adjust
The second way, which is good just in case you want to make any slight adjustments, is to just invoke the Topaz program again. When the program opens it will automatically apply the last used settings to your image (which is also convenient when you want to process multiple images with the same settings).

Now, if you want to lower the effects of your applied adjustments we can use a second layer and Photoshop’s Opacity tool to achieve this. The first step is to process your image in Adjust using your desired settings. Once you are back in Photoshop go ahead and create a duplicate layer (of the one that was just processed) and then reapply the same adjustments to your image – use the CMD-F shortcut. Once your second layer is finished processing you can go to the Opacity feature, which will be located at the top of your layers palette and lower this setting. For this image I used a setting of 35%.

Two layers processed with the same Adjust settings. Top layer set to 35% opacity
And that’s it. Now you know two quick ways to boost and lower the effects of your preset settings on your images.

This post was originally posted on November 5, 2010

Dealing with artifacts in skies is a common question among new Adjust users. If you’re an avid Adjust user, you may have already noticed that Adjust can often enhance and over amplify any existing noise or artifacts in the image sky – rendering an over-textured, uneven and very blotchy look. Often, Adjust can also introduce new noise or artifacts into the sky as well. We receive many questions regarding this over-amplified characteristic of Adjust. So today I have a couple of great tricks that I routinely use in my workflow to make sure that my skies are clean, crisp and clear…hopefully you will find these useful to your workflow as well. So, let’s look at a common issue that I’m sure we’ve all run into before…

So my original image (shown below) is pretty dull and boring and could use some POP…which is Topaz Adjust’s specialty!

Now one of my favorite presets in Adjust is the “Detailed” preset…and when applied to this image it gives the field a crisp, detailed enhancement.

However, the sky on the other hand now looks very harsh and is overlain with artifacts and uneven color. (as seen below)

Now there are a couple of ways that we can correct this. The first, and most popular, is to process your image in Adjust in two separate selections. To do this, you would use your Photoshop Quick Selection tool (or equivalent) to isolate the sky in your image. Then invoke Topaz Adjust and make the desired adjustments to your sky and click OK to process. After that, you can select the inverse and process that in Adjust. For more details please see our Selective Adjustments Question of the Week.

Another way to achieve these same results would be to create two separate layers and merge the two using a Layer Mask. This method offers a little more flexibility in the event of any necessary changes after the fact.

1. Duplicate your original image layer in Photoshop.
2. Select the bottom layer and invoke Adjust.
3. Make your adjustments – focusing on the field and then click OK to process.
4. Select the duplicated layer and invoke Adjust again. Make your adjustments, but this time focus on the sky.

Remember that you will be blending the two layers together,so be sure to keep in mind your previous adjustments….for example, you may not want one part of your image to have a completely different hue or saturation from the other, unless that is your desired effect.

5. Once your adjustments are made to your second layer, click OK to process and save back to Photoshop.
6. Back in Photoshop you will click on the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of your Layers palette (it is the icon with the circle inside of the rectangle). This will add a Layer Mask to your sky layer.
7. Select a brush tool and set the brush color to black and then begin to brush through the field. This will bring in the field area from the bottom layer blending the two images.

Now, both of the methods described above work very well, however I want to show you another great technique that I use to avoid the Adjust-sky harshness while perfectly enhancing sky detail. This works best on images with clouds. So in this workflow you will notice two things: Both methods described above are incorporated and I also bring Topaz Detail into the mix. So let’s check it out…

1. Start by making a duplicate of the original layer.
2. Select the bottom layer and invoke Adjust.
3. Make your adjustments – focusing on the field and then click OK to process.
4. Select the duplicated layer.
5. Using your Photoshop Quick Selection Tool select the sky, but this time invoke Topaz Detail.

6. Increase the Medium and Large Detail sliders. This will enhance the clouds in a non-adrasive way.
7. Click OK to process your changes and save back to Photoshop.

So as you can see below you now have a better end result in your sky enhancement.

8. Back in Photoshop you will click on the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of your Layers palette (it is the icon with the circle inside of the rectangle). This will add a Layer Mask to your sky layer.
9. Select a brush tool and set the brush color to black and then begin to brush through the field. This will bring in the field area from the bottom layer blending the two images.

And here you have your finished image with both elements equally and beautifully enhanced.

This post was originally posted on October 29, 2010

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


Discount Extended! 20% Off Enhanced Plug-In Bundle!
New Topaz Photo Contest Announced

Enhanced Topaz Bundle, and individual Bundle products 20% off until 10/31/10! Free upgrade for existing users!

Extended Discount for Enhanced Plug-In Bundle

Hey Everybody! As you may already know, earlier this month we released our enhanced Plug-In Bundle (See here for new features). We were overwhelmed with the response and thank everyone for trying it out…we appreciate all the feedback! If you have not yet taken advantage of this free upgrade, learn more about how to upgrade your Topaz plug-ins (individual plug-ins and Plug-In Bundle).

And due to a large number of user requests, we are extending the current 20% discount on our Plug-In Bundle, as well individual Bundle programs, to October 31st, 2010 (Happy Halloween!). If you do not yet own one of the Topaz programs you’ve been testing out, there’s still plenty of time to take advantage of the exclusive discount offer. Just enter the coupon code “Enhanced” when purchasing. And remember you can always try before you buy with our 30-day free trials!

Learn more about our Plug-In Bundle or find out which product may be right for you!


Bob Towery, photographer and photo blog author

In January 2009, Bob Towery started a daily photographic blog, Dream Tomorrow, Live Today, Cherish Yesterday, with the goals of shooting more often and improving his skills through constructive feedback. Bob’s work first came to our attention when he began “Topaz Tuesday”, where each Tuesday he features an image creatively enhanced with various Topaz programs. Follow Topaz Tuesday (on our Facebook page or Bob’s blog) to learn new techniques, view some incredible before and after shots and read about Bob’s interesting stories behind each image. Be sure to let him know what you think!

Topaz Announcements

  • New Topaz Photo Contest – Check out our new photo contest, centered on unique creative perspectives. We are excited to see some new viewpoints, both literal and conceptual!
  • New and Improved Resources – With our new Learning Center, it is easier than ever to search for the exact resources you need, including user-guides, workflow tips and many useful tutorials. Is there something else you’d like to see there? Let us know! If you have any written or video tutorials you would like to share, please visit the appropriate tutorials page and click on submit…we would love to see your workflow!

Upcoming Events

Here’s a quick look at some of our upcoming events. We’d love for you to come out and see us!

  • October 28-30, 2010 – Photo Plus Expo – New York City
  • December 4-5, 2010 – ShowBiz Expo – Los Angeles
  • January 27-29, 2011 – Mac World – San Francisco

Thanks for reading and for using Topaz software. We look forward to continuing to provide you with timely updates and useful software. If you have any questions, thoughts or suggestions, join in on the conversation below!

This post was originally posted on October 20, 2010