Getting familiar with new software can sometimes be taxing, but being in the know can make the transition much easier. So, after talking to thousands and thousands of new and seasoned Topaz users, I came up with the top ten things that every Topaz newbie should know before getting started.
This information should answer some basic questions that you have and can also help you skip some of the most common troubleshooting issues that come up…that way you can jump right into working with the programs and creating beautiful images.
1. Topaz programs are plug-ins. They are Not stand alone programs. This means that you will need to have a compatible host program (like Photoshop) in order to use them. They will be accessible from your Filter menu.
If you don’t have Photoshop that’s OK…there are free programs like Irfanview (for Windows users) and iPhoto (for Mac users) that are also compatible with Topaz. See here for detailed compatibility information.
2. Each of the Topaz programs are easy-to-use and don’t have a steep learning curve. So, you don’t have to be a pro at all….Topaz is easy enough to use for beginners yet flexible enough for pros to also integrate into their workflow. Most of our users enjoy the 1-click preset workflow…you may find that works great for you as well. We do offer a free, fully-functional, 30-day trial (so don’t be pressured to buy). I would encourage you to sign up for that so that you can check out the software to see exactly how it works and how easy it is to use. Sign up online at: http://www.topazlabs.com/downloads
3. Workflow order. When it comes to using Topaz programs, there is no right or wrong order. It is entirely up to you how and when to incorporate Topaz into your workflow. The programs are designed to be flexible, so that you can ingrate them into any existing workflow and use them in the order that works best for you. Generally, it is best to use your noise reduction first to make sure you have a clean image and then make additional enhancements from there. Learn more…
4. When you go to install any of the Topaz programs be sure that Photoshop (or your other host program) is closed. If Topaz does not show up in Photoshop or if you get a message that says: “File not found” please restart Photoshop and then try accessing Topaz again. Still don’t see Topaz? Try my setup trick.
5. iPhoto, Aperture and Lightroom users can also use Topaz plug-ins in their workflows.
You Must install Topaz Fusion Express in Addition to the individual Topaz programs (or bundle) that you want to use. iPhoto and Lightroom users will need to configure Fusion Express as the external editor for their host program before using Topaz. Get the details here.
Important: Please carefully follow the setup instructions. Mac users Must First go to their Macintosh HD. Windows users Must go to the Common Files folder.
Also, you can use Topaz in more than one host program on the same computer. So if you have Photoshop and Lightroom (or any other combination) then feel free to enjoy the programs in any of your workflows!
a) There is not an image open. Please open an image and then you will be able to select the plug-in
b) The image must be in a supported color mode, i.e. 8-bit RGB or 16-bit RGB. It won’t work with, for example, grayscale or 32-bit images. So open up an RGB image and it’ll activate in the menu (along with most of the other filters).
c) Check your layers palette to be sure that the image layer and Not an adjustment layer is selected.
7. Your trial (or purchased license key) will be entered into the program After you install. To enter your key, open up the Topaz program in Photoshop and go to Menu -> Enter Key. Enter your name in the top field and your key in the field below. Your key should be 30 digit long and in this format: “xxxxxx-xxxxxx-xxxxxx-xxxxxx-xxxxxx”.
When you go to enter your key please click in the key field and press Ctrl-A (CMD-A if you are on Mac) at the same time and then hit delete to make sure that absolutely nothing is in that key field before you paste in the key.
Also, please verify that you are entering the key in the “Activation Code” field and not the “Name” field as this is sometimes confusing.
If you are typing it in please make sure that you are entering the dashes – but it is always easier to just copy & paste.
8. Saving your image. After making adjustments in the Topaz program you will need to click “OK” to process your changes and save your image back to Photoshop. Then from there you can make additional adjustments or save your image in another file format. Clicking the “Save” button while in the Topaz program does NOT save your image. The Save button in Topaz is used for Saving presets. It will save a .tpp file which records your settings and creates a new preset. Preset files (.tpp) can not be opened outside of the Topaz program.
You can use the import/export buttons to share presets. To export a preset then you click on the preset and then select Export. It will allow you to save it to you desktop or any other file that you select. The import works the same way but in reverse. If you click on it it will allow you to navigate your computer to import a preset (that you created on another computer or got from a friend or colleague).
9. Snap allows you to take a “snapshot” of a group of settings…like a temporary preset.
Then you can use the Prev/Next button to quickly scroll through the snapshots you’ve taken. You can take up to 99 snap shots. Remember: Snapshots are only available during your workflow and exiting the program will eliminate your snapshots.
10. This one is specific to ReMask users – does your ReMask result still look like the original with the background? After you save your masked image back to Photoshop it will have a transparent background. If you have a duplicate layer underneath the masked layer then you will still be able to see it. You will need to make the original layer invisible or put something in between the masked layer and the original layer so that you can see the cutout.
Have a question or issue not covered here? Let me know!