Categories
Creative Tips Photo Editing Photoshop Special Offer Topaz Labs

Topaz Labs Black Friday Sale 2018

Save BIG with Topaz Labs Black Friday Sale 2018!

Ends November 26, 2018 at midnight.

Topaz Labs

Pro Pack

This is the last chance to get ahold of the Go Pro Bundle for 50% off your missing pro adjustments at an even steeper discount. Get the entire $634 worth of pro adjustments available for $250 through Cyber Monday. This is the last chance to take advantage of this awesome deal to save over 60% on the entire Pro Pack!

Topaz Labs

AI Bundle

These are all brand new this year and are amazing! Artificial Intelligence does in seconds (and automatically) what takes several minutes (or more) in other software.

AI Clear does automatic noise reduction and sharpening.

AI Remix is an artists dream and I can’t really find words to describe it. Download it yourself for the free 30 day trial.

AI Gigapixel is a stand-alone image resizer and is especially helpful at enlarging images without losing details.

Topaz Labs

Topaz Plug-Ins

Still prefer using the original plug-ins within Photoshop or Lightroom instead of using Topaz Studio? You can get them at 25% off!

The more popular ones like Texture Effects and Impression can now be accessed through Studio, but ReStyle (one of my faves for landscape photography), ReMask, Lens Effects, Star Effects and more still need to be used as plug-ins with Photoshop and Lightroom.

Topaz Labs
Full disclosure: I am a Topaz Affiliate and will receive a small commission for sales generated through these links. It will not increase your cost of the products.

Categories
Creative Tips Lightroom Photo Editing Photoshop Special Offer Topaz Labs Uncategorized

Topaz Studio Free Photo Editing Program

Do you need a professional photo editing program that can handle RAW files, but don’t want to spend the cash on Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom? You may want to consider a brand new program just introduced by Topaz Labs called Topaz Studio.

Topaz Studio

Topaz Studio

Topaz Studio is a FREE download for either Windows or Mac users and works as a stand alone program or as a plug-in with Photoshop or Lightroom. It comes with the following 10 adjustments, tools, and effects included:

There are also currently 14 different “Pro” adjustments that can be purchased as add-ons. You can buy only the ones that you want, or get the entire Pro collection on sale for only $99.99 until June 30, 2017 (regularly $274.86).

straight out of camera
Straight out of camera

 

Topaz Studio Radiance and Smudge
Edit with Topaz Studio Radiance and Smudge

The Pro adjustments include:

As with all Topaz Labs products, you can try before you buy with a 30 day grace period. If you choose to take advantage of the hugely discounted introductory price, use code “STUDIO” by June 30, 2017 to get all 24 assets, tools, and pro adjustments for only $99.99.

Categories
Creative Tips Lightroom Photo Editing Photoshop Topaz Labs

Topaz Labs Spring Sale

Save 40% – Topaz Labs Spring Sale!

Topaz Spring Sale

Take advantage of the best pricing this year on the complete lineup of Topaz products, with 40% off the entire TopazLabs.com store until 4/16/17. Whether you want amazing photo effects or technically perfect images, Topaz helps you create the looks you love faster than ever.

Yellow Tulips
Topaz Impression

What is the Collection?
With the recent addition of Topaz Texture Effects 2, Impression 2, and Glow 2, the Complete Collection includes all 17 plugin products, which individually would cost over $1000. We normally offer the Complete Collection at 50% off the price of buying the plugins individually. However, until the end of this sale you can take an additional 40% off the Collection and Collection upgrades.

Gooseberry Lower Falls HDR
Before
Gooseberry Lower Falls Winter Restyle
After using Topaz Restyle

What is a Collection upgrade?
If you’ve already purchased an individual product (or several products) from Topaz in the past, our system already discounts the collection upgrade price. As long as you’re signed into your account, you can get an additional 40% off your custom collection upgrade pricing through the end of the Spring sale. Whether you’re just starting or looking to expand your collection, there is never a better time to buy!

Painted Turtle Portrait
With Topaz Texture Effects

Ready to Purchase?

Use coupon code SPRING40 to take advantage of the Topaz Labs Spring Sale and save 40% on the Complete Collection or any individual program. Offer expires April 16, 2017.

Categories
Creative Tips Landscape Nature Photo Editing Topaz Labs tutorial

How to Photograph Waterfalls

Have you ever wondered how to photograph waterfalls so that you get that silky smooth water effect? It’s not as hard as you think! Here are a few simple tips:

Gooseberry Winter Lower Falls

Gooseberry Falls State Park, North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota

Gear Needed to Photograph Waterfalls

If you want to get that silky smooth water flowing effect, you’re going to need some gear:

  • Sturdy Tripod
  • Neutral Density Filters
  • Possibly a Polarizing Filter depending on your focal length and the scene you’re shooting.
  • Camera that can accept filters and can be set to manual to do long exposures.
  • Backpack or other means of getting your gear to the location.
  • Possibly ice cleats for your boots/shoes if you’re shooting in winter, like this particular shot.

Ideal Conditions to Photograph Waterfalls

The best weather conditions for shooting waterfalls is a calm overcast day. The rocks and surrounding areas are typically much darker than the whitewater that flows through the river channel, so sunny days can really blow out your whites and highlights. You also want calm winds since you’ll be doing long exposures and you don’t want the camera getting buffeted by the breeze. And of course, you want to shoot during a time of year when there is adequate water flowing, otherwise you’ll be left with a trickle (if anything) coming over the drop. Typically spring snow melt or after a rainfall are good times.

Gooseberry Upper Falls

How to Photograph Waterfalls

Once you’ve scouted a location and managed to get there, choose your composition and set up your tripod. Determine what aperture you want and keep it constant. Since you’re on a tripod, make sure your image stabilization is turned off. If you’re going after the silky smooth water look, you’ll want a relatively slow shutter speed, at least a few seconds long. Use a remote control to trip the shutter, or set a self timer so that you don’t move the camera when you press the shutter. I typically bracket my shots 2 stops of light apart until I’ve covered the dynamic range in the scene by keeping the aperture constant and changing ISO or shutter speed. You’ll be underexposing some shots to get details in the whitewater while overexposing others to get details in the surrounding rocks.

Post Processing

This particular shot was actually four different exposures that were then blended together using HDR (High Dynamic Range) software in Adobe Lightroom. There are other HDR programs out there, but Lightroom or Photoshop are the ones that I use. Once you’ve got your HDR, process to taste as usual.

Gooseberry Falls hdr

Four shots blended to create a HDR image.

This is what my image looked like after blending the four exposures together, but I wanted to add some color to give it a little more pizzazz. There are lots of ways to do that, but the fastest and easiest for me is to use Topaz Restyle plug-in. That program has more presets than I’ve counted, and you also have complete control to customize those presets and even change blending modes. It’s also non-destructive, so play around with as many different edits as you like. The options are endless! For this image, I used “Blue Gray Shade” and adjusted opacity as well as a few other tweaks to get my final result:

Gooseberry Winter Lower Falls

Final Result after adjusting color palette in Topaz Restyle

I hope you learned a few helpful tips – now go out and give it a try yourself!

 

Categories
Creative Tips Lightroom Photo Editing Photoshop Topaz Labs tutorial

Topaz Texture Effects 2 Features

If you’re looking for an easy to use right out of the box photo editing software program, look no further than Topaz Labs! Topaz Labs now has 17 different products that enhance photo images easily and seamlessly with Photoshop or Lightroom. In the case of their newer products like Texture Effects 2, they also work as stand alone programs! Check out these Topaz Texture Effects 2 features:

Topaz Texture Effects 2 Features

I’ve already listed the major features of Topaz Texture Effects in earlier posts, but sometimes pictures are worth a thousand words – Especially for visual artists such as photographers. So here is a brief look:

Here are a few of my own images, including some double exposures:

Rock of Ages Lighthouse Antique

Rock of Ages, Isle Royale National Park

Grand Sable Dunes

Grand Sable Dunes, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Antique Tepee

Tepee, Blue Mounds State Park

Sandhill Cranes & Moon

Double Exposure of Sandhill Cranes & Moon

Topaz Texture Effects 2 Intro Tutorial

For a more in depth look at how the program works in real life, John Barclay did a 40+ minute tutorial that you can watch here:

This program is a TON of fun and if you already own Texture Effects, the upgrade to Texture Effects 2 is FREE!

Check it out with a 30 day free trial.

Categories
Creative Tips Photo Editing Photoshop Special Offer Topaz Labs

Topaz Texture Effects 2 Update Sale!

Topaz Texture Effects has been one of my favorite photo processing software products ever since it was first introduced by Topaz Labs in November 2015. I am thrilled to pieces that they have already come out with a major upgrade in Texture Effects 2 to make what was already an awesome product even better!

Topaz Labs Texture Effects 2

Here are a few of the updates:

Topaz Texture Effects 2

Features:

  • Texture Effects 2 comes with even more high resolution presets than the original product, including new ones from Hazel Meredith and 2 Lil Owls.
  • You can now upload png files with transparent backgrounds to add your own custom borders, dust and scratches, light leaks, etc.
  • You can browse the Topaz Community and download presets that others have made to share with the public.
  • You can upload your own custom presets to share with the public.
  • You can edit your adjustments with a new enhancements feature.
  • There is now a copy and paste function for further editing and refining your images.
  • Unlimited undo and redo so you can experiment with different looks before committing to changes.
  • There are literally hundreds of presets that come with the program. Everything from vintage looks, grunge, color washes, light leaks, water droplets, bokeh, borders, etc.
  • Effects can be applied with different blending modes to give even more options.
  • Masking ability within the program.

Rock of Ages Lighthouse Rock of Ages Lighthouse Antique

Before and After

Compatibility:

Texture Effects 2 works as a stand alone program as well as a plug-in for Adobe Lightroom 4+, Lightroom CC, Adobe Photoshop CS4+, Adobe Photoshop CC, Adobe Photoshop Elements 12+, Paintshop Pro X 6+, Serif PhotoPlus X5, and photoFXlab. It is NOT compatible with Fusion Express.

System Requirements:

Texture Effects 2 requires

Mac OSX 10.9+
Windows 7/8/10 x 64bit + OpenGL 3.3
*Does not support Windows 32bit

 

Texture Effects 2 Sale:

Texture Effects 2 is already a steal at it’s regular price of $69.99, but you can Save $10 and get it for only $59.99 through October 30th by using this coupon code: TFX2

If you already own the earlier version of Texture Effects, upgrading to the new program is FREE!

Not sure? Topaz Labs offers a free 30 day trial on all of their software products, so take it for a test drive 🙂

Categories
Creative Tips Lightroom Photo Editing Photoshop Special Offer Topaz Labs

Topaz Labs Glow 2

If you like to get creative with your photography post-processing, I’ve got some exciting news! Topaz Labs Glow 2 has been announced and because you’re one of my faithful readers, you’re among the first to know! Furthermore, you’ll be able to score a copy of the software at a 30% discount until September 2, 2016!

Topaz Labs Glow 2 Cat

So, what does Topaz Labs Glow 2 do?

Topaz Glow introduces a unique kind of tool into your photo processing workflow designed to electrify your imagination by illuminating the contours of your images to reveal the hidden details in each image you capture. Glow 2 gives you the power to create stunning neon effects, or subtle ethereal glow. No matter the look you love, amplify your images faster than ever with Glow 2.

It can be over the top…

Topaz Labs Glow 2 Car

or add a subtle boost of color and contours…

Topaz Labs Glow 2 Flower

Topaz Labs Glow 2

The updated version to the original Glow includes some new features:

  • Over 30 New Presets – That brings the total to over 100 included effects to amplify your images or give you a boost creating a personal look you love. You can also create your own presets!
  • New Masking Module -You no longer need a host editor like Photoshop to create masks on your images! Now, you can open Glow 2 and mask areas of your image directly from the application using luminosity, color selection, a spot mask, or a traditional brush mask, and yes it’s color aware 🙂
  • Unlimited Undo/Redo – That’s right! As long as you don’t close the program you can now undo or redo to your hearts content (as far as your system memory will allow).
  • Topaz Community Integration – Topaz Glow 2 is the 3rd of our products to include the Topaz Community (the others are Texture Effects and Impression 2), an easy way for users to search save and share custom made presets with other Glow 2 users around the world. Surf an ocean of hand crafted presets, then download and apply with a click. Or share your custom presets for other users to try.
  • Automatic Preset Backup – as long as you’re signed into your account when you save a preset, that preset will be privately uploaded to the community then synced on any other machine you sign into.

System Requirements for Topaz Labs Glow 2

There have been some compatibility changes to the program as well. Glow 2 requires Windows 7+, Mac OSX 10.9+, and a GPU with OpenGL 3.3 or higher. (this replaces the older requirement for OpenGL 2.1.

As always, Topaz Labs offers FREE 30 day trials for all of their software products, so give it a try and see how you like it if you’re not sure already. Also as always, if you already own Glow, then the upgrade to Topaz Labs Glow 2 is FREE 🙂

Ready to purchase Topaz Labs Glow 2 and save some cash? Just use coupon code GLOW2 to get the discounted price of $48.99 (regular price is $69.99) ’til September 2, 2016!

Categories
Creative Tips Landscape Minnesota Photo Editing Topaz Labs

Tettagouche Sunrise

I was recently going through some old photos that I hadn’t gotten around to processing and found a batch from the North Shore of Lake Superior that I took last September when I was up shooting the Superior Fall Trail Races. After pulling an all nighter shooting the 100 milers running under the Aurora Borealis, I headed to Finland to catch the pre-dawn start of the 50 mile race. No time to nap – I headed down the hill to Tettagouche State Park to capture the sunrise. Tettagouche is a spectacular place (as are all of the North Shore state parks), but the lakeside cliffs in this area are big enough to boast some awesome rock climbing and are stunning to look at. Here are a few different edits of the same shot:

Tettagouche Sunrise

First up was the edit I did in black and white, but I just couldn’t get it to pop the way I wanted. I took it into Topaz Labs BW Effects 2 and went with one of the Quad Tone Redscale filters to get this effect.

Tettagouche Sunrise, Quad Tone Redscale
Tettagouche Sunrise Quad Tone Redscale

Next I tried the same original image in Topaz Restyle. This is a fun program that focuses on using different color palettes and some of the presets are things that I’d never think of. It’s a great tool for experimenting with different colors and providing inspiration. This was my favorite of all the edits I tried in Restyle:

Tettagouche Sunrise Pink Plums
Tettagouche Sunrise Topaz Restyle Pink Plums

Another edit using Topaz Texture Effects. This is a new product that just came out at the end of last year and it’s one of my all time favorites! Can be used as a plug-in with Lightroom or Photoshop, or even as a stand alone program. I originally wrote about it here and again here. This was my favorite edit in Texture Effects:

Tettagouche Sunrise Texture
Tettagouche Sunrise Texture Effects Dirty Sunset

A fourth edit using Nik Color Efex Pro 4. I like their split filters, especially the warm / cool sets, but this time I went with one of the violet / pink options:

Tettagouche Sunrise Violet Pink
Tettagouche Sunrise Nik Violet Pink

I like all of them for different reasons and really can’t decide which I like best. Which edit is your favorite?

For larger views or to purchase, check them out in the Landscape Gallery.

Categories
Creative Tips Lightroom Photo Editing Photoshop Special Offer Topaz Labs

Save $20 on Topaz Texture Effects Thru January!

In case you’ve missed the previous sales, Topaz Texture Effects just had it’s first upgrade since inception a few months ago and they’re celebrating with a BIG SALE! Save $20 on Topaz Texture Effects through January 31, 2016! Regularly priced at $69.99, you can now snag it for only $49.99!

Great Horned Owl Silhouette Moon

I already wrote a post introducing the original program which includes a library of over 150 expertly crafted presets, 275+ high-resolution textures and effects, and instant access to effects other Topaz users have shared with the new Topaz Community, but now it’s even better 🙂

Trumpeter Swans in Flight

Original Photo

Trumpeter Swans Sun Rays

Edited in  Topaz Texture Effects

The update includes:

  • 42 NEW textures
  • 15 NEW effects
  • A whole new Weather category in the Texture Adjustment panel
  • Performance enhancements
Rain Drops on Rose
Added “rain drops” to this rose using new “weather” texture in the latest Topaz Texture Effects update.

All of this added to an already spectacular product that works as a stand alone photo editing program as well as a plug-in for Photoshop or Lightroom 🙂

I enjoy many of Topaz Labs photo editing software products, but they hit it out of the park with this one IMHO.

As with all Topaz products – try it free for 30 days. And unlike most of the competition, upgrades are FREE for life 🙂

Categories
Creative Tips Lightroom Photo Editing Photoshop Topaz Labs tutorial

Add Stars To Your Photos In A Few Easy Steps

In this tutorial, I will show you how to add stars to your photos in a few easy steps using Topaz Labs Star Effects.

Split Rock Lighthouse Star

Split Rock Lighthouse

Image Preparation

First, you will need to do any basic edits in your regular photo editing software. Topaz Star Effects works as a plug-in to Photoshop or Lightroom and is not a stand alone product.

Edit Your Image In Topaz Star Effects

When you first bring your prepped image in to Topaz Star Effects, you will notice three main areas of the screen. The left column shows the presets and the smaller image at the top of the stack gives you a preview of each preset as you hover over it. The large middle screen is what’s happening with your image as you apply the actions that you choose. For this particular image, I chose the preset “Lamp Post One” and at this point it looks like a hot mess.

Topaz Labs Star Effects

Now go over to the panel on the far right side of the screen. Under “Star Settings” you can choose different star types. For this image I went with traditional.

Topaz Labs Star Effects

Further down on the right side are the “Main Adjustments” – take the threshold slider all the way to the right. I think of the threshold as being similar to an opacity slider for a layer mask. Bringing it all the way to the right will hide all of the star effects.

Topaz Labs Star Effects

Go back up to “Star Settings” and you’ll notice there are show / hide stars buttons. Choose “show.” This will act similar to a brush on a mask in Photoshop – your mouse will look like a small button with crosshairs and anywhere you click on the image will allow the star effect to show through. In this image, I clicked on the reflector inside the lighthouse window so that only the one star shows in the image.

Topaz Labs Star Effects

You can fine tune your star effect further by going back down to the main adjustments and playing with luminance, how many points you want your star to have, size, spread, angle, etc. Further down on the right side there are even more adjustments for color, temperature settings, and additional adjustments for glow or ring flare. For this image, I only adjusted the number of points from twelve to six and I was done in minutes!

I find all of the Topaz products fun and easy to use – and I can do many things in a fraction of the time it would take in Photoshop. So, if you want to add stars to your photos in a few easy steps, give Topaz Star Effects a try! They have FREE 30 day trials on all of their software, and updates for each product are free for life 🙂

If you’d like to purchase a print of this image of Split Rock Lighthouse for your home or office decor, it’s now available in the Landscape gallery both with and without the star effect!