Lightroom Photo Editing Photoshop Special Offer Topaz Labs

Topaz Labs Holiday Sale!

In case you missed all of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, you still have time to capitalize on Topaz Labs Holiday Sale!

If you’ve visited this site before, you know that I LOVE Topaz Labs photo editing software products! Their products have saved me more hours than I can count in the photo editing process and some of their presets even help stimulate new ideas.

The discount applies to any one of their 17 different products, or you can get the entire suite (highly recommended).

Topaz Labs products come with pre-loaded presets, but also allow you total control to just start from scratch or edit any preset you may start with.


Favorite Topaz Labs Products

Clarity: this isn’t just a simple clarity slider like you find in Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw. This one allows you to control contrast at the micro, low, medium and high levels without getting artificial artifacts – as well as mask out areas of the image where you don’t want the effect applied. Works as a plug-in to Photoshop or Lightroom.

Detail: crystal clear sharpness without noise. I especially like this product for macro shots of flowers or foliage, or fur and feathers on critters. Want to see every last detail of that Bald Eagle feather? Here ya go. Works as a plug-in to Photoshop or Lightroom.

Impression: awesome for converting photos to a variety of different painterly effects or drawings. Watercolors, oils, Monet, charcoal drawings – no problem. Works as a stand alone or as a plug-in.

Canada Goose Pair abstract

Adjust: this is an older product and one that I’m just starting to use. It has an amazing technology called “adaptive exposure” that I still can’t really wrap my head around, but it evens out shadows and highlights without getting artificial looking or noisy. Certainly not like just moving the highlights and shadows sliders. Also allows for adjustments to color and detail. Works as a plug-in to Photoshop or Lightroom.

Glow: one of the newer products and one that’s easy to go “over the top” with. Yes, you can add electrifying effects to photos and make them otherworldly. I find it a cool program to use as a subtle way to bump up color or other smoothing effects when you dial it waaaay down. The fur and feather presets are my typical starting point, even if the image I’m applying it to doesn’t have fur or feathers. Neon can be a ton of fun, too πŸ™‚

Simplify: I like this one for creating painterly effects, too. I gave a tutorial about how I used it to create surreal forest effects recently. Works as a plug-in to Photoshop or Lightroom.

Impressionist Painterly Effect
Impressionist Painterly Effect in Topaz Simplify

Restyle: want to mess around with color palates? This is the product for you! Another program that comes with a ton of presets (some you’d never think of on your own) that can also be tweaked to taste. Comes as a stand alone program or works as a plug-in.

Remask: the easiest mask selection tool I have found thus far for making composites. Hands down.

Star Effects: just did a tutorial about a sneaky little trick in this product that makes adding realistic star effects to images a snap. Works as a plug-in.

Split Rock Lighthouse Star

Texture Effects: this is a brand new product and one of my all time favorites – for real! You can not only add textures, but you can create double exposures with ease – especially since it’s ridiculously easy to add your own texture files (or any other file, for that matter). I wrote a post about Texture Effects recently and will probably write a quick tutorial about how to do double exposures with it soon. It comes with a boat load of high resolution textures, dust and scratches, and other assets, so it’s a monster download! Another unique feature – you can create your own presets and share with the Topaz community – as well as download other people’s presets if you want to. Works as a stand alone or plug-in.

Sandhill Cranes Moon Texture

This is just a sampling of what’s available from Topaz – they have 17 different products currently available. I also appreciate that any future updates to their products are FREE rather than asking you to pay for an upgrade. Any new products are offered at a discount to those who’ve purchased from them in the past.

Topaz offers a 30 day free trial if you want to try before you buy. Or go ahead, take advantage of the Topaz Labs holiday sale and buy it now to save 35% πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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!

Abstract Creative Tips Landscape Lightroom Nature Photo Editing Photoshop Topaz Labs tutorial

How to Create Surreal Forest Photos in Minutes

Want to learn a fast easy way to turn “blah” forest photos into something surreal? I’m going to show you a way to get two different options out of the same “ho-hum” forest photo in just a few easy steps using Lightroom with either Photoshop for the blur option or Topaz Labs plug-ins for a super fast impressionist painterly effect.

Impressionist Painterly Effect
Impressionist Painterly Effect

Original Forest Photo

I took this during the middle of a sunny day at St. Croix State Park when the light was a bit harsh. I really liked the way the forest looked in real life, but the image straight out of the camera was, well…. lackluster to say the least.

Boring Forest Photo
Boring Forest Photo straight out of the camera.

Original Edits in Lightroom

For this one, I only did some very basic edits in Lightroom: brought the temp slider down to emphasize the blues and turned the hue slider on the aqua channel way up. You may have to make different tweaks depending on the image you’re starting with.

Adjust Temp & Hue
Adjust Temp & Hue in Lightroom

Option One – Linear Blur

From this point, I did two different edits starting with the basic Lightroom adjustments. For the first, I then took the photo in to Photoshop CS6 -> duplicate layer -> Filter -> Blur -> Motion Blur and adjust to taste. For this one I had the angle at 90 and distance at 500 pixels. I used the normal blending mode at opacity of about 76. Save and fin:

Blur Effect
Linear Blur Effect

Option Two – Impressionist Painting

The second option was to take the basic Lightroom adjusted photo in to Topaz Clean to de-clutter some of the details. I wasn’t really satisfied at this point as it wasn’t the end result I was looking for, so I then tried Topaz Simplify and chose the Impressions Natural preset in the Painting category. In this case, I probably didn’t need Topaz Clean to get the result I ended up with. Since the Topaz Labs plug-ins work with either Photoshop or Lightroom, you can use them with either. I didn’t really tweak it beyond that except to add a vignette when I brought it back to Lightroom. Fin.

Impressionist Painterly Effect
Impressionist Painterly Effect

I got two completely different abstract forest photos that you’d never know came from the original – all in about 10 minutes. And I was lolly gagging. I’m not sure which edit I like better – I like them both for different reasons. I hope you like them, too! If so, do you have a favorite?

Both are available for purchase in the Abstract Gallery.

Lightroom Photo Editing Photoshop Special Offer Topaz Labs

Save 50% on Topaz Labs Photo Editing Software

Topaz Labs is rolling out their holiday sale – and it’s a doozy!

From November 25-30, Topaz Labs is offering 50% off of the full Topaz Photography Collection. Whether you want to achieve stunning photo enhancements or apply artistic effects, this unique collection has you covered.

With the recent addition of Topaz Texture Effects, the Photography Collection now includes 17 products for only $499.99. With the 50% discount, new users can purchase the entire collection for ONLY $249.99! The savings aren’t just for new collection purchases either. Owners of the older Topaz Collections can take advantage of the savings as well! You will just need to log in to your account to see your unique Collection upgrade price, then apply the code for 50% additional savings! And with Topaz Labs, you NEVER have to pay for upgrades to the individual products you purchase πŸ™‚

You can also download a free 30 day trial before making any purchase to take the software for a test drive. It integrates seamlessly with Photoshop and Lightroom, and some of the products also work as stand alone programs.

Happy #BlackFriday! Happy #CyberMonday! Happy Holidays!