Topaz Labs

Before & After from a Quick Walk in the Park


iPhotographs by Robert Lachman ? 2010

Even a quick walk in the park with a cell phone camera can produce some stunning resulst as you can see from the before (bottom) photo and the after (top) photograph. I did use Photoshop CS4 with a boost from the Topaz Labs Simplify to get it the painterly look. Considering I can’t paint, it seemed like the best option.

Look like it’s almost time for work for me. Have a great week! -RL🙂


Newport Pier: Two Views & Cameras


Photograph with Canon G10 by Robert Lachman ? 2010 – Newport Beach, California


iPhone Photograph by Robert Lachman ? 2010 – Newport Beach, California

It was a quick trip by the Newport Beach Pier on our way to the Crab Cooker Restaurant last night. For the top photograph, I used my Canon G10 with a tripod from the south side of the pier recording three exposures (+2, 0, -2) of the scene.

Next, it was post processing with Photomatix to combine the photos for the (HDR) High Dynamic effect. This bring the best of each exposure to the final image. The final touch was the artistic edgy touch added with the Adjust 4 plug-in for Photoshop from Topaz Labs.

The bottom photograph was taken with my iPhone 3GS with the Hipstamatic app. I’m sure you already figured that out already.

The best part of the evening was dinner out with my wife Lorelei. Have a great day! Is it time for coffee? 😉 -RL


A Little Extreme HDR


Photograph by Robert Lachman ? 2010 – Huntington Beach, CA

It was full-tilt HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography during my walk this morning which included combining three image exposures taken with my Canon G10 camera without a tripod and processed with Photomatix software. Next, I imported the photo to Photoshop and pushed the envelope with a hit of Topaz Labs Adjust 4. Below is a photograph from a single correct exposure of the scene without any adjustments. Let me know what you think. -RL

hdrbeachbefore(BEFORE) A single correct exposure of the scene without any adjustments.

Macworld 2010

hypermacBy Robert Lachman
I certainly didn’t miss Apple Computer, Inc at Macworld this year. There was so much doom and gloom from the media about how it’s the end of Macworld without Steve Jobs and his new toys. I’m not saying it wouldn’t have been nice, but I think Paul Kent, the Macworld general manager, did a great job of mixing it up with more interesting speakers and moving the final day of the expo to Saturday, which made it easier for those from nearby to visit without taking a day off work.
As I rode down the escalator, the first thing I noticed was only one show room floor this year. All the exhibitors were squeezed into one room which meant only one thing: less vendors. It was very noticeable, it only took me about four hours to cover the entire floor.hypermac1 The more compressed floor did give the appearance of a more crowded showroom.

You can talk about Apple not making an appearance, but the overall state of the economy really has to be the major factor. Renting a booth to display your gear or software is downright expensive. It’s thousands of dollars plus the cost of staffing those booths.

First up on the showroom floor was HyperMac, maker of great external batteries for the Apple laptops, iPods and iPhones. Their equipment is first class all the way and received the most buzz on the showroom floor. It’s a perfect solution for those on the road when battery backup is necessary.


Same as last year, Topaz Labs software was one of the most crowded booths on the expo floor. They were selling their bundle of software for $129 which includes Adjust, Simplify, DeNoise, Detail, Clean2 and DeJPEG. Continued tomorrow… Time to wash the dog and go to work.

Rain Today, iPhone Photo Before & After

topazdetailrainAAfter, using Photoshop, which included: reducing the color cast with Saturation, adjusting the brightness with Levels, and sharpening with Smart Sharpen. I did select and feather the shadow areas in the bottom half of the photograph, and then lightened with Levels. The final touches did include the Creative Detail Accent preset with Topaz Detail 2.

iPhone Photographs by Robert Lachman ? 2010


rainbeforeBefore, the image straight into Lightroom and then saved in Photoshop with no adjustments.


iPhone + LA + CS4 + Topaz Plug-ins


iPhone Photographs by Robert Lachman ? 2010

The photo above from one of my recent “Lunch Break” walks was taken in downtown Los Angeles during the early evening after a day of rain. On the photo above, I used the Topaz Clean 2 plug-in with Photoshop PS4 to blend the colors and give it an artistic look. With the photo below, I tried giving it a gritty downtown look with Topaz Detail. Let me know which you like best.


Topaz Adjust Bundle Detail

By Robert Lachman

If you’re interested in Topaz Labs software plug-ins for Photoshop or Photoshops Elements check out the great deal they’re offering on their bundle of products this weekend for $199. on the PhotoshopInsider website. Also, you can go to the Topaz website and use the coupon code SCOTTKELBY at checkout. The deal ends at 12:00 Midnight EST this Sunday,? December 6, 2009. The software plug-ins include: Adjust, Detail, DeNoise, Simplify, Clean, DeJPEG, and ReMask.

Topaz Detail Software Review

Topaz Detail interior strong detail preset with a little added saturation

By Robert Lachman,
Topaz Labs always seems to be working hard to keep new Photoshop plug-ins at a reasonable price. One of my main complaints about most plug-ins is the high price, but Topaz seems to make them at a more modest cost.

Topaz Detail bold detail preset

So what can Topaz Detail, the latest offering from Topaz Labs, do for you? Let?s say you just have a photograph that looks flat, maybe low on contrast or you need the subject to pop off the page. Maybe you want that new-school, HDR, specially-lit composition. You know it, the Dave Hill or the Lucis Arts look.

Topaz Detail interior strong detail preset They?re the portraits that have the grunge look that just flies off the page or landscapes or interiors that are 3D masterpieces.

According to the developer, ?Topaz Detail is uniquely designed to give the user full creative control over all aspects of detail enhancement without creating edge artifacts. It internally separates the image into three detail sizes – small, medium, and large details – and offers exceptional control over the precise manipulation of each detail type.?

Ok, let?s try and break it down into what this means. Topaz Detail lets you add sharpness and contrast without adding the noise usually associated with the process. While the Detail software is similar to Topaz Adjust it does a much better job of creating the enhanced effect without the increasing edge artifacts or over-sharpening.

Topaz Detail uses the normal Topaz Labs software interface with presets down the left side with examples, a large window for the preview of your photograph and sliders at the bottom to make adjustments.

I usually click on one of the presets and then make minor adjustments from there. Presets include: creative detail accent, micro-contrast enhancement, edge softener, soft looking, deep-blue sky, black-and-white contrasted, bold detail, and interior strong detail.

Topaz Detail softlook preset
Topaz Detail softlook preset

With the Topaz Detail software, you do have a choice of making the images more contrasty, softer or even changing to black-and-white, so plan on spending some time working with your photographs. This is one of those software programs that gets addictive, once you get started, it?s hard to stop.

Topaz Detail works on Intel-based Mac OS with either 10.4 or 10.5, older PowerPC processors are not supported. It works with Photoshop CS3 and CS4 and Elements 6 and 7. They do support Aperture 2 by Apple but not Lightroom.

Topaz Detail bold detail preset

They do offer a free 30-day full function trial on their website or you can buy it for $39.99. They are offering the newsletter subscriber price at $19.99 until August 31st with the coupon code “SODETAILED” so check the Topaz Labs website to see if it is still available.

I think Topaz Lab has really come up with a fine piece of software at a great price. The software is comparable to others that cost over ten times as much. I won?t mention any other names. Topaz Detail is a little slow when working with large files. I tried it with a 41M Photoshop file and it took Detail about 2 minutes to load on my older model G5 Intel iMac. But, once it?s loaded, it works very quickly when you click from preset to preset or make adjustments.

It does look like Topaz Labs has a winner with Detail at an affordable price. Also available on their site is a bundle price for a limited time which includes, Adjust, DeNoise, Simplify, Detail, Clean and DeJPEG for $149. (It works with Windows and Mac OSX)

Topaz Detail interior Strong detail preset
Topaz Detail interior Strong detail preset

All photographs by Robert Lachman ? 2009 taken with the Canon G10 camera

Topaz Adjust Review

After Using Topaz Adjust

Before Using Topaz Adjust
Before Using Topaz Adjust

By Robert Lachman

This week I?m going to review Topaz Adjust software by Topaz Labs, a plug-in for Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.

It?s a little hard to explain what this software does, except it?s fun to use and adds a lot of pop to your photos.

According to the company line, Topaz Adjust uses advanced algorithms to achieve unique exposure effects and adjustments in seconds. It offers the user full control over creative exposure, color, and detail effects, and has the ability to save and reuse presets for maximum convenience.

I always love when the software companies say they use advanced algorithms. I can barely pronounce it, how am I going to explain it.

This software takes your boring low-contrast photographs and gives them an HDR end result with added color saturation or the David Hill effect on your portraits.

It makes things a little more contrasty, brings out the color and just adds a different look to your photographs. I really recommend you try it just to see the different outcomes which can be achieved with Topaz Adjust.

The software is very easy to use. It?s a plug-in and I tested it with Photoshop Elements 6. It?s nice when the software will work with both Photoshop or Elements so more people will be able to use it.

It couldn?t be simpler to use. Just open your photo, go to the menu item filter, scroll down to Topaz Lab, then select Topaz Adjust.

The program opens your photo into a new adjustable size window. You can then decide the magnification of your image.

Now the fun part begins. They do have some presets which includes, vibrance, color blast clarity, photo pop, and enhance contrast. Double click on any of these to give you an idea of some of the effects which can be achieved.

The presets give some nice examples but move on to the sliders. This is where you can experience the power of the software. Work in a left to right order as the tutorial on the website recommends.

The first manual setting is is Exposure which reveals six powerful sliders. The important sliders here are adaptive exposure and regions. Give these a try first. A little goes a long way.

Next? try Details which includes the strength and boost sliders. Move to the right and pick Color for added saturation. You may start to see some grain and noise as you work with some of the sliders.

The Noise option will smooth out the grain. It does take the computer time to work out the computations so be patient.
With? large photographs this will take some time. You may be used to blazing speed with your high-powered computer but you?ll need to relax and let the software do it?s work

One important note, this is an experimental and artistic process so it doesn?t work with every photograph.

Topaz Adjust from Topaz Labs is just one of those programs that?s very enjoyable to work with, especially since you only use one photograph and unlike HDR software which relies on multiple images.

You just need to fire it up and start working the sliders. Find a photograph which needs some added pop and color to the clouds or sky or a building which doesn?t have enough saturation.

It can almost make your photographs look like stylized cartoons as you ramp up the effect. It gives your simple photos a super-graphic look.

It?s not for every photograph.? A lot of times you might not want this, but for so many flat boring-looking photographs an extra-cool boost may just be the ticket. Be sure to check it out.