Fun with Topaz Glow
Topaz has a new product called Topaz Glow. I downloaded my copy of Topaz Glow the first day it was available so I have had a few days to play with it, and I must say the people at Topaz Labs once again surprised me. Glow creates a fractal effect that gives your images a sense of movement. Glow finds the textures in your photo and injects them with a luminescent glow.
I thought that this software would have a few filters and effects and that is about it. I was wrong it is much more. Topaz Glow is Fun, a lot of Fun, Fun with a capital F. The more I played with it the more I enjoyed it. You might not use Glow on every photo but when you do you will get a very fun, unique and interesting image every time. I include lots of examples at the bottom of this post.
There are over 70 presets with almost infinite control. I also discovered a powerful attribute that makes this software very impressive. You can add a little Glow to make images stand out in a subtle way. I will cover this in detail, with a before and after photo, near the bottom.
Standalone or Plugin
Glow can be used as a stand alone application or can be used as a plugin. It is compatibility with Photoshop CS4+, Photoshop CC, Photoshop
Elements 6+, Paintshop Pro X, Serif PhotoPlus X5+, and Lightroom. It can be used on both Mac OSX 10.8+ and Windows 7/8 x 64bit + OpenGL 2.1. (32bit is not supported)
Once you open the interface you will find the magnification, previews, and the see "original" button on the top left hand side.
Running down along the right hand side you will see the currently selected presets. On the top right there is a drop down menu where you will find all of the presets, organized into categories such as:
- Liquid Designs
- Fur and Feathers
Each of these categories has a number of different pre-sets within in them. I would suggest you pick an image you like and start experimenting to find out what each preset does.
Once you click on a pre-set that you want to use, click on it a second time and the attribute panel will open up. Be warned the sliders are powerful, a little movement can create a large effect in the image.
- Glow Type light /dark (very different effect for each one and you can switch between them at any time during your editing)
- Glow Strength
- Effect Sharpness
- Edge Color
- Detail Strength and Size
Color is great it can be used to control an individual colors properties:
Finishing Touches controls everything you want to finish off an image.
- Effect Coverage
As you can see in the above image there is also a strength slider (opacity) and blend mode drop down menu at the bottom on the left hand side. The blend modes include:
- Hard Light
- Soft Light
And this is where Topaz Glow surprises. With these blend modes you can add subtle effects to your images. A little "glow", a little/lot of sharpness, or a little detail strength, in fact all of the effects can be blended in to enhance your image without the strong fractal effect.
In this photo of Saint Nicolas Church in Barranquilla, Colombia I used the Glow Type - Dark, the attribute sliders and blend mode Soft Light to recover the color and look of the church on a very bright day with harsh light. The new image is sharper and cleaner than the original.
As I said I had a lot of fun playing with my images in Topaz Glow. I have included several examples of the different effects below.
Have you used Glow? What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.
If you decide to give Topaz Glow a shot please use discount code bestphotohdr for a 15% discount.
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