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Author Topic: Initial Impressions of Topaz Detail  (Read 8143 times)
NicholasDown
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« on: September 05, 2009, 05:24:59 AM »
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Just tried the trial version of Topaz Detail and wondered if anyone else has experimented with this remarkable program. My initial impression is a wow!
Now I'm going to have to re-evaluate my entire workflow and dig up images from the past and see what's there!
The developers tell us its a non-halo method for enhancing detail that uses revolutionary new image processing technologies.
I've been using Photoshop since 2001 and currently use CS3 and have some experience of all sorts of sharpening algorithms including PhotoKit, HiRaLoam, High pass etc, but this program seems like from another zone.
Luckily I'm using an Intel MacBook Pro but most of my image database is on a G5 on which Topaz will not work.

Whilst some of the presets might seem gimmicky, the program allows for fine tuning image content in a way that I have never experienced.
So are we on a new path here or what?
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2009, 06:32:39 AM »
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Quote from: NicholasDown
Just tried the trial version of Topaz Detail and wondered if anyone else has experimented with this remarkable program. My initial impression is a wow!
Now I'm going to have to re-evaluate my entire workflow and dig up images from the past and see what's there!
The developers tell us its a non-halo method for enhancing detail that uses revolutionary new image processing technologies.
I've been using Photoshop since 2001 and currently use CS3 and have some experience of all sorts of sharpening algorithms including PhotoKit, HiRaLoam, High pass etc, but this program seems like from another zone.
Luckily I'm using an Intel MacBook Pro but most of my image database is on a G5 on which Topaz will not work.

Whilst some of the presets might seem gimmicky, the program allows for fine tuning image content in a way that I have never experienced.
So are we on a new path here or what?

Can you post some before/after samples of 100% crops?

Thanks.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: September 05, 2009, 06:32:51 AM by BernardLanguillier » Logged

A few images online here!
NicholasDown
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« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2009, 08:42:04 AM »
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Hi Bernard
I've attached a file showing two JPGs reduced from originals for size reasons. I used the Topaz Detail preset called "MicroContrast Adjustment" without tinkering with anything else.
Other presets or manual adjustments would result in quite different output, but this comparison is interesting.
I've only scratched the surface of Topaz (still in Demo mode) but initial impressions are very intriguing.

Nicholas

ps: I've looked at your website. Thank you for such wonderful creativity.

Image workflow: Canon 5D CR2 Raw > DNG via LR>CS3 PS (AdobeRGB)>Converted to sRGB>cropped and saved to JPG @ 100%
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2009, 09:11:15 AM »
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Nicolas, while in LR at the CR2 stage, I'd be interested to see what happens if you were to apply to that image some Recovery, Fill, Blacks and Clarity, and then if necessary in the Tone Curve a bit of Highlight reduction, a minor boost of Lights and Darks and a bit of steepening of the Shadows with the range narrowed to minimum and then compare it with the output from Topaz.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2009, 12:08:57 PM »
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Quote from: MarkDS
Nicolas, while in LR at the CR2 stage, I'd be interested to see what happens if you were to apply to that image some Recovery, Fill, Blacks and Clarity, and then if necessary in the Tone Curve a bit of Highlight reduction, a minor boost of Lights and Darks and a bit of steepening of the Shadows with the range narrowed to minimum and then compare it with the output from Topaz.

I'm a fan of Topaz detail since an earlier beta release.  I only use if for larger prints, (not the stuff on my web site) since it's a bit slow on my machine.  The basic effect is a more precise and controlled "local contrast adjustment" using a USM of 20 50 0 - I suspect the LR adjustments will be a bit more global than the micro effects of Topaz.  

We haven't gotten together in a while - maybe you could drop by sometime later in September and we could have a more detailed look.

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feppe
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« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2009, 01:13:42 PM »
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Checked out their website, and all of the examples they provide show ghastly overprocessed HDR-like images. Is it configurable to produce realistic results as well?

Also, does it do something PhotoKit Sharpener doesn't? PKS has some of the best research behind it, so I'm very skeptical about products without solid grounding.
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NicholasDown
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« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2009, 01:39:01 PM »
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Thanks Mark
You are absolutely right in that such adjustments in LR might well yield similar results...
But the developers claim  that this software is revolutionary and that is partly my question. Are we being offered a radical new workflow or is this just a clever interface?
Which brings us up against a challenge... there are only so many hours in the day.
I used the Demo version, selected a one-click adjustment, and observed the changes I uploaded.
Of course I'm not suggesting that this is perfect- image perception is inevitably subjective and dependent on monitors/eyes etc...

But I'm looking forward to a good dialogue.
Nicholas
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NicholasDown
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« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2009, 01:42:28 PM »
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Hi Tim
Thanks for your post.
I agree, my initial impressions were that some of the presets produce results like a turbo charged Clarity and others like super charged High Pass...
So, bearing in mind my other posts, is this a very clever interface or are we onto something new?
I am open minded.

Best wishes
Nicholas
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NicholasDown
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« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2009, 01:44:01 PM »
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Quote from: feppe
Checked out their website, and all of the examples they provide show ghastly overprocessed HDR-like images. Is it configurable to produce realistic results as well?

Also, does it do something PhotoKit Sharpener doesn't? PKS has some of the best research behind it, so I'm very skeptical about products without solid grounding.
Hi Feppe...

Agreed...
Looking forward to others' experience and comments.
Nicholas
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feppe
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« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2009, 01:50:04 PM »
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Quote from: NicholasDown
But the developers claim  that this software is revolutionary and that is partly my question. Are we being offered a radical new workflow or is this just a clever interface?

Modern marketers are required to say every new product is revolutionary by law. I'm sure it will blend, too

I haven't seen anything but overbaked photos. I'd test it myself, but have too many photos to process after my recent trips...
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2009, 01:58:32 PM »
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Quote from: Tim Gray
I'm a fan of Topaz detail since an earlier beta release.  I only use if for larger prints, (not the stuff on my web site) since it's a bit slow on my machine.  The basic effect is a more precise and controlled "local contrast adjustment" using a USM of 20 50 0 - I suspect the LR adjustments will be a bit more global than the micro effects of Topaz.  

We haven't gotten together in a while - maybe you could drop by sometime later in September and we could have a more detailed look.

Tim - sure I'd very much like to do that.

John Paul Caponigro's version of LCE is also very controllable and a free download to members (free membeship) of his website. We can compare how that works too.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2009, 02:06:35 PM »
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Quote from: NicholasDown
Thanks Mark
You are absolutely right in that such adjustments in LR might well yield similar results...
But the developers claim  that this software is revolutionary and that is partly my question. Are we being offered a radical new workflow or is this just a clever interface?
Which brings us up against a challenge... there are only so many hours in the day.
I used the Demo version, selected a one-click adjustment, and observed the changes I uploaded.
Of course I'm not suggesting that this is perfect- image perception is inevitably subjective and dependent on monitors/eyes etc...

But I'm looking forward to a good dialogue.
Nicholas

Nicolas, developer claims of course always need to be scrutinized and tested, just in case they are more hype than reality. We already have such a rich package of tools between LR and PS that I always like to look there first as a base from which to judge the value-added of a plug-in. Many plugins of course are using Photoshop tools, but in combinations and with methods which do give them value-added worth buying, because we'd spend more of our own time than it's worth trying to re-invent these wheels if we had the technical savvy to do so. So my proposal was along those lines - let's maximize what we can easily do in a program like LR, which happens to have excellent capabilities for dragging-out image detail without jumping through hoops, and if Topaz can do better yet - well there's value-added. The image you posted could be an interesting case study with the raw file. I wouldn't mind trying my hand with it, so if you are disposed to sending me your image for experimental purposes only, please send me a private mail through this Forum and we'll arrange it.

Mark
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Tim Gray
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« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2009, 02:07:15 PM »
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The one particular characteristic I've noticed (and it is certainly one of Topaz's key marketing points) is the lack of edge artifacts - no halos, which is why I prefer it over the local contrast usm technique.  The other thing it has going for it is that it's dirt cheap.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2009, 02:09:41 PM by Tim Gray » Logged
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2009, 02:10:50 PM »
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Quote from: Tim Gray
The one particular characteristic I've noticed (and it is certainly one of Topaz's key marketing points) is the lack of edge artifacts - no halos, which is why I prefer it over the local contrast usm technique.  The other thing it has going for it is that it's dirt cheap.

Well, JP's doesn't produce halos either unless you try hard and it ain't gonna get any cheaper than free.  
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
kikashi
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« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2009, 02:45:01 PM »
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Quote from: MarkDS
Tim - sure I'd very much like to do that.

John Paul Caponigro's version of LCE is also very controllable and a free download to members (free membeship) of his website. We can compare how that works too.
Mark, do you mean his high pass contrast technique, or have I missed something else?

Jeremy
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2009, 02:46:07 PM »
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Quote from: kikashi
Mark, do you mean his high pass contrast technique, or have I missed something else?

Jeremy


That's the one.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
George Machen
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« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2009, 08:16:57 PM »
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...John Paul Caponigro's version of LCE is also very controllable and a free download to members (free membeship) of his website....
I've scoured Caponigro's website & site map, and I can't see where to sign-up for free membership. Direct link, anyone? Thanks!
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2009, 08:40:32 PM »
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Now that I am back in his site (haven't been there for a while), it seems there have been some changes.

You can sign up for his Insights free JPC Insights and that gives you access to a bunch of stuff for no charge.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2009, 09:55:13 PM »
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I subscribed some time ago and was sent the generic user name and login that I believe all free subscribers are sent, but can't get it to accept my login information to download the Local Contrast link.  Is it just a recipe for how to accomplish it, a Photoshop action, or something else altogether?
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2009, 11:24:58 PM »
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It's a short PDF with the steps laid-out. If you want to have it I recommend you send JP an email and ask him how to obtain it. Looks to me now that the worst that can happen is it will set you back about 2 bucks, unless it's free to subscribers. Worth it anyhow.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
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