Caution: this is a techie post. I want to share some experiences with Topaz 2 which might be helpful to my colleagues.
First, I like it a lot. I’ve certainly not put Photoshop (from Elements currently to CS6) out to pasture. So far It seems that I can do things in PS that I can’t do in Topaz but maybe I’ll learn (any unused neurons still there?). As an example the side-by-side below was assembled with layers in PS. Don’t know if I can do things like that in Topaz. On the other hand (as Tevye would say) I’m amazed at some of the things I can do in Topaz that I can’t do in PS.
I have a project underway for another book (shameless commerce plug: see http://www.BetterPix.net). The next book involves using a number of older images processed years ago in various Adobe generations. I find that Topaz’s AI Clear in Studio 2 adds vitality and sharpness. Here’s a case in point. On the left is a print from a slide made in 1965. The slide was printed and eventually the print was scanned on to a pbase gallery page. Lots of opportunities for degradation. On the right is the result of applying AI Clear to that pbase file. Amaaazzzing!
Yes, amazing, and I’ve found it beneficial in other images for the book which were made within the last ten+ years and still in my files as Canon CR format. Herewith a Sanibel racoon made in 2009, captured in Canon CR and rendered here as a jpg after conversion in CS6. It was never a good image being a bit fuzzy. Below it is the image after running it through AI Clear. Still not great but I’ll take it.
So, where’s the rub? Workflow inefficiencies. I have to open a CR image in PS. Then I can call it into Studio 2 by clicking on that in the PS pull-down filter menu*. Then I can adjust away but when I’m done and click on Accept in Studio 2 it will return the image to my PS screen BUT then close itself down. If I’m processing a series of images I have to cause it to reopen for each image. This is not pleasing.
I discussed this with the wizards at Topaz last May and then again in December. The problem was that my Canon CR images were appearing brown and drab when opened in Studio 2. The impressively candid response from them was “We’re fully aware of some of the issues RAW files have with our software. We’re exploring possible avenues to fix this, but it could take some time, as the problem is rooted in the metadata the majority of RAWs have. The workaround you found is actually the very same one we’re suggesting to our users in the meantime. There isn’t much else I can offer at the moment!”
The workaround that I had told them about was as I’ve described above, i.e. open the CR in PS and then send the opened file to Studio 2 for their magic. So, that’s what I do in order to get the benefit of the superior rendering while I await their solution. Will it come? Should it? Yes, particularly considering how PS has been adapted to so many, many cameras’ RAW processing.
The other issue, that of Studio 2 shutting down after an Accept continues to be a nuisance; Topaz tells me they’re also looking to get this one resolved.
Meanwhile, these are powerful and useful programs!
*There is a procedure for getting Studio 2 listed on the pull-down menu. It is at: https://help.topazlabs.com/hc/en-us/articles/360031185971-Using-Topaz-Studio-2-as-a-Plug-in Note, however, that even though I’m running a 64bit machine the Topaz LLC Folder had installed in the 32bit OS – C:\Program Files\ and not where they suggested, i.e. 64bit OS – C:\Program Files (x86)\. Oh, well, just another software snafu leaving less time for a nap.