Topaz Adjust Review
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I wasn't exactly sure why I wanted it, but I'd heard good things from a variety of other photographers, so I decided to give it a shot. Ultimately, I've been very impressed with the software and the results, but it should be known that it's sweet spot is in a very specific type of photo and probably shouldn't be used for every shot you create – or if you do use it for every shot, learn how to apply subtle techniques.
What Is Topaz Adjust?
Topaz Adjust can be used with Photoshop or Photoshop Elements with a goal of making your photos stand out more, and really “pop”. This can be both good and bad. If you have a drab photo, or even an HDR shot that doesn't really have the dramatic effect you were looking for, there is no better tool than Topaz to bring it to life.
That said, if your HDR shots already lean towards over-saturated, high contrast, or surreal, then adding effects from Topaz on top of your already processed image will have a tendency to bring things a little too over the top.
The chances are good that after using Topaz, you'll have crossed the the line from realistic image to artistic image, but when done well the line can be blurred and you can create some truly spectacular photography.
Topaz Adjust Layout
When you fire up Topaz within your Adobe program of choice, it opens up as a whole new window and acts as a standalone application. This is nice because the layout is extremely straight forward and easy to use, and there is certainly no shortage of customization options. On the left you'll see all of your presets that are available, and on the right you'll have all of your tools for customization. The reality is, a lot (ok most) of the tools are going to be too artsy for everyday use. That said, “exposure correction” “photo pop” and a few others are great starting points for when you want to tweak your photos to get a desired look.
Over all the nav is extremely easy to work with, and I like how easy it is to switch back and forth between the current preview and the original photo. Sometimes your changes are subtle, and this makes it very easy to see what you've edited.
Is Topaz Adjust Worth It?
There are a lot of photographers who will use Topaz Adjust to add a little bit more for their HDR shots. While I will occasionally do this, I've found Topaz to be most beneficial for flat looking single exposure shots, like the comparison above. Not only did it do a fantastic job of adding more saturation and color, it really did a pretty dramatic job of adding depth to the image in way that usually only HDR can.
That said, for the $50 it costs to pick this product up, I'd say it is well worth it. I was particularly surprised by how well the noise reduction worked (for standalone noise reduction you might also want to check out Topaz Denoise). I wasn't expecting much out of it, considering I spent closer to $100 on Noise Ninja and Noiseware, but Topaz actually held it's own in this department.
If you do decide to pick up Topaz Adjust, use the coupon code HDRsoftware10 for 10% off your total purchase!