Topaz Labs has combined several of their legacy photography processing plugins (Impression, Texture Effects, and Clarity) into one plugin for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom – Topaz Studio 2. Topaz has also added some new, powerful editing filters in Topaz Studio 2.
What makes Topaz Studio 2 stand out is its focus on adding artistic and creative looks to images. This also works very well for nature photographs including flowers, birds, macro, landscapes, etc.
Topaz Studio AI Looks are a great place to start when deciding which direction to go with your nature photographs. Looks are like recipes or presets in other image processing software. Topaz Studio 2 has over 200 looks organized into categories, and you have the ability to save your own Looks.
As you are scrolling thru the Looks, you can click on the heart icon and Topaz Studio 2 will save the Look to the Favorites category making it easier to record and narrow down potential Looks to apply to your image. Also, try adjusting the Amount slider on the look thumbnail to see if a lesser effect will look good on your image.
The great thing about Topaz Studio Looks is that they are really just stacked filters each on their own layer. Once you Apply a look, you can edit those filters or add additional filters to your image.
Topaz Studio has 34 different filters to apply to your images. Some filters are the same as you would see in other image editing software, but some are really unique and can apply some interesting effects to your nature photographs.
Topaz Studio 2 also allows you to add layer masks to each filter. There are five different ways to create a layer mask: Brush, Spot, Gradient, Color, and Luminosity.
You can also start with one of the other masking layers and touch it up with the brush masking tool. There is an Edge Aware feature that helps you to stay within the lines.
You can also copy and paste layer masks between layers by right clicking on the layer mask.
My Favorite Topaz Studio Filters
Topaz Impression Filter
Impression turns your photographs in to paintings. You select the brush, Number of strokes, Brush size, paint volume, paint opacity, stroke rotation, and more. You can also add a texture to give your image the look of being painted on a canvas.
Adding Textures to Your Photographs
Topaz Studio 2 has over 240 different textures you can apply to your images. Studio 2 contains textures like dust, scratches, light leaks, borders, grunge, double exposure, and more. You can filter the textures by Group and Category.
You can also adjust the texture by moving, expanding, shrinking, flipping or inverting the texture. You can further modify the texture by changing the blending mode and opacity.
Since each filter is on a separate layer, you can also stack multiple textures on an image. Textures are a great way to add an artistic touch to your nature photographs.
Precision Contrast Filter
Instead of adjusting contrast by Highlights and Shadows, Precision Contrast adjusts the contrast by correcting micro, small, medium, and high contrast levels independently.
I really like the level of control and the results provided by this contrast filter. You can also control lighting and color adjustments on the same filter.
Edge Exposure Filter
This filter is like a rectangular vignette filter where you can independently control the size, darkness / lightness, and transition for each side of the image. This filter provides a lot of control for the lighting on the edges of you image.
Color Theme Filter
Allows you to change the 5 most dominant colors in your image to quickly change the tone and mood of your image.
The top row are the original colors and the bottom row are the new colors. Simply select the color in the New Color Theme row and move the cursor in the color palette to change the color. The changes will be shown immediately in your image on the left.
The filter also lightness and detail sliders that you can adjust for each of the colors.
AI Clear uses artificial intelligence to selectively sharpen and reduce noise in your images. This used to be my favorite sharpening and noise reduction filter for my nature photographs until Topaz came out with DeNoise AI. The new algorithms in DeNoise AI seem to work a little better than AI Clear. The AI Clear algorithm is still included in DeNoise AI.
These are just a few of my favorite filters. Topaz Studio 2 has a wide range of filters to edit and give an artistic look to your photographs. In the above image, I stacked 10 layers to create this covered bridge with a painted look. Topaz Studio 2 can be your one stop shop for editing your photographs or it can be combined with edits from Photoshop, Lightroom or other Plug ins.
Written by Martin Belan
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