Thursday, March 11, 2010

Review - Topaz Photoshop Plugins

While playing Scramble on Facebook (ha!), I saw an ad for Topaz photography plug-ins for Photoshop.  Since I am constantly making siggies for fellow mommies on JM and other message boards, I thought I'd try them out; they offer a free 30-day trial.

They have several products: Topaz Adjust claims to fix color and details in your photographs; Topaz Detail is full detail manipulation; Topaz Simplify lets you add cartoon effects to your photos; Topaz ReMask is a masking tool for easier extractions; Topaz DeJPEG claims to improve the quality of JPEG's and other web images.

I tried two different photographs.  The first was a photograph of a rather complicated flower, because most of my extractions are of flowers and small objects that require a great deal of refined extracting.  I was excited to try ReMask2.  Unfortunately, even with a "hard" mask, it wasn't that great.  It didn't give me a nice clean edge.

So I tried a picture of my son that has very definite borders; I figured it'd be easier for ReMask2 to help me out.  Sadly, it still wasn't good enough for my needs.  There was a fuzzy line all around the object that I was trying to extract (in this case, a picture of the baby).  I would have to use the lasso as usual to get the nice crisp edge that I need, which means that ReMask2 didn't save me any time at all.

I played with the Adjust, Clean, Detail, and Simplified plug-ins and got better results.  My picture was definitely cleaned up, crisper, brighter and more detailed.  I think the plug-ins are worth it for that reason, but I wouldn't buy ReMask on its own.  It may work well for other folks who work with photographs, but for digiscrapping purposes or siggy making, I give ReMask2 a C- and the other plug-ins a B.

Want to try the 30 day download?  Go here.  You can download the bundle that contains the various plug-ins mentioned above.

I'm going to keep playing with them for the 30 days and will post again if I get better results.

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