Wednesday, October 7, 2009

In the Trenches #2

Since I just got Topaz Adjust, that seemed like the place to begin -- Layer #2: Topaz Adjust. A former boss used to say, "when you only have a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail;" Photoshop corollary: when you just bought Topaz Adjust, every image looks like it needs its shadows lifted. Honestly, I think it did a reasonable job brightening the face; but similar to Lucis Art, random bits of unattractive ruts and creases appear. Note dark circles under the eyes. Yikes. At this point I'm still seeing this image as a Topaz test rather than anything worth keeping. I added a mask and applied it selectively mainly to the face and helmet, also decreased the opacity of the layer overall to 73%. For reference, the mask is below. Again, nothing too spectacular, still working fast and loose.


  1. By lightening the face it looks like it darkened the area under her eyes. I'm not sure that isn't an optical illusion, but it is the net effect. That seems like a negative to me. It's still early in the process. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.


  2. I can see the improvement. The undereye darkness and around her mouth are easily fixed using the clone tool in "lighten" mode at a very low opacity, and now we can really see what she looks like. Does TA only lift the shadows or does it also do some sharpening? Did you compare that program (or Lucis Art even) to using a Levels adjustment with the midtone slider moved?

  3. Topaz Adjust has built-in sharpening in the Details tab, even noise reduction in the Noise tab. Nice because the tabs are a nice logical flow from left to right - exposure, details, color, and noise - with 4-6 sliders in each tab. I ddn't try Lucis on this photo since I just got Topaz.

  4. I like the way it brought back some important details. I agree with you, Topaz is generally not good to use on people's face--most of us do not want that much detail of our face. I might suggest that you let the eyes have all of the detail that you used on the rest of the image.

    Good explanation and good use of the tool.