topaz impression – first impression

1966

1966

Last week I installed a trial copy of the Topaz Impression plugin and process a few photos with it.  This seems to be a powerful plugin that required me to update my graphics driver and it runs slow on my system (which needs upgrading, too) but my system is 6 years old now.  That’s ancient by computer standards.  Though a bit slow, I had no problems running it and it ran smoothly.  The designers made it easy to access and it’s very flexible. There are numerous presets and each is easily customized by the user.  This customization allows for an almost limitless number of possibilities for each file processed, giving you complete creative control over the process.

This plugin, unlike others, is not meant to enhance a photograph but rather to give it more of a sketch or painting look.  I started with RAW files that were fine tuned in Lightroom before starting the plugin.  Some of these photos included here have been modified after Impression was run.

Is it worth $100 (US)?  I’m still in the trial period and I intend to see how useful it could be for my own style of shooting.  I can see a lot of possibilities but I don’t want to rely on plugins to make photography interesting. I have to say it is fun to work with a tool like this and I might find room for it in the future.

3267

3267

2334

2334

2316

2316

 

 

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19 thoughts on “topaz impression – first impression

  1. disperser

    It was on sale until September 30 for $75 . . . I still did not think it was worth the money.

    I mean, I think I would like the tool, at least from the examples I saw. However, the price is a bit steep for something I would likely only occasionally use.

    Also, Topaz has the occasional half-off sales, so I think I will wait for that (I think November of December, if I am remembering correctly – I might not be).

    And no, I did not do the trial, so I’m only going by their and your examples.

    Reply
    1. oneowner Post author

      I think you can get some stunning results wiyh it when used on the right file and a photographer might even be able to come up with their own preset and develop their own painting style, it most likely will be a tool that could stifle your creativity. It won’t make a bad photo good but it could make it more interesting.

      Reply
  2. John

    I decided not to try Topaz Impression because it seems like it’s for those who want to make their photos more painted looking than I currently want to. You did nicely with these images Ken. That’s another thing – I’d end up playing for hours with an image and end up not getting any work done!

    Reply
    1. oneowner Post author

      Thanks, John. I can be like a kid with a new toy. It’s fun to try something new but when I look at your photos I know that it really would not be an improvement. Your photos are richly detailed and plugins like this one will not help bring that detail out.

      Reply
  3. Meanderer

    What superb results! My favourites are the first two. I like the first image as the processing gives it a lovely warm nostalgic feeling. The processing also works very well with the leaf image where the greenery looks lovely and soft.

    Reply
    1. oneowner Post author

      Thanks, Meanderer. You can achieve some interesting results, especially with a photo like this first one. I think you need to put a lot of thought into the file you use Impression on in order to make a substantial improvement.

      Reply
  4. Monte Stevens

    I have Topaz Adjustments but after the newness wears off I seldom us it. And, I’m not sure I need more software. Improving my skills at the time or pressing the shutter will probably help me more than any new software. But, dang they can be fun!

    Reply
  5. Anita Jesse

    I quite enjoyed your comments, Ken, as well as the lovely images. (The first one is my favorite.) Since, I have never tried any of the plugins, I have no experience to rely on and depend upon others to satisfy my curiosity. But, I admit my own stubborness and my resistance to turn my work over to someone else’s algorithms. Yes, I know that I would have lots of options, but that doesn’t melt my resistance. Plus, it sounds ridiculous coming from someone who processes the dickens out of images. Still, I save a great deal of money this way!

    Reply
    1. oneowner Post author

      Thanks, Anita. Your post processing is superb so I don’t think you would ever be able to improve your technique with a plugin especially since you have developed a style and technique that is unique to your vision. But there is a lot of flexibility in a program like this and it may be of benefit to those looking for a particular look to their photos. And it doesn’t cost anything for a 30 day trial.

      Reply
  6. db walton

    Most of the time, filters generate push-button type of effects. My rule of thumb is if it looks like someone used a filter on it, don’t do it. Why? Because if it is that easy, everyone is doing it. However, I do use stuff like Topaz sometimes to create a background for a digital painting. (Of the samples you posted, the last one, the sketch, looks the best.)

    Reply
    1. oneowner Post author

      That’s right, DB. And this particular program has effects that give a photograph an oil painting look with lots of texture in the paint dabs. Then it looks like a photograph of an oil painting. That’s not too bad for web purposes but you wouldn’t hang it on a wall.

      Reply
  7. Cedric Canard

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this Ken. Also thanks to all the commenters for their views.

    What’s interesting about these plug-ins is that they are getting so good that I dare say it would be difficult (speaking only for myself) to tell whether an image had been hand-painted (digitally or otherwise) or simply created with the click of a button. In fact, forget “difficult”. Just from your own examples, I would go as far as to say it would be nigh impossible for me to tell the difference. I know of a couple of artists who hand “paint” on tablets from scratch and their works look incredibly similar to what you have here Ken.

    Anyway, what I’m saying is that these plug-ins are becoming really good but for anyone who enjoys the process of creating an artwork, I don’t think applying a filter or some pre-set, provides quite the same sense of achievement.

    Reply
    1. oneowner Post author

      Thanks, Cedric. I agree that the filters that do not mimic the thick oil painting effect, such as the sketch and watercolor filters, the end product is very realistic. You might have to examine a file very closely to see how it was made.
      I could see where a photographer can use these filters in other ways not intended by the designers. The top photo here has some blending and masking with the original file to bring out detail that got obscured by the fikter. There are a lot of possibilities for artists beyond just applying the filters.

      Reply
  8. LensScaper

    I’ve read quite a few reviews of Impression, and each reviewer shows differing results. It’s clear that this is a powerful plugin. But I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by the array of plugins from Topaz. Both Simplify and Clean also modify images ‘graphically’. Photoshop has a couple of painterly filters that I use very occasionally. Do I want yet another option? I’m not sure I do right now – it will only consume time that I ought to spend differently.

    Reply
    1. oneowner Post author

      I have a few Topaz plugins also and rarely use them. They are a lot of fun to play with and we are headed for a time of year where the nights are so long and outdoor photography time is limited to a few hours a week. I like the idea a using the time we are unable to shoot to continue to be creative and the plugins can be very helpful in that respect.

      Reply
  9. poppytump

    I’ve enjoyed looking at your *play with the plugins ! The 1966 looks a very nostalgic picture book photo to me .. and I love the last creation particularly . I think all of these additions have their place in the creative toolbox but you’re right first and foremost nothing can fix a bad photo 🙂

    Reply

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