Faux HDR with Topaz Adjust

Patina Pickup
Patina Pickup

Click on the image to enlarge it in another window.

Today I’m wrapping up my automotive theme of the past week with this shot from the NSRA Streetrod Nationals a couple of years ago. Unlike most of my current work this image is a single frame which means it isn’t a true HDR image. I used Topaz Adjust to create the overall feeling of the shot and emphasize the sky and clouds while still rendering the truck’s shadow detail. By working with Topaz Adjust I was able to pull out the wonderful colors and tones that were in the image.

I hope you have enjoyed this week’s posts and writings. My goal with SpeedDemon2 is to share my workflow and discoveries as I evaluate and apply the many plug-ins that are out there today. I won’t claim that I’m an expert with any of them but after several years of exploring them I do have a pretty good handle on their strengths and their shortcomings. Plug-ins won’t make a poor composition or a badly exposed image better but when applied to photographs that are well thought out and  well executed they can definitely add interest and a personal style to your work.

Topaz, NIK and OnOne are really expanding the capabilities and usability of their products as they learn from their customers what they, the end users, want and need. The ability to combine presets, modify the presets and also create your own presets is rapidly expanding the range of styles and results we can get without spending hours or days inside Photoshop. Adobe’s decision to stop selling it’s creative suite and offering a subscription only model is, in my opinion, driving this expansion of features and functionality and will ultimately benefit all of us who enjoy creating photographic art.

On that note I want to mention that Topaz Labs has added another incredible program to their already extensive line. Topaz ReStyle is their latest offering and from my short exploration yesterday I think it will be a great addition to my workflow. ReStyle contains over 1000 presets and each one is fully customizable to allow the artist to fully explore his or her vision for their images. It is on sale at an introductory price of  $29.99 (the regular price after 08/31/2013 is $59.99)with the coupon code restyleit.

Use this link to go to the Topaz Labs website and download a free 30 day trial or take advantage of the introductory pricing which is good until August 31, 2013.



8 thoughts on “Faux HDR with Topaz Adjust

  1. You’re the perfect person to chat with about this … Topaz ‘s Restyle looks good, but … what’s the difference between it and what we can accomplish in the NIK series and / or the many “actions” that are available out there today? I had a look-see at Restyle and didn’t really see anything new and different from what I can already do on my other programs / filters. By the way, great job on your “Patina Pickup”!!

    1. Lois,

      Thank you for your kind comment about the image and for asking the question about the value of adding yet another plug-in to our “toolbox”. I’m not sure what to tell you about the value of ReStyle over NIK or the “actions” that are out there today. I played around a little with ReStyle yesterday and truthfully I don’t know the value yet. I saw some things that intrigued me and have me thinking about how I may be able to use it in my work.

      Since reading your comment earlier today I have been thinking about it and for me the big advantage may be that it simplifies the process of creating an appropriate feeling for an image. I think it will allow me to explore variations on a theme before committing to a final version. I like the potential but again I’m not sure how I will apply it to my work yet.

      For others, especially those who have a deep understanding of Photoshop, it may be less valuable because they are able to see their vision for an image and are willing to invest the time building it layer by layer. I have friends who love solving problems in Photoshop and enjoy that process but with me it is less about mastering a particular tool and more about creating an image that resonates with me and hopefully the viewer. In saying that I want to also say that mastering a tool is still a valuable accomplishment and something I strive for as I progress in the learning process just as mastering the camera has been a lifetime obsession with me.

      I can’t say whether you should add ReStyle to your toolset or not but since there’s a 30 day free trial available it might be worth taking some time to experiment with it to determine how or whether it works for you personally. If you do take that route I hope you will share your experience and results with me so that I can get another professional photographer’s perspective.

  2. Nick,
    I always enjoy your posts and your subjects and views.
    Thanks for keeping in touch and posting.
    I am new to the PS thing. There are so many products, I’m not sure which one to choose.
    I do landscape photos majority of the time. A bit overwhelmed.

    1. Most folks today are staring out in PS Elements or Adobe Lightroom since they are still being sold and are not part of the Creative Cloud monthly charges scheme that Adobe has instituted. I like Aperture 3 but I’m on a Mac and have been using it since it first came out. I am a big fan of plug-ins and nearly all of them work well with Aperture 3.

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