Topaz Clarity vs Topaz Adjust

Kansas Tractor #4 Clarity Version
Kansas Tractor #4 Clarity Version

Click on the image to enlarge it in a new window.

Today I decided to go back to an image I posted a few days ago that I had processed in Topaz Adjust. I have always liked the effect that Topaz Adjust has when applied to these sorts of rusted relics. I usually apply the Spicify preset and then tweak it to achieve the final result. The one thing that I have always struggled with when using that method was the extreme halos that arose when pushing contrast, saturation and definition to enhance the texture in the image.

Topaz Clarity is designed to allow enhancing texture, contrast and saturation while minimizing halos and similar artifacts. The image below shows haloing in the sky and around the edges of the tractor that are almost entirely gone in the Topaz Clarity processed image. From these two images it seems clear that they have accomplished their goal. I was able to open up the shadows and saturate the colors without getting the types of halos that the Topaz Adjust version below exhibits.

Kansas Tractor #3
Kansas Tractor #3

Click on the image to enlarge it in a new window.

From this experiment I can say Topaz Clarity lives up to it’s billing. I’m sure that as I become more familiar with the software I’ll be able to create images that reflect my vision for them while avoiding having to go into additional processing to deal with halos. I think Topaz Clarity is a valuable addition to my processing software and recommend it to anyone looking for a program that will give great control to contrast and color in single frame images.


Topaz Clarity will retail for $49.99, but will be available at a special reduced price of $29.99 through May 31st with with this promo code: claritynew

Please use the Topaz link below when going to the Topaz Labs site.

I’m an affiliate of Topaz Labs and earn a small commission on any sales made through my referral link which helps me offset the cost of producing SpeedDemon2. 



14 thoughts on “Topaz Clarity vs Topaz Adjust

  1. Yes. The difference is remarkable. I purchased Clarity yesterday (through your link) to go with the rest of my Topaz filters. I have tested it a little and am pleased with the results.

    1. Thanks for the purchase Terry I am sure we’ll really like it as we learn more about it. Topaz has a bunch of webinars scheduled next week to showcase it and bring folks up to speed.

  2. I love it … the clarity function in Adobe Camera Raw is one of my favorites … looks like Topaz has taken the concept to another level. Thanks for your post!!

    1. Yes Lois I think this program will take a lot of images to an all new level without having to go the Photoshop route. Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment it’s much appreciated. Please come back soon there are changes coming to that I hope will please my readers.

      1. Thank you. I love FAA. I sell fairly well there but it can take quite a while for whatever the mechanism is that produces sales to crank up … be it the search engines or the universe. You have to have decent images and do a lot of your own marketing and be persistent and patient. There’s also a great community of talented artists that are mostly very supportive of each other. Most importantly, the quality of the product FAA creates is truly the best I’ve seen. Come join us … and let me know when you do!!!

        1. I have had an account there for several years and have only made one sale in that time. I did order a canvas print for my own use to evaluate the quality and thought it was accurately printed and well made.

          I think you are correct that the marketing has to be driven by the artist just as a blog requires continual input to succeed. I am moving SpeedDemon2 to self hosted in the next week or so and will then implement a sales and marketing strategy which may include FAA and Pixoto for delivering product.

          Thanks for giving me good info and taking time to share your experience. As a fine artist for well over 30 years I can honestly say that the advent of blogging and photo sharing sites has done more for my career than anything else has.

          1. Thanks for the post. I downloaded Topaz Adjust a couple of week past in the trial version. As soon as I tried it I saw the halos. Sinece then I have been traveling so didnt have much time play with it. I was however going to let it expire without purchase. Now I am interested in the Clarity version.
            Good information thanks again.

  3. Hello Nick,
    After 35 years in the aerial mapping industry, I’m a stickler for shadow / highlight detail. Running the photo lab, I was involved with several generations of “Log-Etronics” automatic burn/dodge printers, which with CRT’s, PMT’s, and other amazing electronics (especially for the 60’s thru 80’s) evened out the tonals on our 9″ x 9″ negatives, usually with just a ~ 1 to 4 sec exposure!
    Sometimes on extremely contrasty imagery (such as bright land surrounded by water) we would get these halo effects, but the trade-off for increased detail and resolution in the shadows and highlights was a good one for the compilers.
    For this reason, I prefer image #3 even with the halos because the resolution is superior especially in the tractor’s grill, rotted tires, as well as all of the shadow area’s in the shot, especially the gravel.
    There must be a way to crank this “burning” down a touch and retain some shadow detail?
    Good luck, and lots of fun dialing that in!
    BTW, yet another awesome shot, just the kind I enjoy AND would stop for, Thanks Nick!

  4. Forgive me for jumping in here, but … you really don’t have to compromise!!

    Photoshop junkie that I am, I’d put both into Photoshop. Put the image with the sky you like as your first layer, then add the image you like with the gravel and grill details on top. Mask the sky out of the top image with all the halos down to the image with the good sky, flatten … and you’re done!! Easy peasy!!

    Now that Photoshop is doing this cloud thing that a lot of people are very unhappy about, there is hope that Topaz or some other editing company will come back with a new program for frame with the ability to layer the way we can in Photoshop. And NOT charge us $50.00 a month to do so!!!

    Hope springs eternal!!

    1. No need to apologize Lois. I want this blog to be a place where people can share and help one another. I have neglected PS for too long. I guess I’ll have to start working more with it and do the masking and blending things that I’ve been avoiding. 😉

      Topaz FX has the ability to apply layers and combine effects. I know that Clarity has a masking feature too so it looks like I’m going to have to start experimenting with it too. OnOne also has a feature called in Perfect Photo Suite that creates layers.

      I expect all the major plug-ins to go that route soon. Both Topaz FX and OnOne Perfect Photo Suite will work as stand alone applications too.

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