Topaz Labs (the creators of Topaz Studio ) say that this software serves one purpose great: creative photo editing. After the time I spent with the latest version – Topaz Studio 2, I’d have to say that they’re spot on. Compared to the earlier version, Topaz Studio 2 brings in some welcoming changes. To start with, the interface is much cleaner and easier to go around. Also, now you just need to pay for the software upfront one time only.
What I like the most about Topaz Studio 2 is that all the edits that you make are non-destructive. It does not simply slap filters and adjustments on to the image, but also provides options to seamlessly mask the effects precisely where you want it. This is something that Photoshop offers, but with Topaz Studio 2, it is much easier and more intuitive.
I also found the purchase model quite convenient with this version. The earlier version of the software was free, but you needed to pay for each of the premium presets. With Topaz Studio 2, you pay for the software once upfront, and you’ll get the filters and looks bundled with it. This saves you from a lot of hassle while providing you with a lot of filters and looks to choose from.
Why yet another photo editing software?
Well, to be honest, even I had this question in mind when I came across Topaz Studio 2. In a market that’s dominated by Photoshop and Lightroom, why would I want yet another photo editing software? And I’m pretty sure most of you have the same question going around.
After my review of Topaz Studio 2, I can sum up the unique selling proposition of this software in one word as simplicity. There’s no doubt that Photoshop is powerful. But, even with the hundreds of hours that I’ve spent with it, I still sometimes struggle to get my job done. There are just too many features and options out there that I do not need which create clutter. But that was not the case with this offering from Topaz Labs.
After using Topaz Studio 2, I found it to be a simple to use photo editing solution to achieve professional-grade results. All the adjustments and tools that I needed were right there in front of me. No fiddling around the image editor searching for hidden features meant that I was more efficient with what I was doing. And the plethora of amazing looks meant that I had a one-click solution to creative photo editing.
If you find yourself struggling to find the right adjustments and editing tools, consider giving Topaz Studio 2 a try. You’ll love the ease of ease that is the highlight of this software.
Topaz Studio 2 Features
Working with Topaz Studio 2 was a breeze. After launching the software and importing an image, it is pretty simple to understand what to do next. It simply presents you with its two important features in the workspace. You can either start adding filters to the image or add a look.
The filters menu has three sections: Essential, Creative, and Stylistic. The essential section is where you can do most of the pro adjustments. The creative section has some additional adjustments that let you play around with colors and blur. And if you really want to get creative with your images, the stylistic section is where you’d want to head out to.
Of all the adjustment tools that I tried out, I must admit how the AI Clear function blew my mind. Essentially, this tool removes noise, enhances sharpness, and recovers lost details. It must be the artificial intelligence that Topaz Labs has built into this tool that does the “magic” here. While I made really subtle adjustments to my image subtle using this tool, the result was really noticeable. The photo came out a lot sharper and a whole lot cleaner.
Another impressive aspect of this software is the way it handles filters. It’s not like the way you apply a filter in Instagram. In Topaz Studio 2, you can apply multiple filters to an image. You can even adjust the opacity of each of the filters to have granular control over how much effect each filter has on the image. And the best feature is how these multiple filters sit on top of each other as layers. How cool is that? This makes the entire process non-destructive.
The option to add a mask to each layer that I had created is something I really appreciate. I’m sure other photographers will find this feature useful as it lets you have finer control over where you want your edit to take effect.
Think of looks in Topaz Studio as presets in Lightroom. But, instead of working only with basic adjustments, colors, and tonality, the looks menu has a lot to offer. I felt that the Topaz team kept not only the photographers when including this section, but also considered digital artists and creative nerds.
You can find many beautiful designs and color patterns that are included in this section which you can readily apply to your image. And like in case of filters, you can work in layers, and also modify the strength of each look by adjusting their individual opacity. In case you’re wondering, the looks support masking too.
What really impressed me when working with Looks is the modularity with which this feature has been implemented. After you add a look, you not only get to adjust the opacity and apply a mask for selective implementation but also get to fine-tune the underlying filters that the look is composed of.
For instance, after I applied the ‘Broken Bits’ look to the image above, I further got the option to play around with the Smudge, Edges, and AI ReMix filters that make up the Broken Bits look. What this essentially means is that artists get to experiment around with their creativity and get their own unique result.
Topaz Studio 2: Who is it for?
With the results that I was able to get with Topaz Studio 2, I would be more than happy to recommend this software to professionals, and creative artists. The pro adjustments in the image editor get most of the job done with ease. I could see no compromise here whatsoever. And if you’re a digital artist who likes to spend a good amount of time adding styles and creative elements to your image, you’ll be overwhelmed with what Topaz Studio 2 has to offer.
For those of you who don’t want to let go of Photoshop, Topaz has the solution for you as well. Like other Topaz plugins, Topaz Studio 2 can be launched from within Photoshop as a filter. This feature offers a seamless workflow if you need to jump between the two software when working with any image.
My Final Topaz Studio Review
Photo editing is a vital part of the photography process today. But there are still many photographers out there who hate sitting in front of a computer, working with sliders. This usually happens because there is no visual aid to help you preview the results. With the time I spent using Topaz Studio 2 for this review, I can say that this software gets around the problem.
The most important adjustments are laid right there, ready to be used. There’s simply no guessing and fiddling around. The convenience with which I was able to use Topaz Studio 2 is what sets it apart from all other editing tools that I have used. And when it comes to using the looks, you get a preview of what you can expect even before you apply it. I’m pretty sure you’ll like it as well.
If you want to have a hands-on with the software and review Topaz Studio 2 for yourself, you can head over to Topaz Labs website and download a free 30-day trial for yourself. If you like the product, you can purchase it at US$ 99.99.
New Zealand travel photographer based in London, UK. He was taking photos from a very young age in the backcountry of New Zealand before moving abroad. Since doing so he has taken workshops and tried to help get as many people into this art as possible. Featured in NZ Herald, Stuff.co.nz and many photography publications it’s safe to say he loves his photography!