TA4sm

Earlier this week I got my hands on the latest version of one of my favorite plug-ins, Topaz Adjust, which now sports a clean, new very, very, very Lightroom-like interface. In fact, if you use Lightroom plug-in version of Topaz Adjust 4, you might not even realize you’ve left Lightroom, as the layout is so similar. That’s not a criticism—you open it and you immediately know how to get around, and how things will work, and that’s not a bad thing. [Photo above by Stephen Gober].

I use the Topaz Adjust 3 plug-in quite a bit, and this upgrade (which is free to existing customers, which is awesome) is a big step in the right direction. Here’s what the gang at Topaz says is new 4:

…includes many new presets, the ability to handle larger images, a new user interface, faster noise reduction, and greater stability.

So far, I agree with everything, except on my machine the stability part isn’t 100% there yet, as it does occasionally crash, but I imagine a bug fix will be on the way soon.

But there are these two little things….
I do love the new interface—-a huge improvement over the old one, but there are two little things that are driving me a little crazy (but, of course, these may just bother me—you may not bat an eye), but to me it seems like they stuck the “OK” button in the wrong place. Instead of putting it in the bottom right hand corner of the window (where everything from phone numbers in print ads to OK buttons usually wind up, simply because that’s where we’ve all be trained to look for them since just after birth), instead it appears below the center preview window.

So, when I’m done editing I keep going over to click where OK should be, but instead it says “I feel lucky.” At that moment, I don’t feel lucky. ;-) But that’s not the weirdest thing. When you launch the plug-in from Photoshop’s filter menu, the dialog you see below appears:

TA4a

OK, so, ‘Why?” I just chose Topaz Adjust 4 from the Filter menu in Photoshop, so I was pretty sure the next thing that would appear was the Topaz plug-in. I’m not sure it’s necessary to reinforce that. Secondly, it goes on to tell the user that when you’re done with filter click OK or Cancel. If my teenage son read that, he’d say “Duh!”

Those two minor things aside, this is a big step ahead for Topaz in refining and expanding their plug-ins. While I can nit pick some of this little stuff (both of which really just make me kind of chuckle), you can’t argue with the quality it produces; the ease of how it does it’s thing, and the incredible value for the price if you’re buying the plug-in for the first time (and of course, if you’re already a registered user, the upgrade is free).

Here’s a link for more details on the new Topaz Adjust 4.

UPDATE: I just got word from Larry Becker (NAPP’s Executive Director) that NAPP members get 25% off Topaz plug-ins (check the member web site for details).

About The Author

Scott is the President of KelbyOne, an online educational community for Photographers, Photoshop and Lightroom users. He's editor and publisher of Photoshop User Magazine, Conference Technical Chair for the Photoshop World Conference & Expo, and the author of a string of bestselling Photoshop, Lightroom, and photography books.

42 Comments

  1. Completely agree Scot, its a great plug in and those two things are a little annoying, they are also in the updates of their other plugins

  2. Nothing to do with this post but, I was interested to see (on Terry White’s blog) that you play Modern Warfare 2 almost every day with your son, I do the same with my son, maybe we should get some “photographers frag” t-shirts printed

  3. Scott, I love the Topaz filters (have them all) but this last upgrade crashes when it starts rendering. I have XP Pro and Cs4 with Quadro CX card. Has any one else had this problem? Topaz has contacted me twice via e-mail (quickly) and they are working on it. I had same problem with Portrait Professional but was unable to resolve that issue and lost my $. I really liked the trial Portrait Pro but never got the regular version to work. Topaz seems to have a good support response and I’m sure they will get me fixed. It looks great for a secound and then….

    • Upgrade to Windows 7! It runs much better and CS4, Topaz, Photomatix, etc. all work fine with W7.

      • I have heard that. I think I was supposed to uninstall the older version first. I am awaiting a reply from Topaz. They are great about cust. support.

    • I have XP Pro also and I purchased the full set of Topaz plugins today, installed Adjust4, which I opened in CS4 and it immediately crashed the first time it started to render but after that just by opening it. I was looking for helpful information, when I found these posts. I uninstalled Topaz Vivacity, which I had purchased earlier but this didn’t help. I then checked that the 8bf file was present in Program Files in the Topaz folder, which it was and as a last resort renamed the shortcut folder, ‘topazadjust4’, in the Photoshop plugins in case I had to reinstate it and Adjust4 now works like a dream. I can now delete the shortcut folder. If it worked for me with the same OS and programs, although, I have the full program and not the update, it would be worth a try.

  4. Scott,

    Are you sure this is upgrade is free to existing customers of version 3?

  5. Never mind … it is!

  6. Scott,

    I just recently discovered the Topaz plugins and love them, especially Adjust. Best bang for your buck in PS plugins. Agree with your assessment of the two quirks. I wish they would incorporate a way of organizing the presets. Once you add a few to the stock ones, the list starts getting pretty long and unwieldy.

    I would love to see a post describing how you use the program in your workflow. Basically, one that describes what presets you lean toward for particular types of photos, and how you adjust the different sliders in the program, layer blending modes in PS, etc. in order to achieve your desired effect.

  7. This is a must have plug-in. A no-brainer with the 25% NAPP discount!

    The new interface is a monumental improvement over the previous version.

    -Bob

  8. Scott, want a good laugh, check out this video (found it on John Nack’s blog) the youtube link is:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qybUFnY7Y8w&feature=player_embedded#

  9. I was amazed at how many great improvements were included – and for free!! I have been using it for about 5 days now with no performance problems (Vista).

  10. I got Topaz Adjust and love it. I often duplicate a layer, use Topaz on the dupe, drop dupe layer opacity to 50% and it gives things a nice little remix without going too far.

    Here’s a question: I am thinking about getting Photomatix for HDR work. But Topaz Adjust already excels at (I think it’s called) tone mapping with single frames. In the end Topaz Adjust seems to do the same thing as Photomatix’s tone mapping feature — it basically evens out the levels of everything from shadows to highlights. And I can already align layers in Photoshop, another feature of Photomatix.

    Do I really need Photomatix? Or does Topaz Adjust give me 90% of what I need? Looking for advice from those who use both … thanks.

    • I have both and I think that Photomatix is a must for multi-shot HDR. For single image either one is great.

      I’d download the trial from Photomatix and give it a try for yourself.

  11. I’ve been using the Topaz suite for a while now. Definitely enjoying the latest version of Adjust. If you haven’t checked it out already, Topaz Detail also sports the new interface. Between Adjust and Detail you sure can take images to a fun and surreal place. :)

    In answer to Jeff G’s question above…. I use Photomatix and Topaz. Can I get the same results from both? Yes….with a little work. Normally to achieve the same results as Photomatix I’ve got to use adjust, then play with a little dodging and burning to accentuate highlights and shadows.

  12. One issue with the new version I have experienced (and apparently others have too, like Jeff Revell per his blog) is that when you try to edit an image from LR 2.6 using Topaz Fusion Express to get to Adjust4, it “burps” and na-da. Adjust 3 works just fine with same process. No biggie, because you can just edit the image in PS with an Adjust4 layer, and then pop right back into LR. But, still would be nice to have the new version work the same as Adjust 3 does with Fusion Express, so you don’t have to use PS.

  13. Topaz has always impressed me. Fair price, great and responsive customer service and (at least until today) free upgrade policy for some fantastic products. I would not be surprised if they addressed these small quirks in the user interface.

    It is no wonder they are receiving good press and support in blogs like yours, Scott.

  14. Regarding that pop-up message, I have seen that occur in other developers’ plug-ins as well. Perhaps it’s there to reassuringly fill the gap between launching the plug-in and displaying its interface ;-).

    The free Plugs ‘N Pixels ezine and website has ongoing info about Topaz and other plug-ins, along with unexpiring discounts.

  15. I am not so impressed by Topaz Adjust 4… A bit buggy. Crashes my Photoshop Cs4 too often(Mac version). Seems slower than version 3…

  16. I really like Adjust. However, I found on my PC when I apply a layer mask over it, it doesn’t always work (the layer mask). Sometimes I have to close the image and start over.

    • Mine still crashes in Photoshop cs4 when I open the Adjust filter. (Not Photoshop just filter)

      • Interesting Ken, I use PSE 5 and it works slick as a whistle…I’m also using Windows 7.

      • I have a laptop w/windows so i’ll install the PSE5 on it and try that. I have LR3 beta in it I guess I need to try it there too. I’m waiting for some help from them on Monday. The other upgrade (details 2? I think) did the same thing.

  17. I know a similar question was asked earlier but I don’t think I got a clear cut answer from the responses… I already have Photomatix, can you explain what differentiates Topaz enough to own it in conjunction with Photomatix?

    Thanks!!

    • You don’t have to use multiple exposure for Topaz …. makes it a big plus in my book, as I don’t carry tripods on my hiking and hunting adventures.

    • If you use Photomatix as intended for example, architecture, where you are trying to balance light coming through a window with the rest of the room, I don’t think you can achieve that same exact effect in Topaz. Best thing is to download the free trial and see the effects it produces. I use Topaz and layer masks to achieve some pretty cool photos. Topaz will change the image globally. Then mask the areas you want to protect–like skin, faces, backgrounds.

  18. Photomatix basically broadens your EV levels. A camera has about 5 EV (exposure values) and we se in about 11 or more. Photo matix ups the number we see in an image. In Topaz this is simulated but with other efects, most with contrast change.

  19. Great upgrade but, personally, I prefer Topaz Detail. Do agree on your points, Scott.

  20. I love topaz, thanks for sharing, I always learn a little more each time I read your blog.
    aloha

  21. Hey Scott, I’m a huge fan, but I must say am very disappointed with Topaz Adjust 4 … downloaded the trial version, no key, contacted customer support, completely ignored.

    Certainly not your fault/issue but I might as well just delete Topaz adjust and stick with reliable companies … like Nik Software !

    • I downloaded the Photoshop bundle trial and was a little lost on the key issue but then found a menu box at the bottom of the screen for each plug-in that had a place to click to obtain a key for the trial version. I was sent one email and the key number worked for all plug-ins.

    • I downloaded the Photoshop bundle trial and was a little lost on the key issue but then found a menu box at the bottom of the screen for each plug-in that had a place to click to obtain a key for the trial version. I was sent one email and the key number worked for all plug-ins. (You still have to go to the menu box of each plug-in to enter in the key.)

  22. Adjust 3 worked great, so I upgraded. On an image I had just worked on the day before in Adjust 3, which looked great, I applied Adjust 4 and the sky changed dramatically. It became very blotchy. I applied a filter mask to cover up the sky, but
    1) I wonder what changed for the worse in the program and
    2) Any subsequent filters, like denoise, will fall under the same filter mask.
    Other than that I love the plugins.

  23. Funnily enough I had written Eric Yang about the ‘Ok’ and “I’m feeling Lucky’ button too :)

  24. Have recently done the free upgrade to Topaz Adjust 4 and so far I am happy with it.

    The position of the OK and Cancel buttons makes sense to me since the buttons for each of the three panes are at the bottom of the individual pane, and putting the final OK button in the right pane would be confusing in that it would suggest that what was being ok’d was the info in that pane, not the final adjustments on the image displayed in the center pane. (The buttons are at the right of that pane, as is customary).

  25. Well, I enjoyed using the 3rd version, I definetly try this one too. I hope it works even better.

  26. Truly interesting story u have here. It’d be really cool to read something more about that matter. Thanks for giving such info.

    Ruby LOPEZ

  27. great software.
    im ur big fans actually mr.scot

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