About the General Discussion category

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To me, General Discussion is a starting point that resonates with all

and I have just seen that is one month later. Sorry. I wasn’t available then.

Hi Joe
I’ve been trying to find some basic information about Pre processing raw images prior to using Topaz filters, for argument sake I use Camera Raw to process most of my images, is this a necessary process before using Topaz filters.
Have been frustrated with the limited about of info about this subject
Some advise in thi matter would be appreciated

Thanks Mark

General Discussion is a very useful category for instance for Thanking Topaz Labs for their generous treatment of their customers.

For example I want to point out that they are making some of their best, newest AI programs available free for those of us who have purchased similar Topaz programs in the past. For example AI-Denoise, which is probably the absolute best Noise Reduction program I have ever used (I have used virtually every major program), was given to me for having purchased AI-Clear (which is a Studio Plugin), as well as another program for based on having an older slightly different version.

Few companies, pass up a chance to up-sell a newer product for additional profit. Topaz Labs however, appreciates it’s customers more than an immediate profit, and thus earns customer loyalty in spades. This is not something new, Topaz Labs has always had a similar, outstanding, habit of doing such things.

It is no wonder that I like many other customers, recommend Topaz Labs to all who will listen not only for their excellent products but for their generous treatment of customers.

Thanks very much Topaz Labs !


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Has anyone on the forum responded to your question? It is a good question. And, perhaps approaches have changed with the intro of Studio 2 and whether folks are using just the standalone products or products as plugins to another host. For instance, I use all my Topaz products (except those that are standalone only) as plugins to Ps CC 2019. Because I shoot raw, I always do an ACR processing before opening my images in Ps. Used to be I’d then do a denoise and light capture sharpening before using the ‘creative’ digital tools from Topaz. I’m finding that since the intro of Studio 2 I still do that step one in ACR, but then I move to Studio 2 more directly. Sometimes I’ll use other 3rd party software after that.

If you’d like more inputs, I suggest you be sure you’re in the “General Discussion” option then click on the button that says something like “New Topic”. Put an abbreviated version of your question in the subject line, then flesh out more about what you’d like to learn in this part of the new topic. Be sure you hit post.

Good luck! Hope you’ve found out what you were looking for in the past month!

Hi Fotomaker, I used to, and in most cases still do, (for the moment) the very same as you by pulling all of my images into ACR and then doing my standard touch ups there before heading to Topaz. However, my workflow will change dramatically once they get the DeNoise batch processing straightened out.

Topaz and other software companies, as I’m sure you know, do advise it is best to use Noise reduction software as the very first step in processing. As you know already, Topaz can change/enhance noise also, so it’s best to remove it first. For now, as you are too, I’m into ACR where I adjust my contrast, Highlights, shadows, and exposure then I’m back into Photoshop to take care of the noise through DeNoise. You might have read this next part if you read my post for the first BETA version of batching with DeNoise, but if not — You may have different results with your photos than I do, but with my photos I don’t generally find any harm to running a photo, which may not even appear to have any noise in it at all, through DeNoise before doing anything else to it. Obviously I’m not touching my original and doing this only to a copy. I have 5000 photos of my trip to Italy a couple months ago which I still haven’t processed. Going through and identifying the ones with noise and those with none, would take several hours, and they would be wasted hours. Once Topaz has the batching problems solved, I’m going to dump those 5000 into DeNoise and start the process just before going to bed and wake up the next morning to see what I’ve got. I’ll have them processed and saved back to the same folder where the copies were. The next morning I can easily go through and compare the two. I’ll set up two “photo view” windows on the same monitor, one for the original and the second for the DeNoise processed version and can just keep clicking through and comparing. Making note of the ones that don’t turn out right and that I can redo separately. You are very knowledgeable and may have already figured this out on your own. In that case, you can forget about reading this. Ooop’s ---- too late.

I’ll have to check that out, Terry.

Yes, I always DeNoise 1st before doing any other processing. Just to be sure I’m not sharpening noise or other artifacts I don’t want to draw attention to (or make them more difficult to eliminate from an image either). Also, I love creating composites so I like all potential elements that will become part of a composite to start from a consistently clean (no noise & no distracting details) yet flat base. I do all dodging, burning, sculpting for visual dimension and color toning/grading after the components are together.

I typically am highly critical of my own photography. :neutral_face: Therefore I generally select the very few images I feel best about to process from any given shoot (or, travel). The result is that I end up with a small number of options I think deserve the ‘full Ps treatment’.

With that approach in mind, it didn’t occur to me to run a batch process for the full quantity of images I gen in any situation. But I’ll consider it.

Before Adobe updated Raw (in the past…) to support new cameras of mine, I’d run their DNG converter on my entire batch of images (I also wasn’t a fan of sidecar files & that was another motivation for doing so, but I digress). At some point I said to myself (yes, I talk to myself - but I don’t hear voices!), “Self, why are you doing this & generating so much more info for your (now Win 10) PC to store?? Especially if you aren’t planning to process all that.

The reason I mention that is, I - possibly wrongly - assumed that running a batch DeNoise would gen a whole duplicate set of files (since there’s no way in ‘heck’ I’d save over the originals). If I’m only going to feel that maybe 5 -10 of my images are process-worthy then that’s gen’ing more memory content then I want to consume on my PC. Just like my DNG example above.

Perhaps, now that my PC is finally not only working in Win 10 (I had to do some other gyrations when it started plunking an error msg re: “Failed to Create Conexant Audio Factory…SmartAudio….” over every screen & app in the past few days) but I’ve also ported over my 3rd party plugins (including Topaz!) for use via my now also updated in the past wk Ps CC 2020 Filters menu, I can go back to testing some of these other new capabilities.

What you say makes a lot of sense. Besides my own inner critic motivations for not seeing the need - personally - for running batch processes, I think I may also have niched that type of processing as being most useful to wedding, lifestyle portrait and commercial photographers who shoot a lot and need to be able to provide a broad mix of images shot in similar (or the same) light. I rarely shoot the quantity I expect they do in order to come up with keepers that must look consistent. But I"m ready to give your suggested process a go for new adventures purposes if nothing else. And, will be excited if it saves me a step along the way! Thx for the updated note. It sounds like cool stuff for previous posters in this thread to think about too!

The only concern I will have is using DeNoise on photos which have people in them. I don’t like what it does to their skin, especially if that person is my pretty wife or me. When I do people included photos I work from Photoshop. I do the ACR procedures then go back to Photoshop, then to DeNoise for those procedures and back to Photoshop again. Once back there (and again forgive me if you already know this) the first thing I do is press Ctrl J, which creates a new layer in Photoshop, then I go to the top of the window and click on “Layer”, then down to “Layer Mask,” then over to the pop up window that opens and click on “Reveal all.” Then I click on the brush button in the tool box and make sure that the color black is selected. Now all that is necessary is for me to paint out the Denoise effects using the brush on their skin, and any other place where I don’t want the DeNoise effects to remain.

If you have only small areas you want to add an effect to, then instead of selecting reveal all, you would select “Hide all.” You would then use the brush with the color white to paint in the effect on the areas you want it to affect.

Again, sorry if you already know all of this. It took me a long time to learn it because I didn’t even know the feature was there in Photoshop to do this.

Hopefully we will have selective Topaz effect brushes eventually, but we don’t yet, so I do what is necessary.

Yes, I agree that some funky things can happen with people (skin and eyes) using DeNoise. Now, granted, if someone’s going for a surreal effect that might be something to consider…

I think with Ps it’s sorta like using Unix. There are ~10 different approaches to ultimately skin the same cat in a way that essentially looks the same at the end. Even though I open layers and add masks in different ways than you’ve detailed above (neither is wrong or right, there’s just multiple ways to do it…) I think we’re on the same page wrt the fact we can selectively apply functions like DeNoise in Ps - which I agree with you, completely, is very useful.

It’s great you’re good enough to share your ideas/techniques. I learn a lot from things like that. And, not all photographers are that forthcoming (I’ve been in photo clubs at which members held their processes very close to the vest thinking that if they shared an idea they wouldn’t win their 5 cents valued ribbon in the next club competition).

I agree that it would be ideal to have selective Topaz effect brushes for things like DeNoise and Masking, and bokeh (Lens) effects, etc.!!! It would provide key differentiators for the sale of Topaz products in a number of their plugins, versus certain competitors’ offerings, as well as offer greater ease of use by current (die-hard) customers.

I neglected to respond to one of the things you mentioned. You talked about normally not needing to process the majority of photos you take due to only a few being “Process-worthy.” I only will use the batch processing for big shoots like the one I mentioned, and for those it will be a great help. 10 - 20 photos it wouldn’t make a great deal of sense. For that number I"ve created Photoshop actions for the Topaz products which will support that feature. I have three different actions which cover the majority of photos that need noise reduction, and I just need to press a couple of keys to process the image. The large number I mentioned earlier that I want to use it on are photos of a trip in September 2019. We were in Rome, Vatican, Venice, Terracina, Pompeii, and several other smaller cities in Italy. Pretty much all of them are Process-worthy, and very time consuming. I’m glad you mentioned it. I have trips like that a couple times a year, and I completely neglected to think that the majority of the BETA testers probably don’t have a great deal of use for batch processing, just as I have little use for textures, and some others we have tested.

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I’ll have to experiment with that. I haven’t done much with Actions. But they sound handy/efficient.

Yes, I haven’t been able to provide much value-add, beta-wise, for the DeNoise product(s) for the reasons you picked up on above. I generally go hunting for a noisy image or two then try them out with the interfaces. But certainly batch denoise isn’t something I’d use often. So I sat the testing out so as not to introduce undo noise (get it?) into the feedback to developers from someone who may not rep a larger population as much as I might on some other products’ interfaces (interfaci?) & feature sets.

It would be interesting (to me) to see if someone(s) is really into night photography - like the National Parks at Night guys - what value they found in the Topaz Batch DeNoise features.

In case you are wondering why I’m spending so much time explaining these things to you, it’s for a single reason: About 25 years ago someone spent time to explain some things to me about Photoshop that I appreciated a great deal. I’m simply trying to pay her back for her help each time when I help someone else. I also end up many times relearning things I’d not have used for a long time, and I find that a positive too.

I’m certainly not saying this is one of those occasions, but there have been times when in my eagerness to help, I didn’t take into consideration, until it was way too late, that I had just wasted my time and someone else’s when I find they never had any interest at all in what I was trying to help them understand.

To give you perhaps a little more incentive to learn more about actions let me show you just one simple example of how I use them a lot. Granted, the advantages are certainly greater when you have many, but not necessarily a huge number of, images you are working on. 10 or 15 seconds isn’t a whole lot of time when you are talking about a single photo, but when you are talking about many items each taking 10 or 15 seconds, they can add up quickly. Most of all this example may get your creative mind working to see many other ways you can use them.

One of the main uses I have for actions is just as I’m ready to save the image I’m working on. Here is what I normally have to do to finish the process of working on an image. The action I’ve created for it is called “Flatten, Save, Close.”

  1. Go up under layer in Photoshop and manually flatten the image because I generally have at least three or more layers.
  2. Go up under file and down to “save.”
  3. Go to the “save” button at the bottom of the screen and press it.
  4. Go up to the window that opens and accept the options that have been set by clicking that button.
  5. Go up under file and down to the “close” option.
  6. Go up to the window which opens and either accept or decline the options given, and press the yes, no, or cancel button.
    Each one of those steps is an “action.” I need to do all 6 of those actions just to flatten, save, and close a file. They can all be done with a single press of a button because I have created an action to do all of them automatically.

Many times I’m editing photos for my wife to post on her “Classmates” forums. She is still in contact with many fellow Doctors she went through medical school with in Ukraine, and I need to add an extra step of reducing the size of the image before it is saved and can be posted online. This would normally involve an extra 2 or 3 actions which all take time, but which can all be included in the Flatten, Save, and Close action.

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Thx for the step x step. It will save research time for me. I’m gonna make a screen snip of it & save that in my “tutorials” folder on my PC too!

I did that with some coaching re: editing masks from Linda Greene & Paul too.

Actions & mask techniques were only touched on superficially in my Ps classes 7-8 yrs ago.

Remember, what I gave you here is not how to make an action, it was just what steps can be peerformed with an action. In order to create an action you need to start by clicking the “create new action” icon in the actions box. Then do the steps you want the action to perform, and end by clicking on the stop button. Glad to hear others are willing to help. I’ve gotten help from Paul also. He has a great deal more knowledge about Photoshop than I do.

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I don’t know what to say. I am a PSA member, a Chicago area camera club member who competes regularly, a long time Kelby one member, I have a lot of camera gear in the Pentax line which is fast being outdated., I very reluctantly subscribed to Adobe as a photographer after a couple of years of hanging on to PS 6 and the Last LR product. I am still interested in LR alternatives.

Now a company which I believed was one of the best, is going to go back on their WORD, and would resell their products after selling the software to me with the cavort that the software would be kept up to date as a condition of sale. ( A contract in any other language). Which they will now violate. This same company, which I so believed in that I bought ALL of their products. Even the AL products. which I though were tremendous improvements of existing Legacy Products. THUS I WAS HAPPY TO BUY THEM AS NEW PROGRAMS. Will all of your Legacy Products be updated to run new systems? Such as the 64 bit Catalina and future operating systems? Will we be charged for this upgrade or is it new product to be bought. Even if you answer this can we as your customers believe it? Photography is my HOBBY, not BUSINESS. I Bought Topez products for years as a hobbyist. I never analyzed if it would be worth it monetarily. Now what do I do? Do I look for alternative programs? Do I forget my hobby and sell the "assets"off at half price or less. Please answer or consider some of these questions. Will you honor the original commitment to produce software which will run in the ever-changing environment and only charge for new software which could be sold under different terms? I never imagined that Topaz, who billed themselves as the different company would cave in to the greed which is ramped today. You are a good company with a good product. I had a friend, recently diseased, who ran only your Legacy products along with versions of Lightroom and Photoshop to produce award winning images for all of the Chicago Land area. His computer was not capable of running the new al programs; yet he won regularly with legacy programs.

What happens now?

I Was Going To Buy The Suite … but then …

I downloaded the DeNoise trial after seeing an ad in Facebook - thought the results were amazing BUT …

Then I discoverd there is no RAW processing and nor batch processing of RAW in Adobe LR.

I wont buy it until that feature is in there - everything I do is in Lightroom and I don’t want to have to use TIFF files then convert back to RAW - DeNoise AI shoudl be compatible with Adobe Camera RAW’s engine to make bartch de-noising in LR a breeze without coming out of LR.

When that feature is in DeNoise and its the same for the other products - i.e. dont have to leave light room then I am all in!

Blake Rudis has a “Composition” webinar tomorrow May 25 at 12pm Pacific time. You can sign up here. It’s free.

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Good to know! Hadn’t heard about it. Thx for the heads up.