Been using Topaz products for a couple years, bought 4 of them. And yes, they all do have a specific/unique (to an extent) purpose, BUT:
They ALL (I think), have a denoising function, they ALL have a sharpening function, etc etc (or it feels like it!). That makes for a very confusing workflow. Yes I know there’s a Topaz-written workflow somewhere, and yes, I suppose it helps, but still…
All those sliders doing the same thing. Etc etc etc etc.
Now I’m getting notices to update this program, that program, all the programs…and man…I’m just thinking that two years of multiple sliders that all seem to be doing the same thing has me really doubting whether to upgrade.
Obviously my main point here is that while Topaz has a bunch of good technology, it just seems to be arranged in a hard-to-navigate, haphazard bewildering way, and leaves the customer always wondering how best to use the apps…and in the end…there sometimes seems to be more frustration than benefit.
I would pay money for a COHERENT all-in-one app that does (mostly) everything in an intelligent/orderly way…but to spend more money to get, for example, 4 more denoising sliders…yeesh…it’s just frustrating.
With DxO launching Pure Raw, I would encourage Topaz to look at developing a similar product that includes DeNoise AI and Sharpen AI and supports raw processing of the various camera raw formats. Support output to TIFF, DNG and JPG and you have a Topaz front end to whatever your preferred editing tool is.
In my tests with Canon’s raw files from an R5, processing the CR3 file in DeNoise, then Sharpen and import the DNG to Lightroom, the detail was slightly better than the Pure Raw to Lightroom but the Pure Raw image has much better colors. If I send the Pure Raw DNG to Sharpen AI, then the detail is equal and Pure Raw has the advantage in that the camera profile is applied and it deals with mosaicing, CA and other stuff that raw processors do.
With Pure Raw, DxO found a good way to get into the workflows of a lot of photographers that didn’t want to use their Photolab product but weren’t happy with their raw processor. Topaz should pay attention.
It seems to me that Topaz Studio is such an all-in-one editor, but it seems almost to have been abandoned. I still use it but it could use some updating; there is Topaz Studio 2 of course but somehow it never inherited all of the good features of the earlier version. It also seems possible to me that the adjustments in TS are not being well maintained as compared to the stand-alone products.
I use both programs, sometimes in the standalone versions, but most as plugins inside Photoshop. Both Denoise AI and Sharpen AI give different results, and on some images I have to use both. For me it’s best as it is as two separete programs. I use the comparison view a lot on both products, and if they had to be combined, everything would be unecessary complicated.
When the technology and algorithms improve in the future in such a way that they doesn’t produce any significantly different results, I would agree that they should be combined, but not before .
My vote goes to NOT combining them, but keep them as it is today.
I have to say it is a bit complicated now when you want to upscale and sharpen and it usually makes very good sense to do both at the same time. I am still not sure what the best routine is so just end our misery and make one stop solution that it should have been from day 1.