Ongoing product value and paid upgrades

I own all of your AI programs and have spent several hundred dollars purchasing them.
Like many others, one of the main reasons I purchased your programs was because of the lifetime upgrades. To be honest, I use your programs on only 1% of my photos, however I chose to support your company because I thought the software was innovative and that you guys seemed to buck the trend of subscription services that many other companies were switching to.
Looks like I was wrong.

For the record, you guys are the only software purchases I have made in many years. I still use older Adobe software like Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 6 simply because I absolutely despise the subscription model.

I recently purchased your Mask AI software to complete the suite. Honestly, I haven’t found much use for the software and I find it to be inferior to methods used in Photoshop. However, the main reason I bought it was because I was under the notion that you would improve the software through your free upgrades in the future to make it more worthwhile. Seeing that you are no longer offering free long-term upgrades, it looks like I’m going to have to request refunds on this and other software I purchased from you.

At the very least you should follow what many other software companies have done in this situation and grandfather in your existing customer base to the lifetime updates and only applying the 1-year update policy to new customers. Quite frankly, it’s just smart business sense and won’t alienate your brand from the base which has helped you grow throughout the years.


I’ve sold your software to friends based on your upgrade policy. I understand you want the revenue but you are no longer as different from other companies.

I don’t know the market you face. I’d like you guys to stay in business but I really don’t like this.

The biggest expense for your software is the workflow adaptation. Photoshop has 100x the training resources and it is easier to represent Photoshop skills to the photography market. The basic weakness of Photoshop, especially for the amateur or non-profit, is the ongoing costs. You used to answer that weakness.

For anyone not making money on their photography you guys were the answer. No longer.

If you can’t keep the policy, ok I understand. If you are cashing in while the market shrinks, ok. Just don’t be surprised if formerly loyal customers jump for free toys over your tools. Of course we wanted your quality when we’d already paid. When we have to pay again?

We’re not the Photoshop Set.


Is the proposed change actually going to fix a revenue issue? Is a business model to include lifetime updates really flawed? It is said that if there are new features then there would be a choice to pay for an upgrade, and if not one could stay with the old version. If one looks back as a long time user, you perhaps would share my thought that none of the products really offered new features in successive versions. Plugins are generally based on a single specialised task, they are not editing suites that gain features. Plugins work as feature set expansion to a host program, in case of Topaz the host being Studio. For instance Topaz Remask always remained a masking tool, it saw some GUI updates and perhaps some code refinements, but never anything that I would see as a new feature. Are the updates we have seen traditionally one would be willing pay for, or are they cosmetic and bug fixes. I call those updates maintenance, nothing really new, but some work is done to extent usability and prevent them from looking dated. I think that is also what many people are saying when talking about pricing levels for updates, people who think maintenance think very low numbers. So here is the question to the long term users, if you think back, how much would you have paid for the iterations of the initial plugins? In my case I have to concede not much, you can’t resell the specialised task a plugin over and over again. May be that is the very reason why lifetime updates were thought of by the founder to be included upfront, it wasn’t a business flaw, but the basic thought that plugins mature quickly. The insight was, that revenue had to come from new ideas and hence new products need to be developed. Overall I’m very concerned that a lack of innovation is driving a confusion between maintenance and feature expansion. I have never been that busy before with ongoing updates to operating systems, that then require new drivers, that then also require updates to the productive software. An so it goes around in circles keeping one busy, but perhaps making no real difference to the actual output. This is not progress. The changes Topaz is suggesting is not addressing in my opinion a difference between maintenance and development/innovation. The user base is undoubtedly diverse, some working with small images of a few mega pixels, others want to handle stitched composites of several giga pixels, some work on laptops with very limited capabilities, while others have high spec workstation desktops. I’m pretty sure that Topaz products do not work up to the pixel dimension limit of Photoshop. Can Topaz ever please such a diverse user base, should there be a basic and a power versions? While some will say processing takes too long, others will complain about lack of capabilities or insufficient processing accuracy. Topaz must find a way to foster innovation and not hope for a major revenue stream that is based on maintenance, it doesn’t mix. Mask AI was released, but based on some posts here falls presently short to what some users had hoped for. With some saying it is not an improvement over Remask this a major strategic issue as this was a paid for upgrade by all users and should have hence been a programming priority. There is dissatisfaction even so it essentially was already an early implementation to what is outlined to be the new direction. Higher pricing drives higher expectations. Key is to find out what the market wants and what it is willing to pay for such needs to be met. As a customer I evaluate based on present value unless of course there are updates included in the upfront promise. If I’m to support development now then I want a return in future. It is not a good idea to just sit and wait until things might be good enough for purchase one day, this old fashioned approach serves nobody and working through trial versions is time consuming. May be a form of crowd financing may provide a better stimulus for targeted development that has the appropriate returns and support for early supporters of new products as opposed to an attempt to milk the market with matured products that are essentially in maintenance mode.


Have you also thought about the fact that people should be able to read your text?


Hello Eric,

If we haven’t already been acquainted, I am Markus, customer of Topaz Labs. I had a good start in 2020 indeed when purchasing GigaPixel AI in late 2019 including free life time updates and upgrades which I am looking forward to.

Thanks so much,


Great question. The intent of the upgrade plan is to only charge for new features and functionality and not bug fixes. We will not be charging for bugfix “dot releases”. This means if your upgrade license expires at DeNoise 2.1.0 and we later release 2.1.1, you’ll still get that for free (even though you need an upgrade license for 2.2).

Of course, this is only useful in practice if we actually put out bug fixes for older versions. Although we can make no firm guarantees here, we’ll do our best to accomplish the intent of the upgrade plan:

  1. We will make best efforts to back-propagate bug fixes for previous versions going back a year.
  2. If we cannot do that for technical reasons, for more severe bugs we will upgrade users to a fixed version for free.

Extending the logic behind my initial post: we’re aligning our pricing model to make sure that our product stays a significant part of your workflow. Fixing breaking bugs and maintaining compatibility is a major part of that.

Just to set the right expectations on this one up front: bugs include crashes and obviously wrong behavior, like color shifts in raw files. However, it doesn’t necessarily include all undesirable behavior. For example, Gigapixel sometimes creates “squiggly” artifacts in certain textures, which some have labeled as a bug. Since we’d need to significantly refine our AI model or train a completely new one to solve this problem, this wouldn’t be included in a bug fix release.

As with most things, how well this works depends how well we do in getting you massive value out of our products. Buggy software does not contribute to this goal!



1: You sold your products with a specific promise to the purchaser regarding improvements, upgrades etc.

2: Your new policy is in direct violation to the terms and conditions regarding upgrades that caused me to choose Topaz over your competition

3: I invested hundreds of dollars in Topaz software

I will expect a full refund, or I will take additional and appropriate action to recover my investment


What (I think) you should have done is announce a new pricing plans starting (some date) for all new purchases. Leave the customers that purchased your products grandfathered to the agreement made at the time or purchase. Isn’t that the way it should be?

I’m in my 9th decade on this old earth and likely won’t be around that much longer. I’d drop off that grandfathered list probably sooner than later. I have to choose carefully what I buy and show loyalty when loyalty is shown to me. All you’ve done is sour my from Topaz Labs – I’ll no longer “brag” about your products in the graphics forums I participate in, and certainly won’t be giving you any more of my money.

[edit] Here is the thread link where I was going to defend Topaz Labs. It’s the Planetside site (Terragen) where they are talking about denoiser’s: Path Tracer Denoiser Image Effect idea

I wanted to check here first and saw this thread.


I Understand too. I Hope I Am not Paying for a product that has same Raw Problem When producing Raw Files.Right now it Should be compared To Product That Denoise but Only Produces Tif for Quality out side of PhotoHost. I am experiencing color problems with DenoiseAI Reading it’s own Raw And Writing it out.Maybe Raw output needs to be Removed till it is fixed.ProPhoto can be Set as A Default like in the DNG output.Also the Program can scan for ICC Profiles And USE OCIO For Color.
It Can Also Have A directory for THEM Like Photoshop plugins.

When Denoise AI works a Plugin it uses the color of the host.
From Denoise 1 to To 2 It Had With a Problem RAW From it own.This constitutes a version.When I Was in Class we had Adobe Software Adobe had Monthly Payment and Yearly in the class Students Crashed Illustrator This is like paying for A car and mechanic overlooks a repair.Client ends up paying to beta test the product because the bug was not fixed in the Release.Simply Adding Features and ignoring the bug does constitute value.
The Pros They do well as Plugins.
We’ll As Writing Tiff
Does Good Job in these File Tiff JPEG,ect
When Reading its own Raw Color is incorrect outside of host.
Depending the Photo the error leans to the color of the photo.

I could not Justify Paying for a Upgrade if the bugs from previous version existed in new one.

I Have Been a Customer Since Clean and Lense.


TL/DR: paragraphs please

I feel totally let down all ready. I purchased DeNoise AI in Nov / Dec mainly because of it’s performance and it had free upgrades as per contract. The $49.99 upgrade price is far too expensive. $10 a year should be the maximum and that way you would keep your customers but I can imagine most current customers will do the same as what I’m going to do, keep using the product without upgrades then will purchase a product from somebody else when it’s better than the Topaz product. Topaz should rethink and apply the upgrade cost to new customers only otherwise RIP Topaz.


Thanks for the outstanding products you guys have developed. Just recently, I mentioned to someone that I didn’t see how Topaz could continue with the policy of “buy once, free upgrades forever” and continue to be viable as a business. The business model you’re moving to is logical and understandable. Your software has helped me sell a lot of images—if you need my support, you have it.

Gary Ricketts

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Very dissapointed to here this. I just purchased the Topaz Bundle for a significant amout of money. I rarely, if ever use several programs in the bundle. I wish I had known this was your plan a month ago. I would not have purchased it. It looks like you’re going down the same road as Adobe and I’m afraid it will have the same result with many of your users defecting to the next startup. This is the exact reason I quit using Photoshop.


Eric: I have been a long long time user and and have 95 % of your plugins. I have always trusted Topaz to provide usable cost effective software. I rarely hesitated in buying your new offerings, One thing I did not see mentioned in the 700 + posts is that as a satisfied user I cant count the number of times I have recommended your products to Others in my 10 Year Photography business. i would first say that the tools work but always follow up that you need only pay once as being one of the major reasons for investing in Topaz products. This was a major selling point that you have lost and will put great pressure on you to retain your client base… I have as others have pointed out found that some of your most recent offerings were not as functional as previous legacy tools . For instance Denoise (legacy) Operates far faster than denoise AI and I have found that the older remask just seems to work better than the AI version. You seem to be going in the wrong direction. You have asked that we trust you that improvements in many areas are coming . I certainly hope this is the case. I watched in horror at an out of the Blue email from Photodex Pro Show stating they were simply going out of business and here is another company that you can buy SW to replace the photodex product. I am getting an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach that I will one day soon get this kind of email form Topaz and that will be a very sad day., I use your tools every day was glad to see batch capability finally making it in to some products and like the Sharpen Ai tool so not all negative here. DONT Let us down ERIC

Hi! I like Topaz products. However, in my opinion they are still quite raw. They have too few settings and options. I bought Gigapixel AI, Denoise AI, Sharpen AI with the condition that I will receive lifetime updates and I will get well-developed products in the future. I bought them as an early access product with the ability to use it now. For example, Gigapixel AI has version 4.4, but of the new features, these are just a few additional options. This should have been done back in version 1.5, not in 4.4. Now you want me to pay annually for adding a few more new options to your products, which should have been included in the release version 1.0. I almost bought Video Enhance AI, but paying $300 every year for updates is too much for me. I am willing to pay $100 for account-wide updates if they include Video Enhance AI updates, but not $300. Sorry.


I fully agree. This is extremely disappointing and a license breach.
I lost my trust in Topaz and won’t buy neither upgrades nor new products.
Full stop.


They guaranteed us updgrades forever.
Now they broke their promise.
I don’t trust you anymore.


What I would like to see is consistent RAW processing across the entire product line.

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I decided to check this morning to see if there were any upgrades:

Mask IA and Sharpen AI give an error: “Failed to get a reply from Server - error code 99” and Gigapixel AI indicates that there is an update available, but does not start when I indicate yes to upgrade. Not certain if anyone else has experienced this. I have reported both to Topaz Support; but mention it here as there is a need to get the upgrade process stabilized; if we are expected to pay for support.

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Eric -

All of the “they promised xxx”, “they can’t be trusted to not do it again”, etc aside, the bottom line for me is that I cannot justify $99 for a year of updates/support for a group of products that I use a few times a year. I am not a professional photographer and I can get “good enough” results from other tools that I am already paying for.

Like many others here I didn’t understand how “free lifetime updates” was sustainable. Business models have to change over time and I get that. As those changes occur I have to re-evaluate my decision to use a product. This type of thing has happened to me before, but existing customers were either grandfathered in or given a significant discount. Topaz decided not to do either of those. That’s their decision and I suspect that it is legal. Is it desirable? No. Is it ethical? I think that’s questionable. Does it do anything to thank existing customers who built the company, either by buying the software or recommending it? Absolutely not. That for me, is the main reason I will most likely not upgrade or purchase any more Topaz software.

Please consider lowering the cost for current customers as a demonstration of your appreciation and goodwill. You will most likely see many more customers continuing to pay for the products if you show them that they are more than $ signs.

As the saying goes, never bite the hand that feeds you.