Ongoing product value and paid upgrades

I havent used topaz in years, where did all the famous painter presets go >? there used to be loads of them in impressions, now there are a handful,very very disapointed, i loved the painting aspect. Now i think i have to look elsewhere.

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There are a few ported-over Looks for Topaz Studio 2 in this Google Drive.
Feel free to use, and share the link.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1FgbhEmYiu3VPNfu_1pXO2bVJHtV36rHQ

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Good information thanks for sharing
vmware

I am disappointed. I bought 3 products and I read that I would not have to pay for updates. I cant even use the batch because I dont use lightroom. SO I did 1 at a time. I dont think the price is fair its expensive. This is a hobby and I dont make money from this. Very disappointed.

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None of the products need Lightroom, the batch process is part of the application itself.

Well, not even a month after our free lifetime support was terminated, they have released 2.3.0 of Denoise, which we cannot get without paying. Here are the release notes. All of the bugfixes which are included - tough for us, we get to live with them. This is what they consider a “major” upgrade…

  • Changed the interface for the initial open images screen
  • Changed right panel so that it disables instead of hides itself on initial load
  • Changed minimum sharpness for DeNoise AI to be 1 instead of 0
    • This is to highlight the new no sharpening model (more info below)
  • Moved Low Light from under DeNoise AI and made it its own top level mode
  • Added comparison view, which allows you to compare 3 modes at once
  • Added new model that does no sharpening
    • To use this model, use Low Light mode with 0 sharpening
  • Added the ability to drag and drop folders to import images
  • Added a crash reporter which can automatically log crash information
  • Added GPU optimization for Nvidia cards
    • This can be found in Preferences > Advanced
  • Added comparison view, which allows you to compare 3 modes at once
  • Added a color change on the drag and drop area when dragging images onto it
  • Added new sample images on the initial open images screen
  • Added ability to use the mouse wheel on sliders
  • Added a way to delay the showing of license upgrade and program update prompts
    • This change has been backported to previous minor release (2.2.12)
  • Fixed an issue that made holding down an arrow key to change a slider reset it to default instead
  • Fixed color profile selection coming up in the save dialog when not appropriate
  • Fixed some minor UI spacing issues
  • Fixed grid artifacts when saving images
  • Fixed crashes due to large images when using post processing sliders
  • Fixed a crash when saving in some cases
  • Fixed arrow keys messing up the right control panel
  • Fixed some instances where the preview would not proc if it was queued after a previous one
  • Fixed OpenVINO loading non-OpenVINO models in some cases
  • Fixed scroll bars showing up on the file list view and right panel controls when not needed
  • Updated Qt to 5.15.1

Sorry, I’m done. I reported one of the bugs several months ago that they fixed, but I can’t get the fix. They did exactly what we all feared they would do - change the interface, fix some bugs, call it a major update, and screw the customers who either can’t or don’t want to pay again for something we have already paid for (free lifetime upgrades).

Good luck staying in business - you won’t get any help from me.

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You get free updates for a year, so maybe you’ll be lucky. If not, why not contact support and point out the bug fix issue that you drew their attention to. They might help out and upgrade you. But be polite:
“Good luck staying in business - you won’t get any help from me.”
That won’t cut it!

No, I do not get free updates for a year. I purchased Denoise in May of 2019, so my support period expired on Aug 31 2020 just like everyone else who had purchased one of the effected products prior to Aug 31, 2019. Yes, I might be able to beg support to get me the update or extend my support for another month so I can get the bugfix. Call it what you will but I am not interested in begging for something that I feel I have already paid for.

When I purchased the software I made the assumption that updates would be just like every other product Topaz had ever sold up to that time - free updates for life. I’m to blame for making that assumption. However, Topaz is to blame for their tactics and not making it clear that they were changing their model until 9 months after I purchased it. No, it didn’t say “free updates for life” when I bought it. However, there was also nothing saying that I only had 1 year of support or that I had anything other than the same lifetime upgrades I had up to that point on every other product.

If everyone else in the world wants to pay them for support, that is their decision. But I will not do business with a company which has treated their customers in a way that I believe is, at the very least, unethical. Whether you agree with that or not is your decision and your opinion.

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Sorry about that, but good luck with finding a company that doesn’t have either a subscription model or paid-for updates each year. Luminar 4 is about to go to Luminar AI and On1 Photo Raw 2020 to go to 2021. As an On1 user, I know for a fact that certain bugs that haven’t yet been addressed in the current version WILL be in the next version, which you’d have to pay for! That’s much the same as Topaz.

As has been said many times in this thread, I understand why they are doing it from a financial perspective. Most of the people here (maybe everyone?) would have been fine with the change if they had grandfathered in the products we already own. What bothers me and most of the others who are not ok with the change is that we bought the products under the impression that we were getting lifetime updates. In some cases, products that were sold with the “free updates for life” tag have now been changed, and others were bought with that assumption due to a lie of omission from Topaz.
I call it a lie of omission because when you advertise all of your products for years in, big, bold letters saying that the buyer will have free updates for life, you are being less than honest with your loyal customers by simply removing the statement from the website.

I have purchased several products that have lifetime updates - there was one price for a single version license, and another, higher price for lifetime updates. I decided to pay the premium for the lifetime updates for those products. That was my though with the Topaz products. Even though there was not a 1 year license, I decided to pay the high price for products that I only use a few times a year because I believed that I was buying a product with lifetime updates.

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Completely agree. I would also add that Topaz has not seen fit to reduce the buy-in prices for their products to offset the drastic reduction in upgrade support. These are plugins…one-trick ponies…and the cost to initially buy is far higher than mainstream complete editors from other companies. That was maybe ok with free upgrades. Not so much for yearly maintenance subscriptions (that’s what it really is).

It’s also confusing. I currently do not own MaskAI. Suppose I buy it at $99. It comes with 1 year upgrades. Then suppose I buy the upgrade subscription for another $99. I get 1 year upgrades on owned products. Does that mean I get 2 years on Mask (doubtful)? The prices are way out of line for niche single purpose plugins.

I get why Topaz split these tasks into 4 apps when they were offering free upgrades. But I feel that now they should be combined into fewer apps to provide more value per dollar.

If we have patience, Adobe will fix this. Photoshop’s masking ability has improved drastically. Soon, they will take steam from Luminar with AI sky replacement. It’s a matter of time before Adobe makes Topaz redundant as well. All for $120 /year, a price which has been in place for at least a decade. And when Adobe releases something with Sensei AI, it typically works properly. No waiting around for a year with buggy incomplete apps that are being beta tested by paid customers. Then fly-by-night companies like Skylum and Topaz will meet the fate they deserve.

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Topaz upgrade prices way too high especially for buggy updates. I still mostly use my Legacy Plugins as I can’t always get the results I want with Topaz AIs.

I use Corel Paintshsop Pro, and each new version has new features and improvements, plus free bug patches- $69 online upgrade price, price reduce through the year within program offers to about$39. 2021 has AI features including their own Denoise AI, AI Artifact Removal, AI Upsampling and AI Style Transfer.

Topaz has lost my business and will probably lose their own shortly with these new terms. I know there are Topaz loyalists but are there enough to keep the company a float?

Friedman Archives reviewed the Topaz AI products before the new pricing/upgrade model- he might change his mind now.

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rmbother1 - You have hit the nail on the head - these applications are all “niche single purpose plugins”. They all do one thing and one thing only - Sharpen sharpens the image, Mask masks out parts of the image, Denoise removes noise and Gigapixel enlarges images while keeping them sharp. They do nothing else. So, realistically, what new features could any of these programs offer?

I consider “new features” as a program now doing something it never did before, e.g., if Sharpen now also offered blurs, vignettes, bokeh effects, tilt/shift, etc. - whatever, with a name change to something like “AI Focus”. I don’t consider moving tools/panels around the interface as “new features” - or even upgrades. “Upgrades” are things like, new tools, or vast improvements in processing time or implementation of an entire new technology to process the images, i.e., as when they first began using AI.

Basically, these “upgrades” in Denoise are bug fixes. And features like dragging and dropping folders to import images, being able to use the scroll wheel and comparison views, etc., are things that should have been part of the apps since version 1.0 - all of these kinds of features had been used in the initial, now legacy products, as well as just about every software on the planet for years now. Why any software company, especially one like Topaz who’s been in business for years, would even create new products without commonly used features and interfaces is mind-boggling to begin with. It’s been blatantly obvious that you’ve been putting out beta versions of your apps just to quickly infuse cash into your company for some time now.

I bought my first Topaz bundle - the Photoshop Bundle, with Adjust, Clean, DeJpeg, Detail, InFocus, Simplify and Remask back on April 27, 2011. On October 31, 2014, I finally bought the
Complete Topaz Photography Collection:which added Clarity, Lens Effects, Restyle, Star Effects, B&W Effects and FX Lab and also I purchased Impressions, and then added Texture Effects on November 15, 2015.

I want to point out that this is NOT THE FIRST TIME TOPAZ HAS BROKEN IT’S PROMISE TO NEVER CHARGE FOR UPDATES. THEY DID THE SAME THING WHEN THEY SWITCHED OVER TO THE STUDIO INTERFACE. I resisted going over to Studio when that first came out because while Studio was “free” initially, most of the adjustment effects were not . When I finally did get Studio, I only bought the individual adjustments that I thought I absolutely had to have for the ease of using them right in Studio, since I had already paid for all of them in the now “legacy” plug-ins I had purchased years before.

So, then, as now, we had to pay for them AGAIN, in order to get updates because, then, just like now, the older products would no longer be updated. I finally relented when the AI products Clear, Sharpen and Gigapixel went on sale and bought them on August 27, 2018. I followed with AI Denoise and JPEG to Raw on May 1, 2019. Buying all the AI products also finally added all of the adjustments in Studio to my account that I hadn’t already purchased and finally made Studio easier to use. I got Mask AI on October 28, 2019 - which I didn’t even want, but purchased to just show my support for Topaz. I passed on Video Enhance because I rarely work with video files.

So, I have now already purchased basically everything Topaz has ever put out TWICE, since Studio and all the AI products were essentially just remakes of everything that came before, with a lot of great effects from the originals just left out (I’m especially thinking of you Simplify, Black and White Effects and Impression). I certainly don’t intend to purchase everything a THIRD time. Or a FOURTH time, when Topaz finally gets around to charging for upgrades to the remainder of their catalog – and don’t kid yourselves, they will. And frankly, the artistic products, like Simplify, Impression, Texture and even AI Remix, which are the products I was always most interested in, have all basically just been abandoned for some time now.

And after an initial break-in period, Studio and the AI products worked well. But for about a year now, the upgrades on all of them, for the most part, were actually downgrades - results weren’t as sharp, processing took longer, crashes, things were buggy, etc., despite my first buying a laptop with a Nvidia 1080ti processor, 16 GB RAM and an i7, 7700 Intel processor and then a new desktop with a Nvidia 2080 processor and 32 GB RAM and Intel i7, 8700 processor, just so I had the latest and greatest equipment to make sure my Topaz products ran like the wind. Except as the updates piled up, they didn’t. And Studio 2 was a joke - how do you call a version 2 of a program an upgrade when it doesn’t even have all the features/tools that the original version did?

And installing each upgrade became a nightmare from the fact that the automatic update notice didn’t work (instead, you had to log into Topaz’s website and manually download and install the upgrade) to the upgrades doing things like displaying so small on my 4K screen as to be unreadable, forcing me to downgrade my display to what, 1080, just to be able to read and install the upgrades. All to get results like Gigapixel turning people’s faces into smoothed mush, when the same photo previously rendered beautifully in earlier, now wiped off my computer, versions.

Frankly, I gave up using and upgrading my Topaz products a few months ago. And I never even heard about this having to pay a yearly fee to continue to get upgrades, until I opened an email from Topaz today about having to pay for the new DeNoise upgrade. I think this kind of a policy change should have warranted it’s own email, back in February, when Topaz’s change to charging for upgrades was first announced. Not all of us have time to hang out on the forum, reading every post, but I do read every email the company sends out.

But what Topaz’s $99 yearly upgrade fee has done is gotten me to finally consider paying for Adobe’s yearly Photoshop subscription fee. If I’m going to spend money on that kind of yearly fee, especially in these troubled times, I’m going to get my money’s worth out of it. I don’t consider paying for bug fixes for products that obviously weren’t ready to be released as money well spent. I have been using my old PS CS5 supplemented by a recent version of Photoshop Elements along with Affinity Photo. And I purchased Affinity back in June, 2018 for the sale price of $36.99, which has happily been upgraded for free, for over two years now and may still be upgraded a few more times before it finally goes to version 2.0, since it is now only at version 1.8.5. Had I bought it when it first came out, I would have gotten free updates for what? Four years now? All for the king’s ransom of $50 when not on sale! And I always knew, from the get-go, that when it did finally update to 2.0, that I would have to pay for that upgrade. I was never lied to by Serif, that all upgrades would always be free, as Topaz did.

And I also recently upgraded my Corel Paintshop Pro to version 2021, for about $65, which included a free copy of Corel Painter Essentials 7. Corel PSP 2021 now has some AI features, like AI Denoise, Artifact Removal, HDR Studio and Pic to Painting with stylized art effects like AI Remix. Corel will probably continue to add more AI effects like an AI Sharpen in future versions. With everyone going AI – it’s the wave of the future – it also calls into question the wisdom of Topaz starting to charge for bug fix and interface updates, without offering anything new.

I know this is long – and that no one at Topaz will give a damn – but you have pissed off an almost 10 year, loyal user of your products, for the last time. At the very least, you should put all the versions of the AI products on your legacy page, so we can, at least, go back to whatever versions actually worked well on our computers.

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I agree 100%, there are bug fixes on the list I’ve been complaining about from the start! I’m done with Topaz I’m sticking with just using Affinity Photo (extreme value for the money). And to be honest I’ve been doing some experimenting comparing the output from Topaz apps and Affinity Photo and Affinity Photo hangs with them at Sharpening, De-noising and Enlarging.

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Totally agree - the support cost is way out of line with the product cost. We probably shouldn’t say that though - rather than reducing the support cost, they might increase the price of the products so support looks like a great deal!

There is absolutely nothing in the new version that should be considered a “major” upgrade. Most of the changes (other than bugfixes, which should be free) are things that should take a few hours to do. Added a color change when you drag and drop? Use the mouse wheel on sliders? A model that does no sharpening? New sample images? The list goes on and on of non-major features. Outside of bugfixes, I see 1 or possibly 2 items that might have taken a little while to implement.

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@eric2 I have some feedback and marketing advice. I think your new pay-for upgrades strategy is going to fail. Here’s why.

I have Denoise v 2.2.11 and Sharpen v 2.1.7. Denoise in this version works pretty well. Sharpen is okay but the bug that I reported back in November '19 (#204655), that means using the GPU produces horrible vertical line artifacts, still hasn’t been fixed.

I’ve just had an email saying I can upgrade to v2.3 Denoise for free because it is less than one year since I bought it. But I don’t want to because there are lots of bug reports already in version 2.3 and what if I don’t like the results from the new version because the model has changed? So I daren’t risk upgrading.

My one year of Sharpen AI support runs out next week, so when a new version becomes available, I will have to pay for it. But why would I do that when my bug hasn’t been fixed and, without that fix, the software is too slow to use on a regular basis?

So currently, whether I have support cover or not, I don’t want ot upgrade, because all the bugs make it too risky. I could get stranded with a useless version when my support period expires.

So in short, you model of selling support to get upgrades doesn’t work because you have way too many bugs all the time. I have no assurance that I will ever get a working version. I would upgrade if it’s free because I know there will probably be a better version along later. But why would I pay when my problems might not be fixed before my next support period runs out?

Please think again.

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I was just looking at a Denoise thread and two things are apparent:

  1. People don’t read their emails. The thread has complaint after complaint because they were surprised about the new licensing model. Regardless of how I feel about it, it should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It does however underscore the fact that so many people believed the upgrade would be free either because it was still a 2.x version or because it was full of bugfixes and no real “meat”.
  2. 2.3 was not ready to be released. It is full of bugs.
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The Denoise thread is comical. It mirrors exactly what we’ve been going through since February on this thread. I think it is ok that people don’t read all of their email. I’m sure we all get too much anyway. But the sudden spasm that is shown on the Denoise thread suggests that Topaz’ problem runs really deep.

I suspect there will be a large amount of people saying goodbye. I can’t fault them. I feel abandoned too. I’ve just had a lot more time to deal with it that they have…only because I read that one email in February. Still…through all that time, Topaz has shown its true colors…not a single comment, backtrack, clarification, or other in that period of time. Not even a “we hear you” or some other form of acknowledgement. A continued resolve to march onward with their new policy is really obvious.

I really don’t know many businesses out there that can survive without patrons. Shooting them when they come back through the door for help or looking for the next great thing is a sure fire recipe to end that business. Pretty soon, that door won’t open any more.

Good luck with your new business model. I can’t believe you haven’t seen the warning signs and exit signs yet. Truly incredible…

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Received the notice of the renewal price for one year of Denoise AI. Have to say I think your pricing is way out of line. I don’t mind a subscription model, but there has to be real value in the price. Compare your pricing of $49 for one year of Denoise AI to the $120 per year I pay Adobe for Photoshop, LightRoom Classic, LightRoom and Bridge. To compare the capability of those products to Denoise AI is laughable at best. I’ll just keep my existing license for Denoise AI and use it until it quits working due to Photoshop upgrades, Mac OS upgrades, etc. It will be just like the Nik suite and it’s long awful saga. Then I’ll find another solution. And gee… your upgrade price is just so generous… $49… If I had never owned a license at all I could get it for $59. Woohoo… There are far too many solutions out there that compete with your product to bother with getting gouged for a one year “upgrade”.

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Just adding my own opinions.

I received a free copy of Adjust AI because I own the original Adjust. I also bought enough Studio 1 pro adjustments to qualify for a free copy of Studio 2. However -

  1. I had to get a new computer and while Studio 2 installed and works as normal I’d lost all my favourite looks from Studio 1. I found them again in Studio 1, marked them as favourites and then discovered that the migrate function is broken. Going by this post in another topic it’s going to stay broken

Will there be a future upgrade to Studio 2 which we’ll have to pay for? If so I don’t fancy spending money on a product with a permanently broken feature.

  1. Adjust AI is annoying to use because it doesn’t have masking and an HSL colour tuner. If I end up with pink concrete and purple tarmac I have to take the result into Studio 2 to change the colours. Will these features be added in a future upgrade we have to pay for? If so I’ll pass because I think these features should have been included in the first place.
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