Topaz Photo AI - Output does not match preview image

I’ve been having a strange issue processing one of my photos. In Topaz Photo AI, the preview looks fine and there are no issues with the hair. Once I save it to Lightroom, it adds artifacts to the hair that were not there before.
Here is a screengrab from the preview in Lightroom:

And this is what happens to the hair once I save it to Lightroom (mind you, I’ve made no changes to the settings besides pressing “save”):

Is there something in my settings that can fix this?

I’m new to Topaz Photo AI. I’m trying the simplest of steps with the latest version and getting unexpected results.

  1. In LRC I click on a RAW photo (no LRC edits made) and go to File → Plugin Extras → Process with Topaz Photo AI (TPAI).
  2. I let TPAI do its thing and then click on Save to LRC plugin.
  3. The image in TAPI is smooth, but the image I see in LRC is crunchy and oversharpened. The screenshots below are at 100% from both apps.



Topaz Photo AI [v1.2.8] on [Windows 10] with Lightroom Classic 12.1

Hi, I might be barking up the wrong tree here but, after Photo AI has applied sharpening are you aware that LRC by default will apply a sharpening as well around 20%.
I personally have a Lightroom preset called TopazLabs which turns everything off except for lens corrections

Hope this helps

Thanks for the tip. I did turn off LRC’s default sharpening and noise reduction after the image was brought back in from TAPI.

I also opened the DNG file in another editor and I see the same thing i.e. what TAPI shows me as the image prior to saving doesn’t match the image after its been saved by TAPI.

@marios.alexandrou the behavior you’re experiencing looks like it may be related to the above post, I’ve combined these for the time being while our Photo AI specialist looks into this :slight_smile:

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Me too! Only in my case, I just saw a difference between returning a tiff, vs. a dng. I’m doing mostly wildlife, and have concluded that sharpening returns over sharpened artifacts routinely with feathers, but with fur and other it seems ok - and this to the point I have been auto turning off sharpening of birds when autopilot turns it on.
I did a bird today that I wanted to crop, so I set it up to return a tiff, which I was going to enhance resolution after the crop. after denoising and TPAI surprised me twice. I edited the RAW file (NEF) first in Capture One, and sent it to TPAI. The autopilot did not denoise, but it did sharpen - and I noticed color and lighting already matched my edits. The output looked great so I saved it back to CO and in CO it looked great and it had preserved the original edits.
This was new, so I processed the same photo again, this time to return a dng. But this time it did not preserve the edits to the RAW file, and it denoised but did not sharpen. This made sense if it’s preserving edits to return a tiff, but ignoring edits to return a dng, since there is default denoising in CO. So, I added sharpening and the TPAI output looked great. So I saved to CO and got dog ugly over sharpening artifacts in the result.
So it appears to me, at least from this meager amount of data, the the issue is not with the sharpening, but with the conversion to dng.

This is all very interesting! I think I might agree with @robert.pearson-7703 that the conversion to DNG is probably a likely culprit. The strange thing is that I had done multiple passes of the same photo using different settings and sometimes it would create the strange artifacts and sometimes not so it’s still really hard to pin down what the exact cause is. I’m very new to Topaz AI but it’s done this to me with 2 other photos so I was hoping it wouldn’t become a consistent issue.

The other thing that I was noticing is that the color/contrast is dramatically different from the original photo once I bring it back into Lightroom, but I’ve read that’s been a common issue with the newer updates of the application so I’m not sure if there’s any workaround regarding that yet. It also feels over-smoothed/more plastic once imported into Lightroom, so I’ve been trying to lower the denoise autopilot settings to compensate.

One good bit of news- so I bought Topaz Photo AI on Weds 3/22/23 and literally the next day there was apparently a new update so I updated the application and when I tried the same photo I posted above, and it didn’t do the hair artifacting thing- so maybe the latest version might have fixed some of those issues a bit? The color/smoothness is still off, but I might try the tip from @AND-E and take down Lightroom’s auto-sharpen/luminance settings.

Yes! I’ve noticed the sharpening is a lot crunchier but also the color/contrast is more extreme! I’ve been trying to do Topaz early in my processing so it’s something I can manually fix in Lightroom, but I’ve heard in older versions of Lightroom that this wasn’t as much of an issue.

The replies here gave me an idea to try. Instead of using TPAI through LRC as a plugin, I opened TPAI directly and loaded the RAW file. I let autopilot run and then I saved the image first as DNG and then as TIFF. I imported the DNG and TIFF into LRC. Lo and behold, the TIFF matches the preview in TPAI whereas the DNG doesn’t. So, something is “up” with the DNG.

TIFF Format: Matches what was shown in TPAI

DNG Format: Doesn’t match what was shown in TPAI

Weird! That’s really interesting though. I was planning on using Topaz as the 1st processing step before I color correct my photos, but this makes me think I should maybe save it as my last step so I don’t have to work with TIFFs (which as I understand, are larger/slower files). One other question- do all of your photos have the over-sharpening/not matching the preview issue when using DNGs or is only certain ones? I’ve mainly noticed stranger results when Topaz is trying to figure out out of focus details like hair or things with finer detail.

@lizzi.akana I see a new version of TPAI is out and no reply to this thread for 9 days from anyone at Topaz so I’m guessing we’re just wasting our time here.

I guess it’ll just come down to whether the issue is fixed by the time my license requires renewing…

This is a known issue with some RAW files where autopilot results are different when previewing and saving.

We are currently working on a solution for this. I don’t have a timeline on when this will be fixed yet.

The current workaround is to change the AI filter settings very slightly (increase/decrease strength by 1), disabling autopilot and using manual settings.

@lizzi.akana @marios.alexandrou

Please send me the files you are talking about so I can confirm. You can securely submit your image(s) to my Dropbox using the link below. Please be sure to send me a note to let me know you sent something.
Dropbox File Request

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I’m having a similar problem with photo ai. I am using the latest version of photoshop, and using photo ai as a plugin. I also just updated to the latest release of photo ai. In my workflow, I jump a new layer and send it off to photo ai; the processed image in photo ai looks fine; I then send it back to photoshop; the image looks terrible, like someone added lots of color noise into it. Photo ai only used sharpening, so I also tried using Sharpen ai with the same workflow and all is fine; I have an older version of Sharpen ai.