Topaz Studio 2 Issues

I realise that Studio 2 is the new kid on the block, and that there are significant functions that have not
yet been implemented, but there are some serious issues with the existing release. These need to be addressed in short order in order to make it a usable product.

Below are the results of some tests I ran after I noticed some behaviour that would consider unacceptable. If any of the steps I took are not how Studio 2 is intended to work, feel free to set me straight - I will retry the test cases with those intents in mind to see if the issues disappear.

Lenovo P50 Workstation Thinkpad
Intel Core i7-6700 CPU @ 2.60GHz 2.59GHz
Intel HD Graphics 530 128MB VRAM (only drives the Laptop display)
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M 4GB VRAM (all image processing programs are config’d to use NVIDIA)
1TB SSD (C:)
1TB HDD (D:)
240GB SSD (E:)
Windows 10 Pro - with latest updates
Lightroom Classic 8.3.1 Release; Camera Raw 11.3
Photoshop CC 10.0.5 Release

Raw Files:
Nikon D800E 36MP NEF

Test Procedure:
1. Open a 36MP NEF file in Studio 2
2. View a detailed area in the image at 100%
(in this case, the stump closest to the camera, centre left)
3. Apply AI Clear filter with its starting/default settings.
4. Export (in the case of standalone) or click on the Check Mark
(in the cases of plugin/filter) to save it/return to the calling program.

Test Cases:

  1. Use the “Open a File” function in Studio 2 Standalone. . . . . . . . . . . . . RESULT: OK (but…)
    (The issue here is that the file is brightened when it is loaded -
    Studio 2 is doing some unwanted processing that I did not request.)

  2. Drop and drag the raw image onto Studio 2 Standalone. . . . . . . . . . . RESULT: OK (but…)
    (Once again, the file is brightened when it is loaded - Studio 2
    is doing the same unwanted processing as above.)

  3. From LR, use the “Edit in” function in LR to invoke Studio 2 plugin. . . . . .RESULT: OK (but…)
    (A side issue here is that Studio 2 consistently crashes when returning
    to Lightroom. It appears that the image is saved, but there is a popup
    appears informing me that “Topaz Studio 2 has stopped working.”)

  4. From LR, use “Edit in” to open the image to Photoshop, Ctrl-J the Background
    to a new editable layer, view detail area at 100% to ensure it loaded correctly,
    invoke Studio 2 as a filter as follows:
    Filter > Topaz Studio > Topaz Studio 2… . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RESULT: FAIL

In case 4, after the image loads into Studio 2, it is rendered very fuzzy with
all details barely visible - a complete departure from all the other cases.
Note that, unlike the standalone cases, the rendered image is not brightened.

Further, once the AI Clear filter is applied, the fuzziness is amplified, with
many artefacts added. I assume the artefacts are created by AI Clear from the
pixels it thinks are the details that are to be enhanced).

One last thing you need to address quickly … the Export function DOES NOT GIVE A WARNING
if you already have a file of the same name in the folder you are saving to. For example,
let’s assume I export a finished image as Case1.tif from TS2. I then open another image, work
on it, and save it again as Case1.tif, forgetting that I already had a Case1.tif from a
previous session. That is totally unacceptable … Studio 2 needs to at a minimum give me a
warning that I already have a file with the same name as I an exporting the file to. Ideally,
TS2 should give me some options to Overwrite, Change the Name, Generate a Unique Name, or Cancel
before it destroys an existing image.

On the whole, this release of Studio 2 seems to be a fairly decent Beta Test version. I’m very glad
I did not pay for the upgrade, and I am looking forward to seeing TS2 mature as a product.

I will upload some downsized jpg’s … with any luck, you will see the issues I am reporting here.

Original Image

Case 1

Case 2

Case 3

Case 4

I don’t use Topaz Studio as a stand alone product but I tried it for a test. I am experiencing the same results you are when adding a raw file to Topaz Studio 2, the image comes in much lighter and washed out looking.

Is anyone else having this same problems with Studio 2 as I am. I brought in an image to work on and made some adjustments using the basic adjustment filter. Then I added a precision contrast filter, and a focal blur. The layers are not automatically showing up on the right side of the window. I’m almost positive they did show up in one of the BETA versions we tested. To get them to appear now you need to go over and click on the eyeball icon which if you hover over it, says “disable effect.” If you click on it you do disable the effect but then you also reveal all the other levels you have created while working on this image. You just need to click on the eyeball again to add your last effects back on to the image. Is there no other way to have the levels visible? This would be totally confusing to someone who knows nothing about levels to begin with, and was even confusing to me and I’ve been working with levels in Photoshop for over 20 years. I sent a message off to russelltarply, but was curious if it was only happening to me, or I wasn’t doing something correctly.


It’s always been the same with Studio. Most raw processors show you the image as it thinks it should look e.g. Affinity Photo applies a default tone curve, Studio does nothing and shows you the way it is, and that makes it look flat and washed out.


Thanks for clearing that up. I don’t use Studio as a Stand Alone App so I wasn’t aware of that.

1 Like

Thanks, @PaulM. Since I can’t seem to find a histogram in TS2, I loaded a sample image into both TS1 and TS2 … both images made a similar washed out appearance. and the TS1 histogram clearly looks like it is biased for ETTR (Expose to the Right) rather than “the way it is”. So, I would have to say that TS 1 and 2 don’t have it right either.

Now, why do I say that? Well, a couple of reasons …

  • The camera histogram (Nikon D7100), while the same approximate shape as the TS1 histogram, is biased toward a metered middle grey … which is exactly how I shot it (matrix metered landscape test shot). That’s actually the way it “should be” … so TS 1 and 2 are also applying a tone curve to raise the exposure several stops overall.

  • I imported the raw file into LR Classic (latest release) and its histogram closely resembles the in-camera histogram … exactly as it should be.

  • Lastly, I turned to a final arbiter to interpret the data that underlies the histo … Nikon, who made the camera, and if anyone can provide a correct “should be” view of the data as shot by the camera, Nikon should be the ones. So, using Nikon NX-D (latest release), I loaded the image, and sure enough … the histogram looked pretty much exactly the same as both the in-camera histogram, and the LR histogram.

So, net: each demosaicing software developer builds their own interpretation of the image data. Of all the software I have had experience with over the past 15 years (not an insignificant sampling of the industry), only TS appears to have a unique idea of that data the data should look like, which I can only best describe as lifting all tones to obtain an ETTR histogram … and by the way, it does not look like they used a straight line curve - the TS1 histo appears more stretched out than the others (but that is just pure speculation on my part).

So, I am not saying TS is following an incorrect path … it was just a bit of a surprise to see the washed out rendering, with the histo moved significantly to the right. butting up to the 255 limit. My concern with that approach is that such a dramatic change could lead to the injection of other issues into the data, such as unwanted noise in darker tones that have been lifted to mid- or light- tones…

But, just like @cruzinova57 … I haven’t been using TS to interpret my raw data … and given the approach TS is employing, I’m not likely to do so any time soon.

Thanks for the info.


I appreciate what you are saying Marty and the work that went into your research. I have tried many different pieces of software. Luminar, DXO Photolab, On1, Capture 1 and Affinity Photo and have never seen my images look the way they do in the Topaz Studio Stand Alone App. I was kind of taken aback by the way the images looked as a Raw file coming into Topaz Studio.

You are probably right - I’m not that technical lol. I was just repeating how one of the developers here explained it. I’ll just add one more thing to add to the confusion - as I mentioned, Affinity Photo adds a default tone curve, but if you turn that off the image looks almost identical to how it appears in Studio.

Please raise a support request for anything you feel is an issue.

As a comment on RAW processing the only RAW processors that interpret a raw image as a image produced from the camera are those supplied by camera manufacturers.

Or some products like LR, ON1, DxO try to simulate that.

Topaz simulates a near linear conversion which, as mentioned in this thread, is similar to Affinity Photo without the tone curve.

But any product that converts raw files should also included a histogram.


Thanks, @AiDon.

First, does TS2 have a histo? If it does, it should be loud and proud on the main screen … but, for me at least, it remains well-hidden. If it doesn’t have one, then the product was probably released prematurely.

Second … I wrote this up in the “Product Technical Support” forum. Is that not a support request? If it isn’t, then where do I make such a request?

(Not sure my entry above is a “support request” as much as it is a “bug report”. That is, I’m reportung problems with the product that really need to be addressed before it can be deemed ready for the big show. Is there a different place for “bug reports”?)

At the moment there is no histogram available in Studio 2, the Technical Support sub-forum is for technical support. There is a separate sub-forum for Product Feature Requests.

So raise a separate thread for the inclusion of a histogram there.