Sunday Sampler – Aug. 11

Happy Sunday! As you are reading this we are heading to Tennessee! Site work began on our new homestead this past week. Our house arrives at the dealer from the factory on Monday. Things are progressing! By the end of Aug./beginning of Sept. everything should be set and ready for move in.

This is what it looked like on Friday. We’re really not close to the house next door, it’s just the angle of this image. Our property runs down the hill off to the left of the photo. There is an empty lot between us and the house to the right – the couple who owns that house isn’t selling the lot, so that will stay open. Our contractor has seen deer everyday – guess we’ll have lots of company! Our kitty cats will not be thrilled!!

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of some lovely purple and green bokeh shots courtesy of my friend Antoinette Gombeda! She took these with our Sunday Sampler readers in mind. These are great for replacing busy backgrounds behind your flower shots. Thank you my friend!

The folks at Topaz have been VERY busy since the initial release of Studio 2. They are (as of Friday night) on revision 2.0.9! They have added in some of the features not in the initial release (histogram, cropping/straightening, ability to import textures in bulk, and many more), and fixed a few hiccups. Be sure to download the latest update! When you log in to Studio 2 it will tell you there is a new update. You can also check by going to Help > Check for Software Updates.

Another of the features they added was the ability to bring over Studio 1 Presets to Studio 2. When they created Studio 2, they did not add all of the previous presets (now called Looks) so as to not bog down the system with presets that were similar.

To bring over any that you like from Studio 1, first “favorite” them in Studio 1 (click on the heart). Then in Studio 2 go to Help > Migrate Custom TS1 Presets > and check the box for Migrate Favorite Presets. In mere seconds they will be added to TS2. You can tell the ones that were brought over as the preset/look name will have TS1 at the end of it.

There are also no limits to the number of times you can run this function. For favorites and for custom presets as well (initially you could only do this once).

While the webinar discount code for Topaz has ended, you can still save 15% on any Topaz product by using my link: https://topazlabs.com/ref/55/ and the code MeredithImages at checkout.

I have also extended my website discount until Monday Midnight EDT. Save 25% off any of my eBooks or texture packs with the code topaz25 in the Peacock Studio.

An inspiring article from PictureCorrect.com“15 Weekend Photography Project Ideas”. Some fun projects that will help you improve your skills.

And to help you maintain your creativity (also from PictureCorrect), “Tips for Maintaining Creativity as a Photographer”.

And if you want to get creative and produce some of your own backgrounds and textures, check out this article on Pixel2Pixel, “Useful Photoshop Tutorials for Designing Abstract Backgrounds”. There are 48 projects to keep you busy for quite a while!

And another Photoshop project from iDevie, “How to Create a ‘Stranger Things’ Inspired Text Effect”.

If you are into mobile photography (iPhone, Android, etc.), you need to check out the AppWhisperer. They do artist reviews, feature images, and reviews of various phone apps.

And if you want to edit using the native apps on your phone, check out “How To Edit Photos on an iPhone Using the Built In Photos App” from the iPhone Photography School.

And, lastly, find some other great inspiration from LightStalking/Toad Hollow Photography with the article, “Catch Up on the Coolest Links in Photography”.

Have a great week!

Sunday Sampler – Aug. 4

What an exciting, busy week it’s been! Last weekend I taught 5 sessions at the Southwestern Michigan Council of Camera Clubs Conference. Got home Monday afternoon (a friend and I made a road trip of the Conference), then finished preparing for the Topaz Webinar on Tuesday afternoon!

We set new records for webinar registrations (4002), and maxed out the session with 3000 attendees! Wow! If you missed the webinar or didn’t get signed up, here is a link to the recording on the Topaz YouTube Channel: https://youtu.be/FadYpAftlE4

Read more Topaz News in the Topaz Corner below.

This week’s Sunday Sampler is a “double-header” since there wasn’t a blog last Sunday. Six more textures from my travels – floors, rugs, concrete, and marble! These are all neutral tones, but remember, you can always change the color scheme with a hue adjustment or make them all black & white.

When we’re doing a webinar, it’s very difficult to get to all of the questions that are asked (especially with this large a group!). Celeste had me answer a few of the most-asked questions, but I’ll address a few more in this column.

Answers to Popular Questions and some updates that have been completed since the webinar:

  • Histogram has been added (the button to open is in the lower left corner of the workspace).
  • Layer masking has been added.
    And you can copy a mask from one layer to another. To copy: Right click in the mask you created; select COPY MASK. Add a mask to the new layer, right click in the mask and select PASTE MASK.
    (See screen shots below).
  • The ability to bring over your custom presets from TS1 to TS2.
    To do that: On top toolbar select Help > Migrate Custom TS1 Presets.
  • Can Studio 2 be accessed from Lightroom?
    Yes. Here are the instructions: https://topazlabs.com/setting-up-topaz-studio-2-as-an-adobe-photoshop-or-lightroom-plugin/
  • Can Studio 2 be accessed from Photoshop?
    Yes. It should automatically install in your Filters menu along with your other Topaz products.
  • What does Studio 2 have that Studio 1 does not?
    Studio 2 now has real layers! In order to save those layers, you must FILE > SAVE PROJECT AS > it will default to a TS2 format. 2 IMPORTANT NOTES! In order to be able to save as a TS2 file, you cannot bring the image into Studio 2 from Photoshop or Lightroom. You must open it directly into Studio 2. TS2 files cannot be opened in any other program (just like PSD files can only be opened in Photoshop). Propriety file formats.
  • If you wish to save as a TIF or JPG format: FILE > EXPORT. You can rename and tell it what folder to save the work in, as well as choose TIF or JPG.
  • How do we access Studio 2 if we’re “off the grid” (no internet)? You do need internet to download the program, but you do not need to be online to use the program. Once it is installed in your computer it works just like any other program.
  • Can we search for Looks by name.
    Yes! There is a search icon just under the “Add Look” button (screen shot below).
COPY MASK
PASTE MASK
SEARCH ICON

Items on the horizon!

  • The ability to add/import additional textures (like we did in Studio 1).
  • Texture Names (similar to AI ReMix
  • Cropping/Straightening
  • Healing
  • Plug-In Access/Support (for all of the other Topaz Plug-Ins that were not updated in Studio 1).
  • The ability to add additional images as layers for compositing or adding a watermark.
  • Community Sharing of Custom Looks – not sure how this will work yet – it won’t be the same as TS1. It was great that people wanted to share looks, however there were so many that it slowed down the loading of presets.
  • Not all of the Effects in TS! were brought over to TS2 (O’Keefe, etc.). Topaz felt there was a lot of duplication and similar effects. I am discussing with Topaz how we can recreate some of these in TS2 for those who want them.

Some general info on Studio 2, pricing, discounts, etc.

  • How do I get Studio 2?
    Studio 2 is available on the TopazLabs.com website under downloads.
  • How much is it?
    Studio 2 retails for $99.99. It is on sale for $79.99 until Aug. 9th. BUT if you use my coupon code from the webinar – Hazelweb719 – you can save an additional 20% making it $63.99! The webinar coupon expires on Monday, Aug. 5th. But…
  • If you previously purchased $100 or more of Studio Pro Adjustments (not plug-ins), then you received an email last week for a FREE upgrade! If you purchased some Pro Adjustments, but less than $100 worth, you received a discounted price. Those emails were sent on Wed. 7/24 and Thurs. 7/25.

Whew! That’s a lot of info! You can always shoot me a message or email with questions, plus there is a Facebook group for Topaz Studio where people help each other (and Topaz staff chime in too). I will answer more questions here in the blog as the software progresses and updates are released.

I also added a discount code at the end of the webinar for 25% off eBooks and textures in the Peacock Studio. You can use the code Topaz25 until Aug. 10th (midnight EDT).

You can also get a copy of my webinar notes (plus images used and bonus textures) for just $5 in the Peacock Studio.

CLICK HERE to SHOP AND SAVE!

Do you ever feel like you are in a “rut” with your photography? We tend to shoot the same types of subjects the majority of the time. Here’s a great exercise to expand your horizons: “10 Photography Assignments to Stimulate Your Creativity” over on PictureCorrect.

All I can say is WOW! The folks at Pixelo have outdone themselves with this latest bundle! The Urbane Fonts & Designs Bundle contains 99 fonts and over 1000 design elements! I’ve seen lots of font bundles, but this one is really amazing with the inclusion of some great art as well. Just $29 (value $2750). Save 99%. Click HERE to grab this deal!!

Think Tank Photo is proud to announce their products have been recognized with a series of prestigious awards. Carryology has named the BackLight 26L the Best Camera Bag of 2019, Professional Photographer has featured the Retrospective 7 V2.0 shoulder bag and Stand Manager 52 in their 2019 Hot Ones product recommendations, and Australian Photography has given their Gold Award to the BackLight Elite 45L .

These awards emphasize Think Tank’s focus on quality, ingenuity, and innovation, and underscore their dedication to designing the best photography bags and products in the industry.

“The pack’s well-considered combination of features makes it a versatile all-rounder for urban and outdoor photography alike. A bag that can accompany you on city excursions, outdoor hikes and more. All while ensuring your gear stays secure and protected, yet accessible when you need it. Bravo, MindShift Gear!”

CHECK OUT ALL THE AWARD-WINNING PRODUCTS HERE!

Sunday Sampler July 21

Whew, it’s HOT out there! Here in the Northeast the heat index yesterday and today is over 110! Stay indoors in AC if possible and stay hydrated. I’m staying inside and doing some packing!

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of some wallpaper images! When I travel I love to check around the hotel for unusual patterns in wallpaper, rugs, fabrics, etc. There are three textures and two of them have two versions for a total of 5. I think the twig one will be great to overlay in a background!

Info on the newest Topaz product is supposed to be under wraps until release day this coming week. However, you may have seen some info posted on social media – but I’ll just say, “stay tuned this week”! I’ll be doing a special blog post when it’s official! I’ve been involved with the pre-beta and beta testing and I think you will all be very happy (I know I am!).

Don’t Miss Out on my July Specials!

Just 10 days left to grab these deals!

One-on-one training special pricing until July 31st (sessions do not have to be completed in July, just purchased prior to the 31st).

AND…

Don’t miss out on the sale on Sunday Sampler Groups. These bundle the older Sunday Samplers into groups ranging from 75-90 textures each! Or, you can grab all six at an extra special discount – 468 Textures for just $60! No coupon code needed! On sale until July 31st in the Peacock Studio HERE!

Photo Competition!

I came across this photo competition being held at the Pennsylvania Center for Photography, and I thought some of you might be interested too (I will be entering). The theme for this is “Transformations”, so it’s right up our alley with creative photography! Entry is open now through Sept. 25th. If you are not nearby to enter prints, they also have a digital division.

Check out the Prospectus HERE. With some competitions you need to be careful as to what rights you are giving away. With this one, you retain all copyrights – you only give them permission to use your image (with credit) for advertising future competitions. Good luck!

Free Watercolor Action from Adobe Create Magazine

Actions are a great way to save time when batch editing photos. They can also be a fun way to get creative with your images with minimal work. I found this action on creating a Watercolor look from Adobe – CLICK HERE

I haven’t tried this one myself yet, but I did play around with one I got from Graphic River call Architectural Sketch – I like the way this image came out:

Graphic River – and many other great artists – sell a wide variety of actions on Creative Market.

One thing to pay attention to with actions – in some cases you need to “do” something before running the action. In the example above, I had to create a new blank layer and name it “ga”, then use a round brush to brush where I wanted the effect to be (over the lighthouse). THEN hit the “run” button for the action. It’s not difficult, you just need to be sure to read the instructions for each action to be sure it runs properly.

Also – if you are an Elements user, be sure that the action says it will run on Elements. Some will and some won’t, depending on the steps required to complete it.

Another quick way to create a watercolor look is with this Watercolor Creator from DealJumbo. Here you just add your image to the file – no action needed! This deal expires in 10 DAYS – and it’s just $7. Save another 30% with the code PUP30 (expires 07/22/2019 23:59:59 CET – central europe time), so use it quick!

Also be sure to check out their FREEBIES page HERE!

Have a great week – and don’t forget to watch for the Topaz News this week (due to release on Thursday). I’ll be traveling to Michigan this week for the SWMCCC Conference, but I’ll get the info out to you! Next Sunday’s blog post may be delayed a day or two as I won’t be back home till late Monday.

July 7 – Sunday Sampler

I hope you all had a happy Independence Day! I know I will be seeing some of you this coming week at the NECCC Conference at UMASS (New England Camera Club Council)!

This week’s Sunday Sampler is an assortment of textures from another recent hotel stay! Enjoy!

Last week I mentioned I would show you how to combine several firework bursts into one shot – it’s really a very simple process!

I typically edit each shot first – upping the saturation; doing any healing or cloning to remove spots, etc. You can also use the Hue/Saturation tool to change the color of your fireworks if desired!

Let’s take image #1. I have not cropped this at all yet, and won’t until I get all of my images put together so I can see where the best crop will be. I also want to be sure that there is room to add the other bursts.

IMAGE #1:

Now we will “drag” in Image #2 just as if it were a texture. Have both images open and use the Move Tool to drag Image #2 over Image #1 so they are in the same file on separate layers (like this):

To make the images work together, we’ll change the Blending Mode of Image #2 (the top layer) to Lighten. We can then position the second firework burst like this:

The Lighten Blend Mode makes the background “disappear” and keeps the brighter area of the image. If needed, you can also add a layer mask to get rid of any other distracting areas around the burst.

Now we’ll bring in the third burst the same way, with the Move Tool. Change the Blending Mode to Lighten and move it into position. I also reduced the size of this burst to better fit with the other two:

Now we can crop the image.

I typically save my images first as a TIFF or PSD file to keep the layers, then flatten and save as a JPEG.

Finished Image:

Hopefully you got some great fireworks images this week – go ahead and play!

I was pleased to be interviewed by Haley Salyer of Topaz for their blog post this past week. I contributed a preset (Painterly) that was included with the recent release of the new Adjust AI.

If you didn’t read it, check it out HERE!

And, if you haven’t grabbed your copy of Adjust AI yet, it’s still on sale for $59.99 HERE! Sale ends Monday midnight Central time, so don’t wait!

Also announced on their Facebook pages this week (it hasn’t been “officially released on the website yet), there is now a version of Gigapixel AI that is WEB-based! So if you were/are having issues with the download of the software, now you don’t need to download it! You can upload your image to the site, submit, and within a couple minutes get a link to your enlarged image that you can then download to your computer. I tried it a few times – works great – very fast! Works just like the software installed on your computer. So, if you have Gigapixel AI, try it out HERE!

To save 15% on any Topaz product, use THIS LINK and the code MeredithImages at checkout.

July Sales from Meredith Images

Don’t miss out! One-on-one training special pricing until July 31st (sessions do not have to be completed in July, just purchased prior to the 31st).

Sign up in the Peacock Studio HERE!

AND…

Don’t miss out on the sale on Sunday Sampler Groups. These bundle the older Sunday Samplers into groups ranging from 75-90 textures each! Or, you can grab all six at an extra special discount – 468 Textures for just $60!

No coupon code needed! On sale until July 31st in the Peacock Studio HERE!

Topaz Adjust AI Released!

Joining Topaz Labs’ line-up of AI-powered photo editing applications, Adjust AI helps users achieve brilliant photo contrast, clarity, detail, and color through artificial intelligence.

Topaz Labs released today a major new product to its AI-powered photo editing offerings, introducing Adjust AI. This new application is available as a standalone solution, as well as a plugin for Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, and Topaz Studio.

After months of training and testing, Adjust AI leverages machine learning to analyze and transform ordinary photos into lively, vivacious images that would normally require time-consuming, manual adjustments. Adjust AI is the fastest way to achieve ultimate clarity, detail, contrast, and an eye-catching aesthetic with minimal user input.

Application Details

With Adjust AI, users can:

  • Utilize two AI-powered modes (Standard and HDR Style buttons in the right panel) to automatically bring out colors, shadows, details, and more to make photos as vivid as intended–all in one click.
  • Utilize advanced shadow & highlight recovery that reveals lost detail.
  • Utilize Topaz Clarity’s intelligent, proprietary technology to manipulate macro, midrange, and overall contrast without halos or noise, all while maintaining a natural feeling and tonality in your image.
  • Move Topaz Detail sliders to independently adjust small, medium, and large amounts of detail inside the shadows and highlights of your image.
  • Apply new & modern presets for versatile effects.
  • Create and save custom presets for a faster workflow. 

Adjust AI caters to professionals and enthusiasts alike. Users can utilize the output of the AI to speed up workflow as well as take advantage of a range of new, modern presets. Adjust AI also includes the ability to create and save your own variations in order to create presets bespoke to you.

“With Adjust AI, we hope our users will be impressed by the versatility and depth of the effects possible with this single application,” said Albert Yang, CTO of Topaz Labs. “In our first development meeting for Adjust AI, our mission was clear: Let’s develop an intelligent application to take photos from dull to dynamic in less than 10 clicks. We wanted to create a solution that offers stunning image enhancement, but doesn’t consume all of the user’s time. Adjust AI harnesses really powerful AI processing, but also allows for light, masterful finishing touches, so you can truly transform a lackluster image into an eye-catching photo that doesn’t look over-processed.”

Recommended Workflow

To achieve the best results with Adjust AI, Topaz Labs recommends the following workflow:

1. Import photo. Use JPEG to RAW AI to restore RAW editing capabilities if needed.

2. Apply noise reduction with DeNoise AI.

3. Make any composition, cropping, or straightening adjustments desired in Topaz Studio.

4. Apply Adjust AI and make any further tweaks.

Adjust AI Pricing and Availability

Adjust AI is available now for an introductory price of $59.99 until July 8, 2019. Following July 8, Adjust AI will be available for $79.99.

Users owning the original Topaz Adjust, Topaz Clarity and/or Detail will receive a complimentary copy of Adjust AI.

Adjust AI is also a part of the Topaz AI Bundle, which includes Sharpen AI, Gigapixel AI, DeNoise AI, and JPEG to RAW AI. Users with one or more of the applications can still take advantage of savings with a prorated discount for just the applications desired. Like all Topaz applications, users can always download a free 30-day trial of Adjust AI before purchasing the application.

CLICK HERE to take advantage of the release sale!

Here’s a video with more info:  https://youtu.be/PMJu56YK3Q4

April 21 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Passover and Happy Easter to all those who celebrate. Today is also our 35th wedding anniversary! Spring is finally springing here in southern CT – the leaves are popping open on the trees and some of the flowering trees are blooming. Lots of rain this past week, so everything has that pretty bright green color!

In honor of Spring and Easter, this week’s Sunday Sampler consists of five pretty pastel textures for you. It started with the Pink-Blue Concrete and then I started modifying from there with Topaz and Smart Photo Editor. Enjoy!

This week, Topaz Labs introduced their newest AI product, DeNoise AI. They have also now discontinued selling AI Clear as a Studio Pro Adjustment. At first I was very confused as to why they would get rid of AI Clear! It was my favorite adjustment and I’ve been using it on EVERY image at the beginning of my processing. However, after reading an article by Dr. Partha Acharjee, I now understand the why, and what is better about DeNoise AI. CLICK HERE for “The Story Behind DeNoise AI.” Another advantage of DeNoise AI is that it is not just a Studio Adjustment – you can access it as a stand-alone or as a plug-in.

If you own the old DeNoise or AI Clear, you should have received an email from Topaz Labs offering you a free copy of DeNoise AI. If you did not receive that email, contact Topaz by opening a help ticket and they will get you hooked up!

If you wish to purchase DeNoise AI, it is on sale until May 3rd for $59.99 (reg. $79.99). Click HERE to go to the store page. You can try it first with a 30-day trial.

If you do not own any of the four AI products, you can purchase a bundle of DeNoise AI, Sharpen AI, Gigapixel AI and JPEG to RAW for $199.99 (reg. $359.96). This sale also ends May 3rd. Click HERE to go to the bundle offer.

And…if you have questions about any of the AI products, there is a helpful Q&A page HERE! This page also gives you the system requirements for the powerful AI products.

Here is an image I processed with DeNoise AI. There is a LOT of noise in this shadowy image at Longwood Gardens:

BEFORE

Topaz DeNoise AI did a great job in getting rid of noise as well as sharpening the image:

AFTER

Opinions Please!

Thank you to all those who already took my brief survey! If you haven’t yet, I would greatly appreciate 2 minutes of your time (it’s just 3 questions)! I’m looking for input as to what you would like to see in upcoming tutorials – and the formats preferred. Click HERE FOR SURVEY. Thanks!

LESS THAN A MONTH AWAY!

Don’t miss out on the last New England Conference! The 3rd Creative Photography Conference, May 18-19, 2019 at the Southbridge Hotel & Conference Center, Southbridge, MA.

CLICK HERE for all the details, speaker info, and schedule!

A great article by Toad Hollow Photography over on Light Stalking – “31 Photography Links to get you Inspired”

From the folks at Design Cuts, “The Essential, Versatile Font Collection” for just $29 (exp. 4/28).

  • 16 versatile and professional font families (featuring a total of 253 individual fonts), perfect for adding exceptional typography to your design work.
  • Many fonts include extra weights, styles and stylistic alternates.
  • Many fonts also include bonus/extras packs, containing additional creative resources.
  • Fonts are organised into carefully labelled folders, including desktop and web versions for all fonts.

CLICK HERE for all the details!

SALE! Save 25% on any bundle over on Pixelo – EXPIRES 4/23, so don’t wait! CLICK HERE, then use the code EASTER25 at checkout!

I’m not sure if I will get a blog post out on Sunday next weekend – I’ll be teaching at the CanAm Photo Expo Friday-Sunday and getting home very late Sunday night. If there’s lots of news to share, I’ll post on Monday, otherwise, I’ll include more info in the following week’s post. Enjoy!

March 31 – Sunday Sampler

The end of March already – just WHERE does the time go these days?! Don’t get fooled tomorrow! Happy April Fool’s Day!

For this week’s Sunday Sampler, I took a slightly blurred wooden plank shot and gave it four other treatments – so a total of 5 textures this week! Enjoy!

This week Topaz Labs released an update to Gigapixel AI. If you already own the product, the update is free. If you don’t already own it, you can save $20 on the price of $99.99 until April 5th – CLICK HERE!

“Gigapixel AI allows you to enlarge images up to 600%! You can create beautiful 80 x 60 inch prints from a simple iPhone photo. Or transform your DSLR photos into sharp and ultra-detailed 100MP images.

After being training with millions of sample images, Gigapixel can now enlarge your images with a surprising level of quality.

Gigapixel performs around 2 million operations per pixel to get you results with as much detail and sharpness as possible.

No matter why you’re enlarging your photos, you always want the best possibly quality for your results. Gigapixel AI is currently the only photo enlargement product available that can actually add detail back to your upscaled photo.”

Check out more samples and grab your copy HERE on the Topaz site!

If you have a smartphone and want to learn more about apps and how to use them, check out The App Whisperer for some great info! http://theappwhisperer.com/

Jane Driscoll does some great tutorials in some of the iPhone Facebook groups…AND…she’ll be one of 8 presenters at our Creative Photography Conference! Check out info on Jane and our other speakers on the website and join us May 18-19, 2019 in Southbridge, MA for our 3rd Conference!

And join me and a great line-up of speakers at the CanAm Photo Expo, April 26-28, 2019 in Buffalo, NY. I’ll be doing multiple sessions on “HDR – The Natural Look” and “Creativity with Topaz & Textures” along with sessions in the Macro Lab helping you create some textures of your own!

New Topaz Product Release!

Topaz has released their newest product based on AI technology – Topaz Sharpen AI!

Sharpen AI is the only sharpening tool to understand the difference between detail and noise by learning through millions of images. This means it will focus on sharpening the things you actually want to sharpen, rather than artifacts or noise. Use it to create beautifully sharp images from even handheld, low-light, and fast-moving photos – try Sharpen AI today!

Get Sharpen AI today for the special introductory price of $59.99, originally $79.99, available until March 15th.

Sharpens and Defines

Most commercial sharpening tools will sharpen everything in your image – including noise. Sharpen AI only sharpens the things you want and brings out the detail and definition in your shot. It only sharpens the good stuff.

Stabilizes

When shooting a moving object or in a low-light scenario, motion blur is a common problem. Sharpen AI uses machine learning to stabilize motion blur in your images for a crisp clear result.

Improves Focus

Theoretically, there is no way to recover lens blur in your photos. Sharpen AI remembers patterns in your image and can rescue a blur within ten pixels. When your image is just slightly out of focus, Sharpen AI provides the solution.

Check out the Before & After images on the website HERE!

Sale Price Good only until March 15th!

Feb. 3 – Sunday Sampler

Happy February! Hope you’re staying warm through the cold spell that has been gripping the nation! Last week in CT we were in negative numbers – Tuesday will be mid-50’s!! Crazy!

For this week’s Sunday Sampler I took a texture of Rust and made five additional versions of it using Topaz and Smart Photo Editor. You can create even more versions of your own with various software. Enjoy!

Last Monday Topaz announced the new JPEG to RAW AI. I’ve seen some questions online about how/what it can do. Here’s some more info for you.

“What is the difference between AI Gigapixel and JPEG to RAW AI? What is the appropriate workflow?”  

“Gigapixel is trained to fill in believable pixels for enlarging photos. If you think about the actual process of creating 6x the amount of pixels from an image, the main problem the software needs to solve is how those pixels should look. The format, color space, dynamic range, etc. will generally not change when you use Gigapixel. Generally you’d want to use Gigapixel as the last step before printing (or as the first step as you’re importing stock photos or similar). JPEG to RAW is trained to improve the format of the image by expanding color space/depth, improving dynamic range, and recovering detail. Sometimes it won’t even explicitly improve how the image looks immediately and might look the same! However, you’ll really notice the difference when you edit the photo – you’ll see less banding and artifacts. You would typically use JPEG to RAW before doing anything else with your JPEG.

“Here is the recommended workflow: First, run your JPEG photo through JPEG to RAW AI. Take the resulting .TIFF or .DNG into Topaz Studio and edit it in Topaz Studio or your preferred photo editing platform. Then, take your final product into AI Gigapixel for enlargement! The resulting image will be massively improved from the compressed JPEG you started with! “

There is also a great blog post on PetaPixel by Dr. Yang (founder of Topaz) that goes into great detail of the “how” of JPEG to RAW AI – CLICK HERE

I’ve tried it on several older photos (back when I was shooting in JPG) and I am quite impressed with what the software does. I get much better color and detail throughout. In the pics below, the first one is what I previously edited in Photoshop:

Photoshop Edit

For this copy, I took the original JPG file, ran it through JPEG to RAW, then processed in Studio using AI Clear to sharpen. A much better result in my opinion.

After editing with JPEG to RAW

What I also love about AI Clear is that it intelligently sharpens what needs sharpening but smooths out the background (as in this image) and gets rid of any noise. No masking of the background needed as I did when sharpening in Photoshop.

Until Feb. 8th you can save $20 on this new software – regular $99.99, now $79.99. Click HERE to go to the Topaz site and save!

One other Topaz note. Most of you know Heath Robinson of Topaz from listening to webinars or talking to him online. Unfortunately, he has left Topaz and moved to Colorado for his wife to take a great new job.

Earlier this week there was a fire at his family’s home in Texas. They’ve set up a GoFundMe page. If you are so inclined, they are grateful for any assistance you can give. Check it out HERE. Thank you.

Workshops to begin in March

I am setting up some new Hands-On Workshops to begin in March on Sunday afternoons. They will be held at a local spot here in Stratford and limited to a maximum of 6 people.

They will feature training on Photoshop, PS Elements, Lightroom, Topaz, Textures and possibly more. There will be PS & Elements sessions for Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced levels (each of these is a separate subject/class). Watch for a schedule to be posted in next week’s blog!

And, if you’re not in CT, remember I have online training available as well! We screen share and can work on any subject you wish – Photoshop; Elements; Topaz; layers/masks; whatever you need help with! You can do a couple of hours or if a package of 10 hours. Email me for more info or go to my website to sign up: https://www.meredithimages.com/product-category/tutoring-sessions/

I’m always on the lookout for freebies and great deals to share with my readers. Here’s what I’ve found this week:

From Pixelo – a very cool bundle for photographers, the “Unique Photoshop Plug-Ins Bundle”. This bundle includes: PS Plug-Ins; Actions; Add-Ons; Layer Styles: 643 Brushes; Swatches; Overlays and more! A total of 5500 unique products, and it comes with a commercial license so you can use it in images you sell. Value $2370 – now just $29 (expires in 15 days). CLICK HERE for this great deal and check out their other bundles too!

A good article on PictureCorrect.com – “Tips for Flower Photography”

And on Pixel Surplus, some other great bundle deals to expand your font library and freebies too! Check them all out HERE!

Note: Some links above contain affilate links. Thanks!

Have a great week!

New Topaz Release Unveiled!

Introducing JPEG to RAW AI

Edit JPEG as if you shot it in RAW.

Use machine learning to convert JPEG to high-quality RAW for better editing. Prevent banding, remove compression artifacts, recover detail, and enhance dynamic range.

Fix artifacts, restore dynamic range, and recover detail

JPEG to RAW AI is highly effective at removing compression artifacts and recovering color detail. Note the additional fine detail in the top right and bottom of the image.

There’s also enhanced dynamic range as shown by deeper shadows and enhanced highlights.

Great for those older digital images shot in JPEG on a smaller megapixel camera – like this one that I took from my old Canon 20D shot in JPEG. I re-edited with JPEG to RAW and was able to pull more detail and better color.

Original edit from an 8mpx JPEG file.

Edited with JPEG to RAW then re-processed. Better color, less noise, more detail.

Special Release Pricing!

Regular $99.99 – Release Sale pricing of $79.99 until Feb. 8th! (You can download a free trial.)

Have a question about JPEG to RAW AI?

You’re in luck! Tomorrow, we’re heading to Reddit. At 10 a.m. CST, the Topaz Team is going live on the /r/photography Reddit community with an AMA (Ask Me Anything) about our newest software, JPEG to RAW AI. Until 5 p.m., we’ll be answering all of your questions about this product – from product strategy and photography workflow, to the technical specs and how-to’s. We can’t wait to talk to you! Check us out tomorrow at 10 a.m. CST at Reddit.com/r/Photography.

CLICK HERE to get all the details and system requirements on this new fascinating software! I’m glad to have it in my toolbox for all those older images!