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Topaz Lens Effects Review – Realistic Simulation of Depth of Field, Specialty Cameras, and Traditional Filters

First off, I’d like to mention yet again how much I really love using Topaz Labs software to edit my photos.  Seriously, I believe this software bundle to be my second favorite under Adobe products.

Don’t just take my word for it though.  You can download the entire bundle, or just one of the products if you prefer, as a free and completely functional trial version.  I loved that I could use all of the features and even save my work during the trial period.  By the time my 30 days was up, I just couldn’t live without it!  In case you’re interested, here is a more comprehensive review of the Topaz Labs Bundle.  Beware!  It has a gazillion images to look at:

http://photoluminary.com/2011/10/topaz-labs-bundle-review-discount-coupon/

For more information on Topaz or to download the software, click here.  If you do decide to purchase a license, please use my coupon code in the order form for an instant 10% off: photoluminary

It used to be that the Topaz products only came as Photoshop plugins.  Recently Topaz Labs released PhotoFXlab, which is standalone software that contains all 10 plugins.  There is no need to own Photoshop to purchase PhotoFXlabs.  Also, one of the great things about PhotoFXlabs is that it has some basic photo adjustments in it as well, making Photoshop not really needed if your needs are pretty basic and just include basic photo enhancements such as brightness, contrast, saturation, layers and more!

All that being said, let’s get to the matter at hand and review Topaz Lens Effects

Topaz Lens Effects allows you to apply realistic filters that simulate various looks that would in the past only happen in-camera.  For example, if you want to change creatively change the depth of field in a photo already taken, Lens Effects allows you to do so in a pretty convincing way.  It’s of course ideal to get depth of field right in-camera, but there may be times when a photo just doesn’t work as taken.  Perhaps it can be salvaged by altering the depth of field.

Other previous in-camera effects that can be applied are fog, color tone, gold and silver reflectors, vignettes and toy cameras.  You can “stack” effects on one photo for even more control over the creative outcome.  This is all especially exciting for those of us who simply don’t have the fund to amass a large collection of lenses, filters and toy cameras.  I’m one of those people.  My family’s needs come before my photography habit, so right now I have to make due sometimes and create most of my effects digitally.  Someday I plan to add film back into my life, but for now playing with my photos in Photoshop, Lightroom and Topaz is plenty satisfying.

Toy Camera Family

Lens Effects Highlights

  • Explore, experiment with and apply 29 effects and over 200 presets
  • Bokeh, (blur) to minimize undesired backgrounds and foregrounds
  • Filter characteristics like color tone, fog, reflector and more
  • Flexibility to enhance or change your focal point
  • Creative focus effects like motion, miniatures and dual focus
  • Depth-of-field adjustments with depth map and Smart Brush
  • “Apply” button to stack effects and create customized looks
  • Separate controls for adjusting background and foreground details
  • Enhanced sharpening algorithm, grain, quad toning and vignettes

Here is a photograph I took recently upon first being opened in PhotoFXlab.  You can see on the left that there is a list of plug-ins.  In this review we will be focusing on Lens Effects.

Topaz PhotoFXlabs

Topaz PhotoFXlabs

Once the Lens Effects plug-in is opened, here is what we see.  This is the exact interface you will see if you are using the Photoshop plug-in as well.

Topaz Lens Effects

Topaz Lens Effects

On the left side of the plug-in window is the hefty list of presets and on the right will be option to fine tune whatever preset you have chosen.  Here are a few examples of finished results, using the photo that is shown open.

Toy Camera - Memories 2

Toy Camera – Memories 2

Single Tone Sunset

Single Tone Sunset

Graduate Neutral Density - Bottom Quarter 2 Stops

Graduate Neutral Density – Bottom Quarter 2 Stops

Diffusion - Moderate

Diffusion – Moderate

So as you can see, the results are pretty nice.  There are a few hundred presets to choose from, all of which can be adjusted.

Again, If you do decide to purchase a license, please use my coupon code in the order form for an instant 10% off: photoluminary

One Response to Topaz Lens Effects Review – Realistic Simulation of Depth of Field, Specialty Cameras, and Traditional Filters

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