Topaz Clarity Review
Topaz Clarity is great and has found a place amongst my photography filter plug-in software quite quickly. It gives my images punch and pop in a quick and easy to user interface. Topaz has managed to streamline a UI design across their suite of photography apps, which makes stepping into the individual apps more intuitive. This in turn allows me to create without my ideas being hampered down by clunky software.
I have to say I really like the amount of realism that I am able to generate using Topaz Clarity and thought that there is a gap in the market for a program like this. Why? Well for starters it’s called clarity, but really in essence the program is about controlling the amount of contrast in your image. There isn’t really anything like this available so I can see a lot of photographers being excited about it. Previously we have had control of contrast in individual filters On1 Effects and NIK color Efex Pro 4 but not to level of control you can obtain in Topaz Clarity.
Before and After Topaz Clarity Slider
NEW FEATURES INTRODUCED IN TOPAZ CLARITY:
- Selective Contrast Control. With Clarity, we have developed a cutting-edge process of selecting specific contrast variations in your original image, allowing you to quickly target and then increase or decrease the contrast and clarity in that specific variation.
- Breakthrough Halo-Free Algorithm. Boost contrast and clarity without emphasizing transitions between light and dark areas, eliminating the common problem of halos, noise and artifacts.
- Advanced Hue/Saturation/Luminance Technology. Using IntelliColor technology, you can easily enhance your image with the HSL filter, getting stronger, yet more natural HSL adjustments.
- Re-Imagined Masking Workflow. The masking module, now attached to each adjustment tab contains a comprehensive set of tools including an edge-aware brush, gradient mask, smart feather tool, color aware tool and more.
- User Interface Design. With Clarity, we have continued to develop a cleaner, more modern and efficient interface to improve usability, workflow and overall aesthetics
Reasons I love it: You are given control, via sliders, over 4 separate areas of contrast in your images… as well as the levels of your whites, blacks and midtones
To control the contrast in my images I have always turned to a trusty filter called ‘tonal contrast’ which is in the NIK collection software but now I can have more control over the contrast with this little beauty of a package.
Below is a straight out of the camera, Nikon D800, shot seen in the left panel and the after Topaz Clarity in the right side of the workspace preview.
Topaz Clarity boasts over 100 presets, the all new Clarity module, a Hue Saturation Luminosity (HSL) module, Advanced masking technology and a NEW user interface.
Here is another bonus shot to show the Hue, Saturation & Luminance panel being used, the great thing about it is that you can adjust each individual colour’s saturation and then using the hue panel you can control a lot more. Plus you can see the Preset Collections on the right and I started with “Low Contrast Boost II” from the General category. What I was trying to do with this edit was create depth that had a sense of realism to it and do that it was important to get the blues and greens looking natural. Doing a HDR in the daytime is very difficult because of the harsh lighting and using Topaz clarity to control the HSL can be a very powerful tool in your workflow.
In the above image you can see there has been some of the blue removed from the sky as well as more contrast to highlight the clouds and textures in the building. The HSL module gives a huge amount of control over individual colours and their hue as well, a bit like the HSL module in Lightroom actually.