Topaz is one of my favorite plug-ins. All my plug-ins are listed on my Save on Creative Plug-in pages.
Here are 12 things you might not know about Topaz. Check 'em out, and save a few bucks, before reading on.
1. Using a smaller brush size during tri-map creation to create a more precise blue outline will make cleanup easier and faster. Limit the amount of blue (compute) selections. You don’t have to be overly precise, however an abundance of blue may result in longer processing times, a less refined initial mask and more refining at the end.
2. Always sample at least a little bit within enclosed areas. Interior areas like the background in between curly hair or the middle circle of a donut are considered enclosed areas. Sampling these areas is important. While you don’t have to select every enclosed area or completely paint it in, it is still a good idea to mark with a dot or small brush stroke. (http://www.topazlabs.com/blog/remask-workflow-tips-explored/)
3. Many people don't like the harshness (artifacts, grunge, grit) that Adjust can have on images...there are tools included in Adjust to help with this. The Detail tab features an option called Process Details Independent of Exposure. (http://www.topazlabs.com/blog/adjust-side-effects-how-to-avoid-the-unwanted-noise-and-artifacts/) Also, making use of the Noise tab while help smooth out the image and remove added or amplified noise...just don't over apply it.
4. The Smooth brush option in Adjust 5's Local Adjustments tab is AMAZING (IMO) for quickly smoothing out dimples, wrinkles and other skin blemishes. (I'll often open Adjust specifically for that purpose...just reset all and then brush away - this is my Q of the week for this week!)
5. Adjust is handy for quick, clean, photo pops: http://www.topazlabs.com/blog/quick-clean-photo-pop-with-adjust/
6. The base / edges option allows you to edit AND process your base image and edges together or separately. Select an individual option to view/edit only that part of the image. If you stay in that mode don't select combine) then when you click "OK" only that will be processed back to PS. This is a great way to create line art/sketches. You can also create a duplicate layer in PS to process/manipulate just the edges...then overlay that on your orignal layer in PS to create neat, enhanced lines and edges. (Also, a future Q of the week!)
7. In addition to Detail enhancement, Topaz Detail is also great for detail removal. It can quickly cleanup busy or unflattering detail texture. Lowering the small boost slider will remove noise-like details (the smallest of small details)
8. xF - Sharpen is great for quick sharpening.
9. A great way to explore the different type of lenses and camera filters - without breaking the bank ;-)
10. Bump up the strength, Edge Accent (you can also play around with the other sliders in the edges tab for more variation) to get those curly, stylized effects like in Vivacity.
11. Does more than stars! You can create neat glow effects as well (http://www.topazlabs.com/blog/quick-glow-effects/)
12. Quad Toning feature gives you more control and flexibility over tonal range (I like it more than the presets alone). Example at the bottom of this article: http://www.topazlabs.com/blog/topaz-bw-effects-the-unreview/
Explore the light,