Topaz Labs

Reduce The Noise with Topaz DeNoise - and save 30%

I made this photograph after sunset last night. Although the scene looks relatively bright, the sky was actually relatively dark. I underexposed the image to preserve the highlights.

The low light, plus slight underexposure, resulted in just a touch of unwanted noise in the sky and in the shadows - where most noise shows up.

To remove the noise from the image, I used Topaz Lab's DeNoise. Until October 31, you can save 30% on Topaz DeNoise, as well as all Topaz products, by using this code upon checkout for the Topaz Labs  web site: rickdenoise.

Like this image? It will be in my next app and ebook: Hey Rick! What's your f-stop. To get on the info list, shoot me an email. Read more about it here.

Speaking of Topaz, I made the image on the right using Topaz Adjust/Spicify filter. The before HDR image is on the left.

Explore the light,

P.S. Thanks to my friend Rob Dweck for taking me to this cool shooting spot!

Is Your Lens Sharp?

In this photograph, the whiskers and hairs on the animal's body are tack sharp.

Several factors contribute to sharp images:

• The sharpness of the lens.
• Accurate focus.
• The aperture at which you shoot. Three stops down from the widest aperture is often the sharpest aperture.
• Contrast, with pictures taken in high-contrast situations looked sharper than pictures taken under soft  light.
• The shutter speed at which you shoot, with faster shutter speeds usually producing sharper hand-held pictures.
• A clean front and rear lens element.
• Lens flare.
• Camera shake, with the mirror lock-up feature helping when a camera is on a tripod.
• Condensation on the front element of your lens.
• The sharpness of the actual subject, with say a baby's skin looked softer than the skin of a sexy senior citizen.

Consider all the aforementioned factors before you shoot.

Here's a cool product that I just discovered that lets you check the sharpness of your lens. It's called the LensAlign PRO Focus Calibration System.

If you are serious about getting sharp shots, check out this sharp accessory.

You really can't turn an out-of-focus shot into a sharp shot. However, InFocus, a plug-in from Topaz Labs, does the best job I've seen.Topaz Details can also help you fine-tune the sharpness of your images.

Explore the light,

P.S. Speaking of sharpening, it's not a good idea to over-sharpen your images. A way-cool plug-in for sharpening is Nik Software's Sharpener Pro. Use this code to get a discount upon checkout: RSAMMON

More on Getting Your Soft Pictures In Focus

Hey, it's not often I do two posts in one day on a new product, but I think InFocus from Topaz Labs is just too cool.

Here is another before and after example. The opening image, taken from atop the World Trade Center in NYC, is the after InFocus image. Below is the before InFocus image. You can't see it here (due to the low res photos), but the cables in the bridge are now tack sharp. I took the original photo with a 2 1/4 x 2 1/4 files camera.

Below is a look at the adjustment windows - one for Sharpen and one for DeBlur.

Check it out. You can get a free trail download here.

Explore the light,

Cool New InFocus Software

Ya gotta love this: new InFocus software to sharpen your soft images from Topaz Labs.

Before InFocus image on the left, InFocus image on the right. (By the way, I did intentionally use a slow shutter speed to blur the movement of my son's hands.)

Topaz Labs announced today the release of Topaz InFocus a Photoshop plug-in used for image sharpening and blur reduction. It is the first commercial software that offers auto-blur estimation and uses advanced deconvolution technology to help reverse the effects of image blur. This new sharpening approach completely changes the way detail refinement is done, by recovering true details, restoring image clarity and offering natural sharp-looking enhancements. The range of achievable sharpening possibilities have been dramatically improved and simplified with this new tool, allowing users to easily go beyond the lens to increase the sharpness and definition of any image.

“Recovering clear and sharp details from a blurry image is a very challenging problem that has been under intense research; and only in the last couple of years have there been some impressive breakthroughs in this area,” said Dr. Feng (Albert) Yang, developer and president of Topaz Labs. “We are pleased to have achieved the necessary technology required to provide a practical and useful tool to the hands of photographers everywhere.”

“Topaz InFocus actually recovers blurred detail and finds edges, as opposed to other common sharpening methods which simply boost edge contrast to create a perceived sharpness,” said Ashley Robinson, product manager of Topaz Labs. “By mathematically reversing image blur caused by lens imperfections, atmospheric haze, camera sensor abilities, focus issues and camera shake, we are able to help photographers achieve detailed and naturally sharp images.”

Topaz InFocus can be used prior to image enhancements to help reverse the effects of blurry and out-of-focus images or as a post-enhancement solution that can help refine image clarity and vividness – making it a versatile sharpening solution designed for professionals and photo enthusiasts. The program also includes a micro-contrast tool for adding additional finesse to image detail and structure.

InFocus is a plug-in that works with a variety of host programs including Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Aperture, iPhoto and Lightroom. It is compatible with Windows and Intel-based Macs. Topaz InFocus retails for $69.99, but is being offered at a one-time introductory price of $29.99 until December 3, 2010. InFocus is also joining Topaz Photoshop Bundle, which offers photographers a complete image enhancement toolbox for all of their post processing needs. The bundle, including InFocus, retails at $199.99.

Click here for more info.

Explore the light,

A Little Trick With Topaz Adjust 4

Here's a little trick I learned, quite by accident, while playing around with Topaz Adjust.

First, use the Spicify effect to boost the color, contrast and detail in an image. Then, use the Noise tab (click the Use Topaz DeNoise™ box) and reduce the noise to the point where your picture becomes very blurry - as illustrated in the top image, which I created from a similar image to the bottom image.

I found that working on a low resolution image, and then up-sizing it, works better than working on a full resolution image.

If you are new to Topaz products, you can save a bundle by choosing a bundle.

By they way, when using this technique, you remove some of the reality in a scene. When you remove some of the reality, your picture can become more artistic and creative.

Explore the Light,