Software Review: Topaz Lab’s Black and White Effects

I’ve been meaning for a while to share my thoughts and opinions about the different software I use.  I just purchased some new software this morning, and thought it was about time to get started.

I am a big fan of Topaz Labs.  They have a suite of plug-ins that really help me expand my creativity.  Their Black and White Effects package is incredibly versatile and at a very affordable price point ($60).  When I am processing my infrared images, this is the first place I go.  The team at Topaz calls this software “Black and White and Beyond” because it allows you to retain some of the color information, or add many layers of color through their toning functionality.

The user interface is intuitive and follows a common structure:  presets on the left, adjustments on the right.  The presets are organized in collections, and two of my favorites are:  Stylized and Cyanotype.  The image below is of swirling water in a water fountain.  Using my infrared camera, I took over 30 shots, trying to get the right balance of swirl and line.  Instead of going to straight black and white, I experimented with Topaz’s BW and found I liked the greenish color with the rich blacks using one of the presets with my own adjustments.

Here is another image using the same green toned approach.  I find unusual toning helps create an abstract feel to the image.  The original photo was of gray water and rocks, here the green cast contributes to a surreal feel.

Quiet stream

Using the same software, I can get a completely different look.  Like this soft vintage feel to a bouquet of flowers.

You may remember an image I’ve blogged about in the past – it’s a rushing river image in a gold tone, and I affectionately call it “Liquid Gold”. The image below I took on the same river bank at the same time, but used a blue treatment instead of the red/yellow treatment in Liquid Gold.  Both effects are in Topaz’s BW, but each has a very different feel.

This last image was taken using my infrared camera.  It was a beautiful cottonwood displaying vibrant yellow foliage.  This rose colored tone helps accentuate the foliage against the rough cliff.

Topaz Labs offers a free 30-day trial, I recommend checking it out – just be prepared for some intense experimentation and plan to order food in.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s