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Review of Topaz ReMask V4

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Review of Topaz ReMask V4

Image mask and cutout creation plugin


Keith Cooper has been looking at the latest update (V4) to the Topaz ReMask plugin.

ReMask aims to make cutting out and masking images a simple straightforward process.

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Pacific beach - north California

2019: A new application, Topaz Mask AI replaces Topaz ReMask – see Keith’s review.
There is a free 30 day demo available and reduced upgrade rates for ReMask owners.

What do you get with Topaz ReMask V4

New: Topaz Studio - complete editing package (info)

Buying Topaz Labs plugins:  Direct from Topaz [check link for deals]

Individual plugins are downloadable (30 day free trial) - we have reviews of all of the Topaz plugins.

If you buy any software via this link (bundle or individual plugin), then we get a small fee (it costs you no more). Neither Keith Cooper nor Northlight Images has any other connection with Topaz labs whatsoever. We believe strongly in making any affiliate links like this clear. 
Use our 15% discount code 'Northlight' for an additional discount on some promotions.

Latest Topaz Texture Effects 2 [Texture Effects 2 review]
>> Plugins and Topaz Studio

The plugin installs as an ‘add-on’ for other software and provides a set of tools for deciding which parts of an image you want to keep, and what is masked off.

As a photographer, I don’t do a lot of cut-out work with images, but I do sometimes need to create composite images of products with new backgrounds (usually for industrial clients, rather than nail varnish).

How useful the plugin is does depend to some extent on your image editing expertise, and what package you are using it with.

There is a fully functional 30 day demo version of the software available.

The software has had a distinct overhaul from the previous version.

host software for the ReMask pluginThis from Topaz Labs.

New in V4
  • Topaz ReMask 4 has a redesigned Graphical User Interface, to improve its look and feel and usability.
  • ReMask 4 re-implemented the Foreground Recovery algorithm, significantly improving its processing speed in high quality mode.
  • Edge Shift feature, which is a post-processing feature that allows user to contract or expand the edges of the mask.
  • Using mouse wheel to zoom in and out the image.
  • Progressive brush size changes using bracket keys.

This review is based on my using Photoshop CS6, but the software works perfectly well in conjunction with other packages.

The installer will locate all suitable packages on your computer that it can work with.

Using the Plugin

There is lots of information and tutorial help for ReMask on the Topaz web site – well worth a look if you are trying it out.

ReMask works well with complex items, but to give a good example of how easy it is to use, I’ll start with this simple image – actually taken a few years ago when I was testing some lighting for transparent objects.

initial source image

Opening up the plugin for the first time gives the quick overview of what to do.

You need to identify areas to keep (paint over/fill with green), areas to lose (red), and areas where you want ReMask to decide on an edge (blue).

startup guide to using the software

There are few tools at the start – this is meant to be quick and simple.

Note the tabs at the top showing the source, settings and results.

painting in the mask computation layer

After painting all round the edge, you press the ‘Compute Mask’ button, and it’s done.

Move your mouse over the image to see the computed mask.

Original ImageHover Image

The mask may needs some refinement.

Move your mouse over the image below to see the effects of altering some of the settings.

Original ImageHover Image

You can zoom in and refine the mask generation overlay.

In the example below, I’ve painted a few pixels of red into the white area and re-computed the mask to cut out this gap between my fingers.

editing cutout mask source

Once I’m happy with the masking, I’ve returned to Photoshop.

In this instance the cut out area has appeared as a new layer. There are a number of other options that provide the mask itself (as a layer mask). What’s best does depend on what you are doing with the image.

object as a new layer in photoshop

When I first tried this, the hairs on my hand caused the cutout edge to be a bit rough in places.

Whilst back in ReMask, I changed the check background to a solid colour (mouse over image to see) which made it a bit easier to control the edge.

Original ImageHover Image

Here’s the cutout dropped onto a view of the Pacific, just north of San Francisco…

composite of two photographs

That’s a fairly simple example, but the software really begins to show its power when dealing with complex shapes, such as this tree in Colorado (the colours are quite real).

I’m looking at the results in split view mode to get a feel for the initial results, before refining it using some of the colour sampling and edge refinement features.

more complex cutout objects

Here’s that tree put in front of a building here in Leicester.

adding in cutout tree to an image of a building

If you’re not familiar with such cutouts and compositing, then one thing to note is to work at as high resolution as possible for source images, then, when reducing the size of the image, you can often get a more natural looking result.

The plugin includes features for reducing colour saturation around edges, and many other refinements over just drawing a selection round objects with the pen tool…

colourspace issue

A minor problem…

During testing, I discovered that the plugin display does not properly honour the ICC colour profile of the source image.

You can see this in the screen grab below, where the image (in Photoshop – left) is the correct colour, whilst the one in the plugin (right) looks washed out.

This is only obvious if you use a big colour space such as ProPhoto, although once you know to look, you can notice it in a smaller colour space, such as Adobe98.

— It doesn’t affect the operation of the plugin in any way —

Topaz Labs are aware of this bug and I’m told that a fix will appear in due course.

Conclusions

New: Topaz Studio - complete editing package (info)

Buying Topaz Labs plugins:  Direct from Topaz [check link for deals]

Individual plugins are downloadable (30 day free trial) - we have reviews of all of the Topaz plugins.

If you buy any software via this link (bundle or individual plugin), then we get a small fee (it costs you no more). Neither Keith Cooper nor Northlight Images has any other connection with Topaz labs whatsoever. We believe strongly in making any affiliate links like this clear. 
Use our 15% discount code 'Northlight' for an additional discount on some promotions.

Latest Topaz Texture Effects 2 [Texture Effects 2 review]
>> Plugins and Topaz Studio

The plugin works quickly and effectively, making it easy to get clean edges.

The interface of V4 is simpler and tidier than before – there is no feeling of ‘let’s add a few more features’ in the design.

It does what it does, and does it well.

I like the way that there is control over the way the results of the plugin are fed back to the source program, and look forward to this functionality appearing in other Topaz plugins.

There is a fully functional 30 day demo version of the software available.

Summary

Software plugin for a wide variety of image processing functions. Comprehensive examples, tutorials and support cover usage.

Can work with a wide range of ‘hosting’ software.

We've reviews of all Topaz software. See the Topaz Category in the dropdown menu at the top of the right column.
Studio and Plugins/addons have a free 30 day trial

System Requirements (from Topaz Labs)

Mac

  • Intel-based Macs with OS 10.6, 10.7 or 10.8 (Topaz is NOT compatible with PowerPC processors – like G4 or G5.)
  • 2 GB RAM minimum – preferably more
  • Adobe Photoshop CS4-CS6 (32-bit and 64-bit), Adobe Photoshop Elements 6-11***.
  • Apple Aperture 2 and 3, Lightroom 2-5, and iPhoto via Topaz Fusion Express
  • photoFXlab ONLY – Video Card should support OpenGL 2.1 technology and later (A better video card will increase performance even more so than a faster computer processor.)

***If Photoshop Elements was bought from the Mac app store, the plugin cannot be directly copied into the plugins folder or else you will receive this message: “Cannot proceed: IPC Memory in use or image is too big for the system”. At this moment our plugins are not compatible with the Mac store’s version of PSE due to a sandboxing issue, which we are currently investigating.

Windows

  • Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit), Windows 8
  • 2 GB RAM minimum – preferably more
  • Adobe Photoshop CS4-CS6 (32-bit and 64-bit), Adobe Photoshop Elements 6-11.
  • Lightroom 2-5 via Topaz Fusion Express
  • Irfanview
  • PaintShop Pro
  • Photo Impact
  • Serif Photo Plus
  • photoFXlab ONLY – Video Card should support OpenGL 2.1 technology and later (A better video card will increase performance even more so than a faster computer processor.)

There is more information at Topaz Labs

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