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Review update – Topaz Impression V2

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Review update – Topaz Impression V2

Making new versions of your work


Keith Cooper has been looking at the update to Topaz Impression, which allows you to apply a wide range of artistic effects (painting/drawing) to an image.

This is an update for his original V1.0 and V1.1.1 reviews of Impression, which have many more examples and details of program operation (probably best read first if you are new to the plugin)

portmeirion in the style of hopper

What’s new in Topaz Impression V2

The basic software works in the same way, but there are now more styles of effect and you have much more control over their application.

I’ll show some examples, but in general the effect is that I feel I have more expression and control over the results.

Changes (info. from Topaz)

  • 30+ New effects – Impression 2 now comes with over 140 effects
  • Larger Brush Panel – no more squinting to find the brush you need.
  • Masking – Impression 2 now includes masking in application. Using a brush, colour range, luminosity range, or spot masking, the masking panel even includes our colour aware tool.
  • Topaz Community – now you can share your created effects with the other users of Impression 2 with a click of a button. Not seeing an effect you like? Browse the Topaz Community to surf an ocean of custom user made effects.
  • New brush customisation options:
    – “Number of strokes” options to change the number of strokes applied to the image.
    – “Large Brush Volume” that adjust paint volume in large areas of colour to help focus on the details.
    – “Stroke “Rotation Variation” to add randomness to your effect strokes.
  • Highlight and Shadow control in the lighting menu.
  • Support for High DPI (4k) monitors in Windows 7/8/10

There are some examples here but, I’d recommend getting the fully functional 30 day demo version of the software and trying it with your own images – only you can decide what’s great and what you hate ;-)

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

System requirements

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

There have been some compatibility changes to the program as well. Impression 2 requires Windows 7+, Mac OSX 10.9+, and a GPU with OpenGL 3.3 or higher.

Changes from Impression V1: the Mac OS requirement is now 10.9+, And OpenGL is now 3.3+

New features

The software can be installed directly, and will pick up your registration details.

installing software

The Impression application needs to be run once to work as a plugin (what I’m looking at here).

how to set up the plugin version

Using the Plugin

I’m just testing the Plugin, with Photoshop CS6

Even if you are familiar with the software, do have a quick look through the tour.

software introductory tour

I’ve opened it with a Photo I took recently at Trentham gardens, near Stoke in the UK

The effects previews are at the right of the man window.

selecting a preset

A wide range of brush types and settings give many thousands of combinations

brush definitions and adjustments

Selective colour adjustment is worth looking at. Amounts that would ruin a photo might look fine here.

image colour adjustments

A few basic lighting adjustments are good for fine tuning what you see.

image lighting settings

Surface textures can make a big difference to how the image appears.

using surface textures for images

Masking allow you to selectively blend how effects are applied to your image.

In Photoshop, the filter edits the active working layer, which is a minor annoyance when I forget to duplicate a layer before applying the filter. Whilst the masking is useful, the capacities of Photoshop make it relatively redundant for me (less so if you are using Impression as a standalone App).

image masking functions

Once again, blending lets you adjust the overall effect of the filter (do try some of the options).

effect blending modes

The new presets take a fair while to generate previews on my older Mac, especially with 50MP 16 bit images from my Canon 5Ds.

Any time that less than the whole image is visible, a navigation window pops up.

navigation windo for image display

The sketch effects can be quite useful, and exacerbates the feeling of width using the Canon EF11-24 ultra wide lens [lens review]

sketch effect

A split screen slider lets me see what was there before.

split screen viewing slider

The mask here, shows (in the centre) the original image

image masking options

There are many ‘painterly’ styles, such as this ‘Cezanne’ inspired one, of a view of the Yorkshire Dales.

painting style effects

I noticed that sharp edges, such as the skyline above, could sometimes generate artefacts (spurious brushstrokes) although these can be ‘tuned out’.

However, I’d prefer to look to fixing any minor glitches in Photoshop afterwards, than potentially affect other areas of an image that looked OK.

Don’t forget that if you were working in Photoshop, you could run the filter (at different settings) on multiple layers and blend the results.

A pencil sketch version.

pencil sketch version of photograph

A bit dark, so I alter some of the lighting settings.

altering image brightness

A 100% view shows some of the detail (and distant sheep)

detailed view of pencil sketch view

A quick print of the pencil version. I’m currently testing a Canon PRO-2000 printer for a review, and this is printed from Photoshop on 24″ width smooth rag art paper.

test print on smooth art paper

Here’s a detail from the photo of the print

detailed view of photograph of print

An image that works quite well on a matt art paper.

This view of the Chinese garden in Leicester’s Abbey Park has some strong lines that work very effectively with the software.

Note the vast range of presets.

multiple preset adjustment previews

This is before checking on-line for shared presets.

source for preset information

A more contrasty style brings out the structure of trees and branches

swirly brush options.

The photo below was taken at Portmeirion in Wales (where ‘The Prisoner’ was filmed in the 60’s)

This is a ‘Chalk’ style images.

chalk drawing effect for brightly lit view

It’s a wide shot using the TS-E17mm shift lens (shifted up/down)

With strong colours I like the two ‘Edward Hopper’ presets.

Portmeirion view

The ‘Edward Hopper’ look applied to the image.

The 100% crop below shows the amount of detail visible in this stitched image (~80MP).

100% zoomed view of Edward Hopper filter

This is a fun bit of software to use.

I’m no quite sure how much I’ll use it in my architectural work, but it gives a whole new look to this industrial unit…

industrial unit rendered as sketch

Conclusions

Another useful update to the Impression plugin.

I’d still like to be able to return the results as a new layer in Photoshop , but the software feels easier to get the hang of using.

Take the artists’ names associated with ‘styles’ with a pinch of salt, but they do give some broadly familiar looks.

The amount of processing needed for very large images will definitely show up an older computer (and graphics card) if you select lots of previews to generate with large image files

Be careful before diving into the range of presets available on-line. Unless you have a good feel for how the software works you will be absolutely swamped by the choice. Pick some presets and explore what the adjustments and options do.

Good result will take some real work – if you are new to the software take your time…

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

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

Discuss this review with Keith in the comments section below

Summary

Software plugin that can apply a wide range of painting/drawing style to your images

Many preset image styles, and adjustments based on real media and tools

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

System Requirements:

There have been some compatibility changes to the program as well. Impression 2 requires Windows 7+, Mac OSX 10.9+, and a GPU with OpenGL 3.3 or higher.

Changes from Impression V1: the Mac OS requirement is now 10.9+, And OpenGL is now 3.3+

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