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Topaz ReMask V5 Review

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Topaz ReMask V5 Review update

The Topaz Labs range of plugins


Keith Cooper has been looking at the latest update (V5) to the Topaz ReMask plugin.

ReMask makes it easy to cut out elements of images, and V5 adds background replacement and the ability to run the software as a standalone application.

This review looks at some of the changes and additions to V5 – please do look at the detailed examples in Keith’s ReMask Version 4 review for more details covering the subtleties of the masking process.

The range of functionality for the full range of plugins from Topaz is so broad that our reviews are split up over several articles (see the full list in the article category list for Topaz at the right of this page).

ReMask-Box-Image

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 V5

The plugin functions an a standalone program and will also install as an ‘add-on’ for other software, such as Photoshop and Lightroom.

It provides a set of tools for deciding which parts of an image you want to keep, and what is masked off.

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

As a UK based architectural photographer I’m often required to photograph buildings in less than ideal weather, so ‘improving’ skies is called for, from some clients.

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.

This from Topaz Labs.

New in V5

ReMask 5 works as a standalone program now, in addition to being a plugin. This means no host program is required and Lightroom integration is available. ReMask 5 also allows you to replace and edit the background of your masked image without leaving the program. Choose from transparent, solid colour, or image backgrounds.

Using the Plugin

I’m testing the software as a plugin in Photoshop CS6, but other software (and standalone working) have similar functionality.

Opening up an image gives an optional overview of what to do – always worth a quick look if you’ve not used the software for a few months…

masking options with remask

The initial view of my wind turbine shot.

The green is showing the mask – initially set to ‘keep’ the whole image.

initial startup of plugin with editing options

Whilst I quite like the slightly dramatic sky, someone at the client wanted ‘more cheerful’ (I’ve already cranked the colour up more than I’d personally choose)

OK, my first thought was to remind them that weather in the UK on any particular date is unpredictable in October, and specifying a date for the shoot several weeks in advance was chancing it… ;-)

This photo was taken with a 17mm shift lens (Canon TS-E17), and the vertical shift gives a distinct look to skies. I’m quite aware that no-one at the end client will appreciate this, but there are some things I like to try and get ‘right’.

Here’s part of the masking process. Blue means calculate (if to keep), red is cut and green definitely keep.

mask adjustment settings for image

The support wires are only a few pixels wide at their thickest, so require a bit more work than here. However you can update the mask almost in real time and see the effects.

In the view below I’m fine tuning the selection of the wires against the new background.

mask recalculation options

An alternate view of just the mask. It still needs a few adjustments

mask after initial creation

Once I’m happy with the mask, I can add a new sky.

selecting a background image

It’s a JPEG version of an image that I happened to take with the same lens, so the perspective is correct.

You can also use TIFF files for backgrounds. Even though I’d probably do my eventual compositing in Photoshop, having your cutout showing up against the background you want to use, can be useful in refining the masking.

The background can be moved to fit.

placing background

Here’s the background resized to show the source image.

adjusting background placing and scaling

Here’s the new version, which I believe appeared on a number of posters at trade events for the turbine manufacturer.

photo of wind turbine with alternate version of sky

More detail of those steel ropes. The camera was my 21MP Canon 1Ds3. With my new 51MP Canon 5Ds, the ropes would have more pixels across their width, and be easier to mask.

detail of supporting steel ropes

A second location, taken in very light rain.

wind turbine in field on cloudy day

A version with some early morning cloud added in.

wind turbine in field with early morning cloud

Not ‘cheerful’ enough though, but this entirely unconvincing cloudless sky (and colour) was just what was wanted.

wind turbine in field with clear blue sky

I give these examples as to what can be done, not what I’d choose to do to my photos ;-)

However, it also reminded me that if the clients are happy, and want to pay for the Photoshop work, you sometimes need to (temporarily) change your acceptable standards. Once again, I’m told it looked ‘great’ as a poster (even if I remain unconvinced ;-)

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

Do have a look at the ReMask Version 4 review for more examples.

Conclusions

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

As a Photoshop user, I’m happy with compositing layers and adjusting their opacity and blending, to get what I want, so the background replacement is best for quick fixes.

It works well though…

I would have liked to see drawing tools in the masking section.

Even a line tool would have been great (for those cables) since creating accurate straight thin lines with a mouse is never that easy.

It’s quick to use making it great for quickly trying out ideas for alternate versions of photos.

Discuss this review with Keith in the comments section below.

Review first published August 2015

Summary

Software plugin and standalone application for cutting out parts of images.

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

There is more information at Topaz Labs

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