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Topaz Texture Effects Review – V2 update

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Topaz Texture Effects Review – V2 update

Plugin for adding textures and effects

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Keith Cooper has been looking at the updated version 2 of Topaz Texture Effects.

The plugin offers many preset combinations of creative effects and is flexible enough for you to create (and share) a wide variety of editing presets for your own use.

This update shows examples of the plugin in action, but do have a look at the original Topaz Texture Effects review which has many more examples.

We’ve reviews of all Topaz software. See the Topaz Category in the dropdown menu at the top of the right column.

Topaz texture fx-box

Topaz Texture Effects V2 Changes

The plugin still functions an a standalone program and will also install as an ‘add-on’ for other software, such as Photoshop and Lightroom. It’s first installed as a standalone program, and will then set things up for acting as a plugin, where supported.

Buying  from Topaz Labs

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.

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

The new version adds numerous refinements for creating your own textures:

  • Transparency support, where you can import your own graphics for textures/scratches etc.
  • You can add enhancements to effects elements, giving finer control over their application.
  • You can cut and paste items between effects, so if you find an effects element you particularly like in one preset, you can simply transfer it to a different one.
  • Undo/re-do depth is effectively unlimited.

Using the Plugin

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

Texture Effects can be accessed as a plugin in:

  • Photoshop CS4+
  • Photoshop CC
  • Photoshop Elements 12+
  • Paintshop Pro X 6+
  • Serif PhotoPlus X5+
  • Lightroom 4+
  • Lightroom CC
  • PhotoFXlab
    *Not compatible with Fusion Express

Opening up an image gives an optional overview of what to do. Topaz offer a wide range of tutorials and help for using their software.

startup screen for topaz effects

I’m opening up a photo of an old bank in Leicester. It’s a splendid building that was empty for 16 years, and is now being renovated to make a new restaurant, by a company that specialises in bringing such buildings back to life [Renovation story]

The default screen offers you a number of preset effects.

sample image conversions 1

Navigation controls are on the top of the window.

sample image conversions 2

All these preset effects are built up from different types of adjustment, which I’ll show in a bit.

sample image conversions 3

The effects are grouped together – whether the names mean anything is a matter of personal opinion.

grouping of texture effects types

You can view many more examples.

Note the navigation window that appears if the whole image can’t be displayed.

showing more previews

A number of view options help you take stock of what is being done to your image, such as this left/right split

vertical split screen view

Or a horizontal split if you prefer.

horizontal split screen view

Side by side comparison

vertical side by side

Horizontal split view – note the navigation window.

horizontal dual vies of adjustments before and after

You can ‘turn down’ any effect, with the opacity control. Here, I’ve mixed in the original and effect.

reducing opacity of adjustment to image

It’s possible to change how the effect is blended with the original image.

blending mode options for adjustment to image

Luminosity mode for example, only changes the luminosity of the original, not its colour.

changing to luminosity blend mode

Soft light mode – I’m afraid you’re just going to have to experiment to get a true feel for all the different modes. I’ve been using Photoshop for years and still don’t always remember which is which.

dark light blend mode

Any of the preset effects has additional information about its categorisation.

Given the software has the potential for sharing user generated effects, you might want to spend a bit of time looking at the supplied effects before downloading dozens (hundreds) more.

I do discuss some more of this in the original Texture review.

detailed information about adjustment preset

What to do if one of the presets isn’t quite what you want?

Well, you can look inside and see the various filters and settings.

What makes up an ‘Effect’ – going inside

If I pick an effect, I can see just what adjustments have been stacked together to make it work.

component parts of an effect

Two things to notice about the view below, is that I’ve turned off visibility for all adjustments (the line through the eye symbol) and that adjustments can be duplicated.

Several are used twice in this effect. This is useful since it means you don’t have to try and do everything in one single adjustment type.

turning off adjustment elements

I can add extras, delete adjustments and even copy and paste adjustments from one effect to another.

Here’s a ‘basic adjustment’ adjustment element.

It’s adjusting the image contrast a bit, and by desaturating the image, turning it to black and white.

converting an image to black and white

Individual adjustments also have opacity and blending mode settings (yes, this can get pretty complex -if- you want).

blending modes and opacity adjustments

Turning down the opacity for this one adjustment element.

reducing opacity of an adjustment element

What’s more, each element has the ability to be masked.

I can paint in a mask, which in this case applies the effect (turn to B&W) in an amount depending on how bright the mask is

masking the effect of an adjustment

If I want to add a new adjustment element, I just select the type and it’s added to the list.

adding new adjustment elements

Here’s a posterisation element, but with a mask based on the colour of the underlaying source image.

masking using the colour information of an image

A different element – this time ‘Diffusion’ (yes, it too can be masked and blended).

the diffusion adjustment

Now for adding a texture.

There are hundreds of these, and you can now add your own too.

selecting a texture to apply to the image

A selection from the paper and textiles group.

paper and textile textures

Note how the scale and orientation of the textures can be changed.

Next up, some raindrops on a window…

weather related effect, such as raindrops

I can add colour a colour overlay (wash).

selecting a colour overlay for the image

Or how about dust and scratches…

adding dust and scratch effects

Once again there are a host of adjustments for fine tuning the effect of the particular adjustment element.

setting size and rotation for an applied texture

Blending in screen mode with the opacity turned right up gives the impression of a photograph of a poorly lit print on heavily textured shiny paper.

changing the opacity of an applied texture

Of course, and effect can be masked – this time with a luminosity mask (a mask generated for you, based on the luminosity of the original image).

mixing the effect though applying a luminosity mask

And since we can, I’ll add a simulated ‘light leak’ to the image.

simulating a light leak on the image

I’ve more lots examples in the original review…


Does that feel complicated?

It sure does to me, and I’ve been using layers and masking for many years in Photoshop.

But, and it is a big but … it doesn’t have to be. The basic effects and filters are simple and quick to use.

With the ability to cut and paste, adjustment elements become much easier to put together or change, and you can delve into masking and blending as much or as little as you feel happy with.

The new version feels more efficient on my oldish Mac Pro and once I’ve got the hang of the adjustments I realised just how much I could do for an image with just this plugin.

Topaz have also taken a few of the rougher edges off their software, and from a usability point of view I could find little of concern.

Buying  from Topaz Labs

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.

I could use a plugin like this to make up for a few of the glaring deficiencies I find in Adobe Lightroom – then again that’s one reason I stick to Photoshop…

As with the original software, I’d note that as a commercial and architectural photographer, I just don’t have any serious use for adding textures to my images, but it’s still fun to try things out.

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


Software plugin and standalone application for adding visual effects and textures to images. Many preset options and more available on-line.

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


Photoshop CS4+, Photoshop CC, Photoshop Elements 12+,
Paintshop Pro X 6+, Serif PhotoPlus X5+, Lightroom 4+, Lightroom CC, and photoFXlab
*Not compatible with Fusion Express

System Requirements:

Mac OSX 10.9+
Windows 7/8/10 x 64bit + OpenGL 3.3
*Does not support Windows 32bit

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