Topaz Glow Review and Tutorial

December 11, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Alien City Travelator copyAlien City Travelator copyAlien City Travelator final

I have just discovered this new software from Topaz called Topaz Glow. It is available as a standalone program or as a plugin and for Windows or Mac. I really like discovering software which can create amazing effects in minutes rather than the hours it would take to do the same in Photoshop. Another reason to do a review now is that it is available from Topaz at an introductory discount and a price of $49.99 (normally $70) until 31 December 2014. You just need to use the coupon code -    introglow        at checkout to get the savings! It is worth taking a look with a free 30 day trial. See

Topaz Labs Glow

Review

First the basics

System Requirements

Mac OS X 10.8 or higher

Windows 7/8 x64 + Open GL 2.1

*Does not support Windows 32bit

Compatibility

Glow can be accessed as a plugin in:

• Photoshop CS4+

• Photoshop Creative Cloud

• Photoshop Elements 6+

• Corel Paintshop Pro X

• Serif PhotoPlus X5+

• Lightroom as an external editor

• NOT compatible with photoFXlab or Fusion Express

I would strongly advise taking up the free trial to make sure it works on your computer.

This is not the sort of program for you if you dislike anything stronger than mild processing of photos. This is more for a wild fantasy look. However if you prefer the effects can be dialed down substantially. If you use the software as a plugin in a program with layers the effects can be applied to just a part of the image which can look quite effective.

The main image I tried it out on was taken a few day ago getting the camera low down on a travelator. Luckily a man in a hoodie walked past and got in the frame. Hoodies are real gifts to photographers and this program allowed me to give him some seriously weird treatment, cruelty to hoodies? Possibly or he might think it quite cool. The first image shown is the original before any editing.

Glow Original ImageGlow Original ImageGlow Original Image

Used as a standalone program you bring a picture into Glow by browsing or drag and drop. When used as a plugin open the picture in your program, do a duplicate layer if you have that facility. For Elements and Photoshop go to filters and select Topaz Glow. To make Glow available for any compatible program as a plugin all you need to do is run it once as a standalone program.

In the following picture the main screen is shown. I have selected one of the 70 presets Natural Neon 3.

Natural Neon 3 Presets copyNatural Neon 3 Presets copy

 

By clicking the dropdown you can narrow down the presets into categories as follows –

  • Featured
  • My Presets
  • All Effects
  • Neon
  • Graphic
  • Liquid Designs
  • Fur and Feathers
  • Fantasy
  • Afterglow

On the work screen shown the changed image is shown full size with a small inset for the original. In the top left you can choose instead side by side or one above the other.

By clicking the box with lines in it far top right you get to the nuts and bolts of the sliders to play around with the various settings to get the image looking just as you want it. First there is a the main glow settings, then secondary glow.

Further down is the colour adjustment panel where you can adjust overall or colour by colour.

Here I made adjustments to bring in more red and yellow.

Natural Neon 3  colours Finishing Touches copyNatural Neon 3 colours Finishing Touches Natural Neon 3 colours and Finishing Touches

 Finally there is  finishing touches. Under this last section I find the vignette adjustment very handy.

As you are making your own adjustments you will see in the menu bar top right a plus sign. Just click this to save your current adjustments as one of your own presets. Note that this is the only sort of history feature available so if your playing with the sliders produces something you really like be sure to save it as a preset. This feature also enables you to set up your own style and preferences so if you prefer the effects dialed down just set up your own presets for future use.

The image was finished off in Photoshop with a crop and extra sharpness and clarity.

Alien City Travelator copyAlien City Travelator finalAlien City Travelator final

Those who read my blog will know that I use Topaz plugins a lot. There are currently 16 Plugins available which can be bought all at once as a collection or individually. I bought the bundle a couple of years ago but the ones I use the most are in order Topaz Adjust, Topaz DeNoise and Topaz Lens Effects. Unlike some other software Topaz provide all updates of software you buy for free. This does not include new additions and I have not bought all the latest additions to the bundle as I did not think I would make enough use of them. However I have bought Glow as I expect to find it very useful for my style of photography.

Below are a few more examples using different types of images, first a sunset, then an Owl and finally a flower.

Glow Sunset Screenshot copyGlow Sunset Screenshot copyGlow Sunset Screenshot copy Sunset Glow copySunset Glow copySunset Glow done Owl Screenshot copyOwl Screenshot Owl Screenshot

Flower Glow Brill on Black3Flower Glow Brill on Black3Flower Glow Brill on Black3

It should be noted that the built in presets are at the extreme end towards the abstract surreal look without editing. If you want a more subtle boost to a normal picture it can be achieved easily by dialing down the strength of the effect using the slider  in the bottom left of the work screen and or using the blend modes next to the strength slider.

If you are interested in Glow remember to use the coupon code -     introglow             at checkout to get the savings until 31 December See

Topaz Labs Glow

For the Bundle and individual details of the other software/plugins see Topaz Labs

Note that free trials are available for any of the plugins.

NOTE - Fair disclosure. The links on this page are affiliate links which give me a small commission if you download a free trial after clicking one of the links and then decide to buy. This is done to help meet the costs of keeping this Blog going.

Edwin


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