Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Testing Topaz Labs' New Clarity Pull-in

It’s new, it’s on sale (until 5/30/2013), the demos look good, but is it all it’s cracked up to be?  Today’s image is of one of the twenty-two named waterfalls in Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania.  We went there over the Memorial Day weekend specifically to shoot some of the falls.  As you may have guessed from the color of the reflections in the water, today’s image isn’t from that trip.  The falls in today’s image is probably as close to the road as you can find.  When we first “discovered” Ricketts Glen we had the place to ourselves.  Over this past weekend, we didn’t.  The parking lot for this falls was full, full, full.  The parking place for the next set was also chock-a-block full of cars, vans, SVUs, pickup trucks and campers.  We drove to what we thought were the undiscovered gems that were basically pull-offs on the side of the road, that gave access to a couple of interesting spots.  Nope, jammed packed.  That’s why I pulled up a shot from a fall trip we took in 2011.  Had to try something to test Topaz Labs’ Clarity.  To see what I found, hit the “Read More”.

I like it.  I like a just about all the Topaz products.  They work, they’re easy to get a handle on and they’re not too expensive.  Even on the post sale price of $49.00 Clarity is far less than some of the other prices I’ve seen for individual pull-ins.  I’m not going to say that Clarity was the only thing that was done to today’s image.  There was a lot of work that went into it in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Beta (LR5B). 

If you look, there’s a leaf in the lower left that has a brownish color to it.  The color was applied using the Adjustment Brush in LR5B.  There are a few other spots with color “enhancements”.  The gold color of the sun coming down through the fall leaves was bumped up a little in LR5B’s HSL Panel.  Some bluish tint was pulled out of the foreground rock.  The Radial Filter found in LR5B was used to relight parts of the scene.  The image was “developed”, as all RAW images need to be.

When the image was in its final state is when TL’s Clarity was selectively applied.  The rock in front was cranked up a bit.  The first and second rock in were given an additional bump.  Parts of the silky, falling water were goosed a bit. 

Anywhere I wanted the viewer’s eye to linger got some sort of Clarity work done to it.  Clarity performed as advertised.  A nice amount of mid-tone contrast with no halos was given to selected areas of the image. 

I’m pretty sure I have a new arrow in my quiver of tools I’ll be using on a regular basis.  Nice job Topaz Labs.