A plugin, 3 images and a bottle of wine

Inspired by a post from Laura I wanted to see what the plugin Topaz Impressions 2 could do for me and my landscape photographs. I downloaded the 30 days free trial version and installed it on my MacBook Pro. After the installation I had 3 options: stand-alone, integrated into LR, integrated into PS. I decided to go for the LR version. I played around for quite a while and soon I had the feeling that creativity is reduced to waiting for the plugin to apply the filter (and I have a powerful MacBook with lots of RAM) and more important is reduced to clicking through presets, filter options and moving sliders from left to right. After a while you see the result “created” by the plugin. Now that is really a “jump and run” (clicking as fast as you can) experience. The problem is the workflow is not near to “jump and run”. The bottle of wine did not help. After a few hours I was bored and tired looking at the results of “someone (something) else”.  I think the plugin produces some “interesting” results but it depends a lot on the underlying image. And may be it is me not being able to work with such a workflow. I was always looking at my Wacom tablet and pencil getting ready for some paint work. But I think that is not the purpose of the plugin.

Images I thought would work well were crap, others were better than I thought they would be. I did 10 images in 2 hours. Here are some examples. What do you think? I decided to let it alone for a while but my tendency is to not use it for my landscape photography. I think there are areas where it could produce additional interest to the underlying image. Objects, flowers, isolated objects in the landscape. I saw a really good example in Laura’s post. I have to get going to pack my bag and see if the weather is good enough to leave home this evening and get some photographs.

RSP - Reinhold Staden Photography
Before
RSP - Reinhold Staden Photography
After
RSP - Reinhold Staden Photography
Before
RSP - Reinhold Staden Photography
After
RSP - Reinhold Staden Photography
Before with >>> Selfie <<<
RSP - Reinhold Staden Photography
After

All the credit for the after images goes to Topaz Lab. I was only the operator…

18 thoughts on “A plugin, 3 images and a bottle of wine

  1. Hi richard. 🙂 I’m glad you downloaded the trial! It takes a bit getting used to the plugin and to know what it’s good for. Personally, I find it works better with things that have a lot of negative space or for things that are strong images. I think the lighthouse would be fantastic but you just have to get used to what works for what and also what the blending modes mean. It took me awhile to figure it out and I know I still have more to learn. If you want to share my screen via Skype sometime, I could show you a little bit about it. Just drop me a line via the contact link on my blog. I could even use your lighthouse just so you can see how it works. Just a thought!

    • Hi Laura, I am glad I did it as well. But I had the wrong expectations. Looking at your post and excellent sample I thought you used a mouse/pencil and tablet to “paint” the effect onto an image. Presets and sliders, blending modes and other points to click and choose is not my cup of tea. It was obviously more my fault than a “fault” of the plugin. Right plugin (except processing time of adjustments), wrong user. Thanks for your offer to show me the way how to use it more effectively. But I stick to my decision to concentrate on landscapes and to stay as close as possible to the way I saw it at that moment. Let the camera and filter set on the lens do the work. I would love to have a 1:1 conversation via Skype in one of these days. I could use your professional advice for my plans for this and next year. My user account is: reinhold.staden. Smiles. Reinhold (but you can call me Richard :-))

    • Julie, I certainly will not use it in the near future. In the moment for me it is all about creating landscapes as close to how I see it. A plugin turning my image into a painting is not what I was searching for. It had a major benefit to try it out. Now I know what I don’t like to do. 🙂 Sending smiles over the pond! Reinhold

  2. Habe ich das richtig verstanden, dass Ding besteht ausschliesslich aus presets? Mit presets habe ich ein wenig Probleme. Nicht das es keinen Spaß macht, aber irgendwie habe ich das Gefühl, das Resultat ist nicht meins. Klar, wenn ich selbst an den Knöpfen drehe, komme ich vielleicht auf das selbe Resultat, doch dann war es auch MEIN Wille das Bild so zu entwickeln.

    Der kleine Reinhold auf dem Leuchtturm ist klasse. Sieht schwer nach Aktion aus.

    Liebe Grüße, Markus

    • Hi Markus, das Plugin verfügt über Presets die in verschiedene Kategorien unterteilt sind und du kannst über Slider die Voreinstellungen anpassen und diese Veränderungen dann als eigenes Preset speichern. Das ist aber nicht mein Punkt. Ich setze (derzeit aber immer weniger) Plugins ein um mein Image zu unterstützen, zu verbessern. Dieses Plugin verändert das Image hin zu einem “gemalten” Bild. Das wäre auch nicht verkehrt, wenn man das möchte. Aber die Verarbeitungszeit ist so langsam, dass mir der Spass es weiter auszuprobieren schnell vergangen ist. Ich will eh zurück zur Natur und die Fotografien soweit es geht in der Kamera erstellen. Aber diese Veränderung habe ich ja schon angefangen zu beschreiben. Alles hatte seinen Anfang mit dem Spiegelbild und dem Lee Filter System. Und nun bin ich süchtig nach “no easy shots anymore”. LG. Reinhold

      • Reinhold loves to do it the hard way! Richtig so. Ich empfinde es sogar so bei deinen Bilder, dass man meint die Arbeit, die Auseinandersetzung und den Spaß zu spüren.
        LG, Markus

      • Wenn ich könnte würde ich zu einer Filmkamera zurückgehen. Das Fotografieren mit Stativ und Filtersystem hat einen “gravierenden” Vorteil. Statt 300 Bilder pro Termin komme ich mit 10-20 zurück. Und es hat etwas Meditatives sich 10 Minuten mit einer Aufnahme zu beschäftigen. Und am Ende kann rauskommen das Bild NICHT zu machen. Und der Nachbearbeitungsaufwand schrumpft gewaltig. Hat lange gebraucht, aber gefällt mir gut. Vielleicht war das auch das Geheimnis der alten Meister. Bei 12, 24, 36 Aufnahmen pro Film macht man sich vor der Aufnahme Gedanken und schaut nicht auf sein Display, ob die Aufnahme etwas geworden ist. Liebe Grüsse. Reinhold

      • Das klingt saugut. Du bringst damit die pure Lust am Fotografieren rüber. Klasse!!! Stimmt, es hat etwas absolut bewusstes, was den Wert des Resultats mächtig erhöht.
        Viel Spaß weiterhin und liebe Grüße, Markus

      • ….ich noch mal kurz. Habe ich vorhin vergessen zu fragen, da du doch technisch fit bist: Kennst du eine gute Alternative zum Kasperski Virenschutz auf dem MAC. Ey, der bremst mich so was von aus… …kriege manchmal kaum den Reader geladen.

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