Topaz Texture Effects Enhanced for Texture, Tone and Lighting Effect Creation

Topaz Labs has without doubt created one of the largest lineups of Photoshop plugins, covering everything from sharpening, removing noise and minimizing JPEG artifacts, through masking and on to its black-and-white and lens effects products. In fact, there are now 17 of these, all reasonably priced and delivered both as standalone applications and plugins. The most recent of these is Texture Effects, which was released last year and provides users with the ability to add a wide variety of one-click texture effects to their images. Your first reaction to this might well be, "So what?" And that would be justified, given the large number of existing programs and plugins devoted to adding textures to images. So what distinguishes this from its competitors?

Topaz Labs claims that Texture Effects provides an approach designed especially to make it easy to add, remove and re-order adjustments, which include everything from soft and subtle lighting effects to high impact grunge and contrast. Users begin by previewing how the supplied effects will look when applied to the current image. After one or more effects to the adjustment stack, they can be tweaked via a range of parameters. Individual areas can also be masked for selective adjustment and effects painted in or out of an image, with 20 blending modes available. A collection of high resolution textures and light leaks is included to bump things up. And going beyond what's supplied, users can import their own textures and also tap the cloud-based Topaz Community, a library of effects created by fellow users.

Version 2 begins with an improved user interface and adds a new image processing that leverages the GPU for faster processing. Masking has been extended from an overall application to custom masks for each applied effect, encompassing spot, color and luminosity masks, as well as brush masking. The addition of unlimited Undo/Redo encourages experimentation by making it possible to move back and forth between adjustments, enhancements and masking brushstrokes. Also new is transparency support for such elements as borders, light leaks and scratches. Finally, the number of included handcrafted effects now tops 400, thanks to the addition of 10 borders, 30 double exposure images and 50 textures.

Topaz Texture Effects 2 is supplied as a standalone application and also works with Mac and Windows Photoshop CS4 through Creative Cloud, Elements 6+ and Lightroom. It can be purchased for $59.99 until October 30, 2016 (regular $69.99). More information and a trial version is available on the Topaz Labs site.