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Topaz B&W Effects Review

topaz black and white effectsTopaz B&W Effects is a new black and white conversion and enhancement Photoshop plug-in from Topaz Labs. The developers used real film scans to accurately simulate the look and feel of historic black and white film. In addition to highly accurate traditional black and whites, Topaz B&W Effects provides you a number of creative tools to make stylish looking photos in a snap. They include detail, exposure and contrast control, a five-in-one selective brush, quad toning and finishing effects. With Topaz B&W effects you can apply over 200 presets to your photos with just one click.

After applying a preset, you can tweak the adjustment settings to develop your own unique look and then save these new settings as your own preset. All of the presets are broken down into collections. The unique presets included in Topaz B&W Effects are the Van Dyke Brown Collection, Cyanotype Collection, Opalotype Collection and the Albumen Collection, which all simulate historical printing processes.

topaz bw effects

Top new features of Topaz B&W Effects also includes Selective Brush for burning, dodging, selective color and selective detail, Adaptive Exposure to help create dynamic detail and exposure, Finishing Touches which includes borders, vignettes as well as Curve tool for adjustments to image tones, contrast and brightness.

topaz bw effects

Topaz B&W Effects has similar to other Topaz Labs products interface featuring Presets and Previews in the left panel, main image window and Settings in the right panel. The new features in Topaz B&W Effects interface are Effect enable/disable which allows you to hide or view a set of adjustments for easy comparison and Stage-based Settings layout with all of the tools are broken down into steps to help ease you through the editing process.

topaz bw effects interface

Here’s basic Topaz B&W Effects workflow (download a fully functional 30-day trial of Topaz B&W Effects to follow):

1. When you start you can choose from Effects collections to apply a preset and then manually tweak it or you can start manual tweaking at once using sliders in the tab panel.
Next to each sub-adjustment tab is a small checkbox. To enable the effects in this tab be sure that the check box is Checked. You can also uncheck it at anytime to disable the effects. Each sub-tab also includes a reset button. Clicking this button will reset all of the sliders in that tab to their default values.

2. Conversion Tab includes basic tools for black and white conversion. The Basic Exposure sub-tab has controls for contrast, brightness and vibrance. Adaptive Exposure makes HDR like adjustments to your photo.

3. Creative Effects Tab has creative stylized tools including Simplify which offers the control to remove image detail, Diffusion simulates Diffusion filters to create a hazy or dream-like effect, Posterize separates image tone into several regions of fewer tones, Camera Shake applies motion blur to the image.

4. Local Adjustments Tab allows you to selectively apply image adjustments using an advanced brush. Adjustments include burning, dodging and selective color.

5. Finishing Touches Tab is for applying toning, vignettes, grain and more.

topaz bw effects

Technical specifications
Topaz B&W Effects is a plug-in that works with Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Aperture, iPhoto, Lightroom and PaintShop Pro. It is compatible with Windows XP or later and Intel-based Macs running OS X 10.5 or later.

Topaz B&W Effects ($59.99) is a very powerful and easy to use photographer tool to create high-impact black and white image or apply creative effect. Tons of presets will save you hours of work and fine tuning controls gives you unlimited creative options.

Topaz B&W Effects is also included in the Topaz Photoshop Bundle ($299.99), a complete solution for all of your post processing needs.

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