Turning you into Da Vinci
$99.99 (about £65) Developer Topaz, topazlabs.com
OS OS X 10.8 or later Requires OpenGL 3.2
Topaz Impression pledges to help you turn your photos into paintings, “like a true artist would: by intelligently applying real brushstrokes to canvas”. Which makes it sound appealing, if a tad ambitious, and also easy to use. But the proof is in the pudding…
Once Topaz Impression is loaded up you are presented with a box and asked to select a photo to work with and you simply drag the photo into the boxed area. So far, so easy. The interface is pretty well laid-out and all rather uncluttered, with the photo you’ve selected being shown on the left and largest window. On the right you have a series of boxes with different visual representations of the various default paint effects, from pastiche to Turner sunsets. Click these effects to attribute them to your photographic masterpiece.
On the surface then there’s nothing too fussy going on, but there’s more to it. Once you click to select your favourite default style of painterly effect you are prompted to pick the adjustment menus and see your artistic style substituted with a series of menus and sliders. You also have the option of adjusting the type of brush you are working with.
Some effects are striking in their realism, such as Da Vinci Sketch. That’s not to say we, ahem, produced art that resembled what Mr Da Vinci was capable of terribly closely. But it was still quite realistic in terms of emulation of reallife art mediums, in this case pencil rendering. By tweaking the Da Vinci Sketch settings, and after much sliding of sliders and clicking of brushes, you can create something, again not perhaps that the canonised Italian artist might have been proud of exactly, but that does nevertheless resemble his signature style of drawing.
You can create something, not perhaps that Da Vinci would have been proud of, but that loosely resembles his style
However, you really need to do a lot of experimenting, with adjusting parameters, to even get something that loosely resembles one of the old masters. That said the effects are certainly easy on the eye.
One aspect where the software is lacking is that there isn’t any manual control, like for example, the Smear tool in Photoshop. In fairness, this is budget stuff, but none the less, we found no such controls, which was rather a shame.
Topaz Impression offers some nice, if somewhat limited, effects for your everyday snaps. But, does this software compete with the big boys? Unfortunately not. But then its price reflects this. That said, with cheaper apps that also support Photoshop plug-ins on the horizon, such as Affinity Photo, you may want to wait. James Robinson
All in all, this is interesting to use with some impressive artistic effects, but it lacks manual controls.
Works as a plug-in for Photoshop
Some interesting effects
A bit expensive
No manual controls
The app requires some experimentation as you would expect, but some of the effects are excellent.
Topaz Impression turns your photos into realistic works of fine art in a few clicks.