Topaz Im­pres­sion

Turn­ing you into Da Vinci

Mac Format - - CONTENTS -

$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.

Pain­terly style

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.

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