Finally an ACCURATE Paint Filter Program!
I have used many Painting Filters in Photoshop. I have also used many paint filter programs. There was always something I did not like about them though. I could always tell a Filter was applied to get the look. If I looked closely I could see repeating patterns and shapes that made up the image. It looked fake.
I used to be a painter, I haven’t picked up a brush in nearly 4 years (and I miss it) but I painted for a long period in my life. One year I painted nearly 65 paintings while I was going through a Color Theory, Composition, and abstraction experiment. I know quite a bit about paint application, color blending, and brush techniques. Knowing all of this it is hard to pull one over on me with a ‘Paint Filter’. Even if you print it on canvas I can pick up on it almost instantly.
However, Topaz Labs has just announced their newest software addition, Topaz Impression. When I first talked to Darcy of Topaz about this she mentioned a new Paint Filter program. My immediate reaction was… great another paint filter program… She allowed me to look at the betas over the last month and within my first taste of the program I was hooked! This program works painting miracles!
- Topaz Impression captures the nature of an artist’s brush strokes in very intuitive ways. The same stroke will not be seen twice on two images. This is because it intuitively creates its strokes from the Highlight, Midtone, Shadow, and Color information in the image. This allows for very unique effects.
- Impression has an excellent interface filled with presets that give you a great start to any image. These presets are based on images from Art History that quickly render the photo as a painting in the style you choose. To name a few: Impressionistic. DaVinci Sketch, Chiaroscuro, Pastel, Oil Painting… etc.
- It is a stand alone program or, my favorite, a plugin for Photoshop. This allows you to seamlessly incorporate the effects of Impression into any workflow. Using this program as a tool is highly recommended. Even though the product that comes out of the program is phenomenal, you can add a whole new element of life to your composites and portraits.
- The way that Impression renders detail still amazes me. Words remain legible and line work is not lost in the brush stroke translation.
- Brush Strokes are created from real brush strokes masked out of painting with Topaz ReMask! The great thing is you are not stuck with one throughout the whole creation process. You can change brush strokes at any time.
- Unfortunately, Impression does not work on 32 bit systems. A 64 bit system running Windows 7 or higher is required to run Impression.
- Impression is labor intensive on your video card. You must ensure yo uare operating with a video card that supports OpengGL3.2.
- It can be relatively buggy at times. There have been reported erroneous error messages that pop up when using the program that only subside when a Photoshop and/or system restart is accomplished.
The Bottom Line:
A Photographer with a painters background is in love with Topaz Impression. When I applied the Chiaroscuro preset to the image in the examples below, my heart skipped a beat and sank into my stomach. The next step for me is to print these on canvas and see how they look on their intended surface. More to come on that.
The Video Tutorial:
Below you will see the original image first and then the Topaz Impression images that follow. Some of the preset names have changed since the beta release. Notice the little details that have not been lost as you look at the image. Single blades of grass are still rendered as such, words are still legible, and line work is nearly unaltered. At only $99 this kind of control of your photographs as paintings is an absolute steal!