Well, this is no secret, but I have something to admit - I love the products from Topaz Labs! Ok, that’s not exactly a big reveal, since you have previously seen my reviews of Topaz Impression and Topaz Simplify - both of which I absolutely adore, and use quite often.
Well, Impression and Simplify are about to get jealous, because Topaz Glow is out, and it’s awesome! It’s getting all my attention right now! I’ve been spending a lot of time on it, and I’m really enjoying it. And it’s vastly different from those other two. Vastly.
So Jim, what is Topaz Glow?
Great question, thanks for asking. :-) Topaz Glow is a collection of filters that allow you to alter your image using a lot of unique effects, such as neon, liquify and other electrifying effects. Your images become vibrant and different, but very beautiful - like they were painted with some sort of liquified, glowing neon ink. Trust me when I say that it’s cool. I just don’t know how to put words to it.
Now this is not your day-to-day average photo editor - it’s very unique, and quite honestly, you can do some amazing things with your photos using Topaz Glow. Stuff you’ve never done before. You can absolutely make your images stand out from the crowd. People will ask you what you did to your photos.
But it’s rather hard to explain the product (to be clear, it’s very easy to use - just hard to describe what you can do with it). I can use every possible description for the results you get: neon, electric, electrifying, luminescent, liquify etc and guess what? It still won‘t be totally clear. It really comes down to seeing it. That’s when you “get it”, I think.
So, I have included a lot of sample images below (and sprinkled throughout this review) for you to check out. I always feel like the proof is in pudding. You can read my ramblings all day, but really, you would rather see the pics, right? Right. Ok, glad we agree on that.
That’s also why I have slightly departed from my normal software review style for this one. I normally show more screenshots of the menus and all that stuff, but for this one, I opted to skip that (mostly - I do have a few) in favor of showing you more images that I created with the software.
And by the way, the product operates almost exactly like Topaz Impression does. It can be used as a plug-in to the major host programs (Lightroom, PS, Aperture) or it can stand alone, which is actually how I prefer it.
The menu is easy and intuitive. All the presets are on the right side of the frame (all 72 of them!) and you click a preset once to see how it looks on your image, and a second time will take you into the adjustment menu for that preset. Easy as pie.
Once you are within the image adjustment panel, your choices are many - but don’t let that sound overwhelming. You can increase or decrease the effects on your image in various ways. You can alter Brightness, Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation - all the usual stuff. You can also add a Vignette and more in the “Finishing Touches” menu at the bottom of the right-side adjustment panel. But it’s just sliders. Move things left or right to get it looking the way you want to. There is no “silver bullet” for an image. Just move things around until it looks like something you like.
This is art, and it’s subjective. So, make something that you find beautiful.
Across the top of the main page you have the option to zoom in or out, view the adjusted image side-by-side with the original (in various configurations), or just click once on “Original” to see the original image. Again, very intuitive.
And last but not least - along the bottom you have a very important section. Here you can dial up or dial down the Strength of the effect, which is great. This allows you to gently apply an effect to an image, as opposed to making the effect very obvious. This is great when you just want a subtle application of the filter.
And then you have Blend Mode, which again allows you to alter how intense the effect is, by utilizing various options such as Normal, Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light etc.
When you have your image looking the way you want it to look, just click “Save As” in the bottom right corner and that’s it!
So that’s really it - a high-level review of Topaz Glow. It’s quite fun and I can honestly say that my brain is literally swimming with a lot of ideas about how I can use this on my photos.
I believe a natural starting place is on photos of plants and animals, and I think macros could be cool (especially bugs - wouldn’t that be awesome??). But as you can see in my sample images, I’ve used it on travel photos too, ranging from landscapes to street scenes. Really, the possibilities are endless.
So, the best thing to do is just start experimenting with various types of images to see what all you can do with it. You’ll soon find out that a lot of time has passed - it’s rather addictive.
I hope this review helps and don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you have any questions! Get in there and have fun with it! Thanks for stopping by!
Note: I am an Affiliate with Topaz Labs, the makers of Topaz Glow and many other great software titles (such as the well-known Topaz Adjust). You can use the discount code JIMNIX and get 15% off ANYTHING you order on their site. If you use that code, I get a small commission (but your price remains the same!) which I reinvest in the ongoing maintenance of this site. Or maybe I will buy a pony. :-)
If interested you can follow this link.