Through the photo industry insanity that seems to come along every time Photokina shows up, it’s easy to let other announcements fall through the cracks. Topaz has quietly announced yet another brand new program, and it is awesome. Topaz takes aim at the digital painting software realm with Topaz Impression. On sale through September for 25% off as an introductory offer (use code SEPIMPRESSION at checkout) CLICK HERE, it may be the creative kick you’ve been looking for. Come on in to see more…
Digital painting has been around for a while now, but like so many other techniques, as time has passed, so too has much of the labor involved.
I started off, years ago, with Corel Painter. An amazing program it must be said, but one I never truly wrapped my head around. It’s complexity, to me, seemed akin to the learning curve required to understand much of Photoshop which has taken me years to really become comfortable with, and I’m always finding new ways to use previously undiscovered tools. Painter is also very expensive which makes the decision to purchase even more difficult. I’ve since played around with various other painting plugins to good effect, and when asked if I was interested in beta testing the new Topaz offering, I jumped.
I grew up as the son of a painter. Unfortunately for me, I never really gained that skill. Not for lack of trying either, I just sucked at painting. Of course, my attention in visual art turned to a more documentary medium and one that allowed me to visually explore my world in a different way. This has never completely satisfied the desire to smear color all over the canvas to create form though. Enter Topaz Impression. Like all of the recent updates and new releases from Topaz, the interface is streamlined and intuitive.
When you first open an image in Impression, you’re greeted with a comprehensive list of effects ranging from Colored Pencil and Charcoal to Impasto, Chiaroscuro and Watercolor. You can start off using a more refined, and beautifully mimiced technique like the Monet, Cezanne or Van Gogh filters and once chosen, you can click on the filter again to bring you into the tool bar.
- STROKE: Allows you to choose your brush type, shape and ultimately determine the size, length and width of the brush strokes. These stroke choices were all custom built by way of scanning and digitizing actual brush and instrument strokes. If you’re looking to create a more abstract, fractalius type effect, play with the smudge slider. Seriously, it’s really cool.
- COLOR: Adjust your hue, saturation and lightness (HSL) within the effect allowing you to warm or cool, or just shift your entire color balance in the image.
- LIGHTING: This is where you can start to build into a perceived third dimension by adding light to the texture of the paint. Depending on the paint effect and brush stroke (size) the light that befalls these strokes will be controlled by way of a directional X and Y axis from the viewers perspective. You can also add or remove a vignette as well as control the actual contrast that the light produces.
- TEXTURE: Finally, you can choose the medium onto which your image is painted. Different art rag finishes, brick, tile, wood, canvas, etc. From there you can manipulate the strength and size of the texture via the sliders, and even control the color of the texture surface which can show through depending on the chosen effect.
You can also choose the overall strength and blend mode via a slider and drop down selector at the bottom left. Click “Save As” when done and choose what to call your masterpiece, and where to save it.
Being able to bring detail back into the image via the strength slider provides you with the ability to adjust the subtlety of the effects, or you can Van Gogh all over the place in abstractness by playing with your brush stroke size, width and length.
Use Impression as a standalone or as a plugin. It offers 47 pre made effects and the ability to create and save your own. A powerful, and efficient program, Impression really does offer one the ability to immediately alter, or fine tune their photographic vision. Portraits, landscapes, street, still life or abstractions all have been past subjects of painters. Now, we can immediately build our digital imagery into beautiful digital paintings allowing a new generation of image makers the opportunity to realize our vision in a new medium with a few clicks and some creativity, and that’s pretty cool to me.
Available for $99.99 normally, or for 25% off through September HERE at Topaz Labs website (use code SEPIMPRESSION at checkout) bringing it down to $75, you can begin to transform your beautiful digital imagery into a handcrafted masterpiece. You have the option to download a full, free trial for 30 days via the link above as well, so I’d certainly suggest trying it out to see if it suits you. If interested, you can save $25 through September.
As always, please feel free to share your thoughts and images in our Flickr Group, or with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Thanks all, and happy shooting!
I wonder how this will stack up against Dynamic auto painter 4
I wish I could say as I don’t run a windows machine, but I have used Corel Painter 11, Painter Essentials and Alien Skin Snap Art. I’d say that for me, Impression is far less complicated than the Corel programs, and takes the simple, click and play approach (much as Snap Art does) but it then adds an impressive level of control over the stroke and then various exposure and visual parameters from there. Impression is entirely automated, by that I mean unlike Painter, it does all the painting for you by way of filters, but there were ways to automate painting in Corel as well, it just took a long while and then was laborious to really tweak, or was for me and my limited understanding of the program overall.
I’d say try the free trial to compare vs DAP4 and see. If you do, I’d love to hear your thoughts, as I’m sure others here would too.
Choices are always good.
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