Topaz ReStyle is a unique plugin, and I’ll be honest, when first announced a year and a half ago or so, I saw it as kind of kitschy. With an image opened in ReStyle, you’re presented with a ton of re-toning filters which take the existing tones throughout your image, and shift them to produce some very cool effects. While some were not a great fit for a particular image, I found it kind of tough to really know how to search through the multitude of available tone shifting filters. I liked it, but when originally reviewing it, I don’t think I paid enough attention to the power of the adjustments. This time around, I’m finding it a much more useful plugin. It’s on sale, and you can download a full free trial to follow along by going HERE. For those merely looking for a discount code, use “FEBRESTYLE” and go to TopazLabs HERE to download the software, and input the code in the coupon field at checkout to get $20 off. Normally $59.99, it is on sale through the end of the month for $39.99.
For those interested in seeing a bit more, and reading about why I’m enjoying it more this time around, come on in…
Topaz ReStyle is a program that offers over a thousand filters. These filters re-tone your image by assigning certain colors to certain tonalities in your image. Think highlights, midtones and shadows instead of pure reds, blues and greens to an extent, and you’ll start to see how this program tends to change how your image looks. Once I started to see the filters this way, it started making a lot more sense to me when previewing the multitude of pre-programed filters and applying a shift in the color processing for any given image I happened to be working on.
The cross processed, or vintage looks in digital post processing are very popular, largely because it can help begin to bridge into the design realm, replicating some very marketable styles. If you’ve seen any catalog from Anthropology or Urban Outfitters from the last ten years, you’ll have seen how this aesthetic is used to market to a large and accessible demographic. Plus, it looks cool if done well. Like so many other plugins, ReStyle looks to automate what could take a lot of time in Photoshop if wanting to alter an image by targeting specific colors and tones. It does this quickly and efficiently in broad chops via the presets, while giving you a scalpel to fine tune how those colors and tones are finalized via the sliders. After you’ve got your filter finely tuned, make sure to save your new filter by clicking the “+” on the bottom left which will let you save your preset to either a preexisting collection, or will allow you to name and add your own.
In the program, you are able to choose a preset collection, and I did find that the “Landscape” grouping seemed to do better for my landscape images, the “Portrait” better for nicely lit headshots, etc. From there, you’re able to go in a variety of different ways with a few clicks, and herein was the source of my initial feeling of being a bit overwhelmed. There are a lot of presets. All nicely grouped and laid out, but there are quite a few.
Have a look at the screen shot below (click to see full screen):
On the left you have your preset collections, and below, the presets residing in each of those collections. The color bands make a lot more sense when you view them as you might a reverse histogram essentially. The colors on the left makeup the tones that will be assigned to your highlights, while moving right, you’ll get into the tones assigned to your midtones, shadows and everything between. Some presets work well for certain exposures, others not so much, but there is inevitably one that will suit most any image as you are given over a thousand to choose from with the ability to completely alter any given preset via the sliders on the left.
This time through, I found myself doing a lot more playing around with the Hue, Saturation and Luminosity sliders for each of the given tones allowing for a necessary tweak to get any given image to look its best I found. Add to that the ability to mask the effect out within the plugin and apply contrast sharpness via the clarity sliders and the power of the plugin comes into focus.
Here are a few before and afters, mostly because I feel I’m getting too wordy, and this plugin is best described by visual aid…
Topaz ReStyle is on sale through the end of February via Topaz Labs website HERE. Use code “FEBRESTYLE” to get $20 off dropping the $59.99 plugin to $39.99. You can always download a free trial via the link above too.
I think to get the best out of this plugin, the true power lies in the details. Where the presets often offer a good looking, one click effect, playing with and understanding how to tweak the colors, contrast and processing via the sliders can help add a more tailored fit. It can be overwhelming at first with the sheer depth of choice, but with a little patience, and tinkering, you start to see how useful and fun this program can be.
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Thanks all and happy shooting,
How different is this tool from Nik Color Efex Pro coupled with a rich set of presets like the Flypaper Presets?
It’s been a while since I’ve used NIK CEP, but ReStyle is more about retoning the color and tonalities instead of producing drastically different effects from filter to filter in terms of micro contrast, etc. I’d liken CEP closer to Topaz Adjust than ReStyle myself, although those two provide different skill sets too.
I always liked NIK’s U-point tech, but have found that the included masking in these other plugins, combined with more powerful selection in PS (or using Topaz ReMask) I’ve completely moved on from all the NIK programs and haven’t used any of them in a while, except when playing around with HDR Efex a little here and there.
Give the free trial a spin. I think that ReStyle does take a little patience, to an extent, in that it’s real power lies in the adjustments for each of the assigned colors for a given filter. Preset filters are pretty broad strokes, but playing with the saturation, hue and luminosity for each of the assigned colors can really start to fine tune any filter.
Hope this wasn’t too long winded 🙂
Thanks for the information.
Snarky fortune cookie:
Never clean your room while it still contains your plane ticket.
I went ahead and acquired Topaz Restyle and set it up as a PS plugin. I’m pretty overwhelmed by the large number of presets and have spent a lot of time looking at particular images’ treatment with the presets. The easiest way I’ve found to see a lot of presets at once is to select a collection and use the grid view. So far I’ve stuck to the standard presets, being sure to note the name so I can find my way back to it. At some time in the future I may start creating my own presets, but not right now. My experience with the keyword search has been disappointing; sometimes I find what I’m looking for, but I seem to get a lot of hits that aren’t related.
More than anything else, I’ve found that this is just one step in creating an image. I have yet to find a preset that creates a finished image using the Normal blending mode and 100% opacity. I use the presets more like textures, but for intensifying and directing color. I’ve also found that you can apply different presets to different parts of an image and use layer masks to merge them. I really have only begun to explore ways to use this software, but it looks like a tool I’ll want to take the time to learn.
One can cure oneself of the “not un-“ formation by memorizing this sentence: “A not unblack dog was chasing a not unsmall rabbit across a not ungreen field.”
George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language”
_Horizon_, April 1946
It is certainly a bit more work, but once I started actually digging in and playing around, I felt that it became a far more useful plugin for me. I think you’re on to something with opacity. Often just decreasing opacity will better suit an image. The other thing I’ve had really good luck with is isolating certain colors via the HSL sliders based on the areas in the image that they are most affecting.
The more I play with it, the more I really like it. Check out the Topaz Blog via their website too, they just released a “10 most useful” filters in ReStyle (or something like that) and it helps to give at least a direction to go, and those that I’ve used from their list do seem to do really well, but are buried within the 1,000+ filters.
Have fun with it!
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