The image above shows mother and child at the water's edge on Point Holmes Beach, Comox, Vancouver Island. Sometimes I like to transform basic images with special effects filters, which I apply with varying degrees of intensity. Apart from this opening shot, I will present the base or initial photographs with conventional editing in Capture One Pro 9, which is my normal editing software. You can then compare this image with the filtered effects, all of which are provided by Topaz Software. The opening shot features intense, dramatic colour with an almost electric effect. Topaz Glow is a set of filters that provide a wide range of high contrast, colourful and simplified images. The filter used here was Brilliant Fibers III. I am not providing the original in this case to preserve the anonymity of people. (Full size images can be viewed here if desired - http://prsimages.zenfolio.com/ptholmes-topazeffects)
The next two images show an overview of the beach looking towards the Beaufort Mountains. Here the secondary processing is provided by Topaz Texture Effects, in particular a filter called Forest Light II, which provides lower contrast and altered colour. Even images straight from the camera are necessarily interpreted by software, so I don't hesitate to add my own rather than worry about what the original really looked like through my eyes. The left side colour is unrealistic but pleasing to me. In this case I prefer the unfiltered original - not by much though.
Now let's look north towards the point and the mainland beyond. The second image is once more based on Topaz Textures, this time a filter called desaturated portrait grunge. Topaz provides many options to control the degree to which the filter is imposed on the image. In this case I was content with the default, but it is fun to experiment with the controls.
I used to paint and would struggle for days to create effects now available so easily (minus texture) with programs like Topaz Impressions. The next photograph uses colour pencil I followed by the base version. I like the airy feel to the Impressions sketch.
The Georgia O'Keefe filter no. 2 in Topaz Impressions is one of my favourites as it provides a smooth, dynamic effect. See especially the beach and houses in the next pair. The conversion to jpg has produced slight banding or layering in the sky (rather than smooth transitions) that is not visible in the TIF source file.
Now let's move to a much sketchier look. I worked these beach logs with Impressions Quick Sketch filter and then reduced the brightness. The result is like a coloured ink sketch with a fine nib on the pen.
Next, a set of three beginning with the base image shot straight into the light. A surprising amount of detail is recovered but I felt that more was possible with this shot. On to the second image.
Topaz allows its effects to be more or less visible. Often the best result is obtained by backing off from 100% application. In the second version, I use Topaz Glow Brilliant on Black reduced to 70%. I think it is still too much, so on to the third version.
This time I reduced the intensity to 60% and made another important change. Many Topaz filters allow a choice of blending modes - how the filter effect will be integrated with the base original. Up to now, all images have been 'normal.' This time I am choosing soft light blending which produces a much gentler but still noticeable change.
The next two show how the coloured pencil filter in Impressions can smooth out detail and simplify the structure of an image. Look at the bubbling surf on the sand. The filtered shot loses the bubbles almost entirely in favour of a streaky texture. I think the original looks a little better in this case.
In this final pairing, I introduce one of my favourites - Charcoal 1 from Impressions. I like the original and am hard pressed to select a favourite here... perhaps the charcoal version. This filter simplifies certain areas like the upper left and the foreground, while leaving critical detail intact.