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Topaz ... the demo wouldn't allow me to bring it back into PS to finish processing, so I don't know how it is going to play out when I lift the exposure, etc. (as I did in the downsized image above).
Screen shots again
I didn't like any of the presets that Topaz had. Topaz seem VERY powerful @ blurring, but ... it had a refined slider this was only around 10% iirc @ the overall. Most of the change was in the color slider. Also, it was nice to have a separate shadow/highlight and red/blue slider.
Overall feel of Topaz was different as it was Plugin vs. stand alone, but it seemed pretty responsive and also not incumbered by the other RAW processing aspect of the full converter that DXO is. A bit of the "KISS" approach ... knowing that it would return me to PS (if the demo had allowed it) to continue my familiar PP in PS rather than trying to learn/understand the controls/effects of a different edit program. Not having to go "hmmm" at do I want to use DXO or PS is always a blessing for us too many options challenged old dogs @ new tricks. Although, DXO did export the TIFF just fine to PS and had options for jpg export as well. Subjective pluses either way.
The earlier downsize of the full image incorporated additional tweaks beyond the NR itself ... would have been nice if I could have done this with the Topaz version as well. Not sure why, but it kept looping me back to the website to download the trial (which I had obviously already done), not allowing a return to PS.
Looks like going through PS to Topaz vs. DXO I may have used different color space @ RAW import (Adobe vs. PhotoPro) without considering that the settings for import were diff. Thus, the two original RAW's vibrancy of the color noise might appear a touch diff starting out. Not sure, but maybe.
Overall impression ... I liked working in Topaz better, and it seemed to have a better approach than DXO ... just wish I could have seen how it played with the PP to follow. NR isn't my forte by any means, so take this with a HUGE grain of salt.
BTW ... I still couldn't see the diff @ DXO HIGH vs. PRIME (limits of my system/monitor ).
At this point ... I feel like I haven't seen the complete story for DXO PRIME (looks the same as HIGH to me), nor a finished product from Topaz without continuing on in PS. But, they both suggest that there is additional hope for noise that can save the day without having that blur/smudge (although Topaz could take you there pretty quick if you got aggressive) obliteration of detail. Likely a learning curve to either product to figure out how it will play best with follow on pp.
Probably a tough call @ DXO vs. Topaz ... but for the nominal diffs between the two (at least to this NR newbie's maiden voyage with NR other than PS), Topaz seems suitable @ Plugin (workflow/cost/task specific) if you don't need/want a full blown RAW processor of DXO.
One other thing /
When using Topaz as a plugin, can it be applied to different layers so that you could either apply different levels of NR and opacity adjustments and/or use masking to selectively apply NR. When using DXO, I found myself yearning for the ability to apply NR selectively and it seemed that it would be a global application only (unless it had masking like LR that I hadn't yet found).
Downsized from screen shot + PS pp
Edited on Nov 20, 2013 at 02:39 PM · View previous versions