I’ve been using NIK Silver Efex Pro for my black and white conversions, and it’s still my go-to software for quality black and white. But the folks at Topaz have released a really terrific new plug-in, B&W Effects, that has some different things that make it worth owning in addition to Nik’s great application. I would recommend having both your toolbox of creative effects, personally.
In my sneak-peek copy of B&W Effects, I played around with introducing transparent color back into the flower that I posted last night – after converting it to B&W, all within the plug-in. I used the brush tool, something new they’ve introduced, to lighten the center of the flower just slightly by painting on the image. In the short time that I experimented with this program last night, I could see it has great potential.
Topaz Labs is offering a special introductory price of $29.99 (Regularly $59.99). Just enter the coupon code: “bwandbeyond” when purchasing. Offer ends 09/18/11. You can also use the $30 savings towards purchasing the bundle or any bundle upgrade, too.
Hmmm. Downloaded with difficulty, installed with difficulty, opened in Aperture after upgrading Fusion Xpress ( Topaz’s absurdly flaky system for running Aperture plug-ins) the interface is clunky and ugly, it crashed twice, had to force quit, falls over with large files, does not recognize system wide command -z as undo, undo key does not undo, effects are way over the top and really gross, presets have to be applied to preview, I cannot think of a single good thing to say about this software except that is a buggy beta that needs a lot of work to make it worth even the discounted 29.99. No fun at all, waste of time and money. If you want I could tell you what I really think 🙂
Really? Wow. I have had no problems. Installed perfectly, accessed through Lightroom OK and through Photoshop. Large files no problem, either – I converted my panorama the other day. It was a 245 MB file. Worked perfectly. Control-Z (I’m on a MAC) worked just fine, too. So I don’t know what the issue is, Jonathan, but I feel your ‘pain’! Suggest you write to them and see what they say…
I did contact them. They admitted trouble with downloads and installer. I think the real issue is the way they configure their tools in Aperture – unlike the Adobe platform they are not true plug-ins, they are applets that run inside the main app as a shell but load separately. So if Topaz hangs, you can quit Aperture but the “plug in” is still running in the background and you have to force quit (via OSX) separately. That is why the undos were not working. HAving said that, I still do not like their interface, (it looks like a bad port from windoze circa 1995) and the sliders are an order of magnitude too “excessive” or insensitive if you see what I mean, whilst the presets, by an large all require downtuning to get nuanced results rather than comic book special effects lathered all over the image. I will STICK to NIK. 🙂 Sorry to rant tho. thanks for the empathy …jt
I agree with you, John, that we are photographers, not painters, in the truest sense, yet I’ve also ‘seen’ the world in a painterly way in my mind, an ‘impression’ of what I’m seeing, for many subjects. That’s why my panning abstract images, and this liquified approach based on the old SX70 film process, always intrigues me. But I love the straightforward image, too. Nothing like clear vision to show the untampered natural beauty of the world around us, and both Nik and Topaz products will help us all get that!
Thanks for sharing your comments and have fun with the new plug-in!!
While I don’t normally go in for photos made to look like paintings (after all, I’m a photographer, not a painter!), this image and its corresponding color image is very pleasing.
I’m glad to see Topaz introducing a B&W plug-in…I thought I was going to have to cough up $150+ for Silver Efex Pro (might have to anyway). I’ll be downloading the plug-in tonight – it looks promising!