Profile Pictures

Over the years I’ve had only a few different profile pictures.  Probably cause I don’t like pictures of myself.  I’m trying to get over that and make some self portraits, get me over that whole “I take pictures of other people but never of myself” thing.

Also, it gives me the chance to see what I can do with Photoshop, to learn new techniques and make some cool pictures.  I don’t really care that the picture looks very little like me or the original picture, the idea is to make something totally different than the source.

I think I’m going to use this picture as a canvas to mess with. I’ve already made several other images from this picture.  It’s pretty fun.  Maybe this summer I will have time to make more pictures of people instead of the stuff I’ve been doing for my photography course.  I sure hope so.  I miss taking pictures of people.  Maybe I’ll do a whole before/after series with these portraits.  Anyone want me to take their picture?

I did this with Micheal (@mdanbom) (website) last year, wish he was still here, he has AMAZING eyes.

Alright, off to do something else.  Would love ideas for photos though!

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Topaz Adjust – “Quick” Review

In the past few months I’ve been looking pretty heavily into Photoshop plugins. Until recently, and through the suggestion of Scott Bourne from This Week in Photography, I picked up a few of the Nik Software Photoshop plugins.

I’ve been incredibly happy with Nik Software‘s Dfine 2.0, Viveza, Color Efex Pro 3.0, Silver Efex and hope to pick up a copy of Sharpener Pro when I have the cash.

These titles are pretty darn expensive.  You can pay up to $250 for a single title though recently they released an incredible deal/steal.  The Nik Software Complete Collection for $299!  Buy this.

But for those who can’t afford $99, much less $250 per title or $300 for a suite of plugins, as worthy of the cost as they might be, there’s a company out there making a great product for you.

Topaz, known for their video and photography plugins, has two tools for under $100.  I’m looking at Topaz Adjust.

Topaz Adjust is like Nik Color Efex merged with DFine 2.0 and the Photomatrix HDR tone mapping utility all rolled up into one Photoshop Plugin.

It uses a single image as the source and is able to create some really stunning, dynamic pictures.  You can get simple enhancements or go crazy with some totally unrealistic artistic stuff.  (I don’t much care for that, though I’ve gone there before!)

I won’t go too much into how Topaz works or all the steps it takes to make the following pics.  Just know that I did all the adjustments in under two minutes for each picture.

Here are six pictures I hastily enhanced with Topaz Adjust. Click to enlarge and activate the lightbox slideshow.  Pictures on the left are the original RAW files converted direct to JPEG from Aperture.  On the right, the Topaz Adjust enhanced versions.

As you can see from the pictures above, the results are pretty darn good and can range from believeable to enhanced beyond reality.

Topaz Adjust has several sliders and presets to make things easy, but possibly the best part of the deal is that it includes Topaz DeNoise.  While, it isn’t the entire Topaz DeNoise package, it’s pretty darn good.

In fact, I’d say it works just about as good as Nik DFine 2.0.  Topaz DeNoise, the full version not what’s in Topaz Adjust, probably bests both Nik DFine 2.0 and NoiseNinja!

I suspect they included Topaz DeNoise (abridged) into Adjust just as insurance… Adjust sure brought out a lot of noise in some of my pics, but the noise reduction portion of the plugin gets almost all of that excess noise out.

And now to what really matters.  Cost.  Right now, Topaz Adjust can be had for $39, that’s $60 off retail price.

Or, buy the full version of Topaz DeNoise for $79 and get Topaz Adjust for FREE!

Both can be your’s for 30 days at no cost.  Just download the trial version, install and follow the directions for a free, 30 day serial number.

Bottom line, if you can’t afford the Nik Software Complete Collection, want an alternative to Photomatrix or just wanna play around with your “dull” pics, get Topaz Adjust.  You won’t regret it.

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