Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Topaz Star Effects ~ Review and Samples



 So I've had Topaz Star Effects for a few days now.  I have some issues with it but I believe Topaz Labs will be improving on this plug in as the days go by.  You can see what others have to say about all the Topaz products and questions about the plug-ins at The Topaz Forum.

Compared to some of their other plug ins, this one runs a bit slower.  But I am a patient person as I am used to rendering fractals which can sometimes take over 2 hours.

Sometimes what I see in the panel isn't what I end up with on the photo.  
I try adding stars but the stars follow the highlights in the photo and you can't just randomly place the stars.
There is a work around that Topaz and others came up with.
You can force new stars to appear by painting in 1-pixel dots of a light color in Elements or Photoshop -- or whatever your editing program is... and then going into Star Effects.

Others have had better success than I have at this.
Here are some Before and After shots:
Before [Fractal]:
After:
Very subtle isn't it?  Except for the flare.  This was done in two steps.  First I selected the preset 'Water Highlights I' and then applied it.  Second I selected the preset Sunflare I.  I used the erase tool to get rid of stars I did not want.  This is the result.


 I wanted to try another one with a second fractal creation.  This one I used 'Water Highlights II' and then toned it down, just enough to give me a slight highlight of the light parts of the fractal.

Before:
After:
 
Last I used a photograph of water and ice.  I wanted just subtle highlight and nothing too garish.
Before:
 
 After:
I suppose I could have found a similar way to do this in Elements, but to tell you the truth, I'm not sure I would have thought about it before this plug in came around.

Is it worth it?  Well it depends on how creative you want to be, so far I am enjoying it and I've seen some wonderful images created with it.

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