Have you ever looked at your photos and wanted to do something extra with them; change their look? Would you like to be able to do this easily and quickly? You can with Topaz Restyle. With this software plug-in you have access to over 1000 high quality effects to transform your images into new creations. Downloading the software from their site is simple, sets up easily and you can try it out free for 30 days! You decide what host editing program you want it connected to and go from there. When you open Restyle in your host editing program it analyzes your photo for a few seconds first before launching. I’m not sure what that means or does; just part of the process I assume.
Once in the program, on the upper left, you have the collections section which features eleven different categories of effects to chose from and in each of those categories are multiple presets. You don’t have to limit yourself to staying in the same category as your image. Sometimes an effect in a different catalog might work better for you hence the fun in exploring and experimenting. You can scroll through the presets and watch each preview window slide open or you can view them all at once in grid view.
Clicking on the fifth icon in the preset bar opens a collection in grid view. When the grid view opens every preset in that collection will appear and display what your image will initially look like. This is my favorite feature of Restyle. I also like that each preset preview window is large and easy to see. But how can you chose one effect from so many presets without scrolling back and forth? There is an easy way to accomplish this.
Each preset box has two icons in its lower left corner. The star lets you put that preset in your favorites folder and the other, the camera, is the snapshot. By clicking on the snapshot icon on just the presets you think you may want to use you are culling presets down to a more manageable amount to see and chose from. Once you’ve selected some presets you may want to try, click on the same snapshot icon at the top of your grid view screen and only those presets will show letting you decide which one you will eventually use. Snapshots are temporary and go away when you close Restyle and return to your host program.
After you’ve chosen the preset you want to use, the editing side of the program comes into play. I have found that adjusting the opacity slider first works best. From there, unless you feel that the results from the opacity adjustment are enough, you can continue on to the different editing sliders. The edit sliders are all self explanatory with their explanations popping up when you hover over them with your cursor. You can change the blending mode, lighten or darken the tones, and even mask out parts of the effect from your image. It’s very easy to toggle between the original image and the one you are working on by using the shortcut of just tapping the space bar. I like the simplicity of the editing panel. You aren’t overwhelmed with a lot of sliders – just enough to let you create what you want.
When in doubt and in need of help there are always the Topaz tutorials to the rescue. Personally I like the written ones over the video ones; that’s just my learning style. Here are two tutorials I found very helpful in getting me up and running with Restyle:
A feature I wish Topaz Restyle had that is in some of their other plug-ins is allowing you to combine different effects while still in the main program. In Restyle’s case you have to apply an effect and any customizations to your image, return to your host program and then re-enter Restyle to add another effect. With this photo of autumn leaves I used the Bronze Desert preset in the Landscape collection, lowered the opacity to 50% and used hard light blending mode, upped the mid tones to 16, the whites to 3, structure to 8 and masked the red leaf to lower the color closer to the original. When finished editing you click on the OK button and let the program convert the image and send it back to your host program where any final tweaks may be applied if you wish.
Here are some other before and after images that I’ve processed with Restyle
Restyle is an easy to learn and use program and while it will not work with every photo, once you learn what types of photos work with what presets then you will be able to create some wonderful images. I’ve not tried it on any portraits but the Topaz website shows examples where they have and they looked pretty good to me. There are some presets in this program which I have already put into my favorites folder because I know I will be using them often while there are others that I just wonder what would anyone ever use that on. In the end it’s all about what you want to create and with this program you can get very creative.
(This post was sponsored by Topaz Labs. All comments and opinions are my own)