Today, Topaz Labs* is introducing the newest in their filter collections for Adobe Photoshop, Clarity. I’ve had a chance to play with it a little bit and it looks very promising!
What is Clarity?
Topaz Clarity is the ultimate tool to create compelling and powerful images by intelligently enhancing contrast
and clarity with absolutely no artifacts or halos. With just a few clicks you can easily manipulate your micro,
mid-tone and overall contrast, adding punch while maintaining the natural feeling and tonality you are after.
Using a proprietary technology, Topaz Clarity effectively improves local contrast without halos or noise, giving
you remarkable results with minimal effort. ~ Topaz Lab’s Clarity Tech Specs
I grabbed a few images I had handy on my desktop to play with. I found the interface to be quite intuitive although it was easier in the beginning to start with one of the presets and tweak the settings. In the examples below, I would normally have done base edits with levels or curves before I run a filter, but I decided to just throw some sooc (straight out of the camera) images at Clarity and see what it could take. I was pretty impressed. I really like how I can tweak the brightness, contrast, detail and saturation within Clarity.
Filter was applied to only the flowers, not the texture. Texture is Rainy Day from the Autumn Rain collection.
Note: I did do some quick tests using levels to improve the SOOC images to compare how much was Clarity and how much was just a contrast adjustment. The Clarity image was much nicer.
Filter was applied to only the image, not the texture. This is an image I did last year and wasn’t quite happy with it. After using Clarity it worked for me. I added the Smokehouse texture from Les Textures I collection.
Here are the settings I used for the above image. Click to see a large image.
Could you get similar results using only Photoshop? Probably, but you will also be jumping through more hoops with more layers. I’m always a big fan of working smart. We often don’t see how far an image needs to go until we push the limits a bit and then dial back appropriately. Being able to quickly see an image with different presets can help you see where an image needs to go and then it’s easier to dial in tweaks in the Settings and Parameters Panel.
All in all, this is a great filter to have in your toolbox and I bet will often be your first “go to” filter.