In The Desert
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Topaz Labs, Plug-in Review
Plug-in, review by in the desert
Look at the two photos below -- have you ever wondered why sometimes you get these star effects on the brighter lights in a photograph? It all has to do with the aperture of the lens. The first one here was shot at f 14 and the second one below was shot at f 3.5. You can shoot at a smaller aperture and get star effects. But there is a cost - all the flares you see in the photo and the simple fact that you don't have any control over what gets the star effects and what doesn't. It's much simpler to add them using a Topaz plug-in.
You might think that the only use for star effects is for night photography. There are a lot of other times when this can enhance a photograph. Here are some examples. First shot is just how it came out of camera. Notice the sun flares? We did away with them.
On the photo above we changed the appearance of the sun glow and even let the effect override the black frame on the top edge. Maybe you'd like to change the photos appearance and give it more of silhouted look? And make the sun flare bigger? It's all possible with Topaz Lab's Plug-ins.
Great Plug-in, give it a try HERE
The photo below was again shot at f 3.5 and has no flares or star effects. You can now decide which of the bright lights you'll want to have star effects and how big each one is going to be. After adding the star effects to the larger lights, you'll want to hit the apply button in the program so you can start with the smaller lights without affecting the larger ones which you've already given the effect to.
Below, shot at f 3.5 the largest aperture available with this lens.
Here is our choice, yours may differ. We first added larger effects to the upper lights. Then to compliment them we added the star effects to the hood of our vehicle where there were reflections of the street lights. These we made smaller to be more realistic.
On the two sunset photos below you have the original and the bottom one with the star effect added. This program is very easy to use and understand.
Even on brightly lit outdoor shots you'll find times when you may want to enlarge an effect or enhance a photo by adding the star effects. The presets in the program work great, and afterwards it's very easy to change or eliminate effects in the manual portion of the program.
The Glow Effects in the plug-in can enhance the depth and give the foreground of the photo a softer, more pronounced look. Click on this image to the left for an example. The lower half of the image was selected, then the glow effect was added.
Mouse over this photo to see the change.