Another Plug-in Goes "Full Featured"

bythom topaz studio

Topaz Labs today announced Topaz Studio, a single editing platform that has a bit of Inception-like recursion to it: it can serve as a plug-in to Lightroom and Photoshop, and it supports your current Topaz plug-ins. Plug-ins within plug-ins. 

Or it can be used standalone. 

Another interesting aspect of the product is how it is being marketed: Topaz Studio is a free download that comes with a set of ten adjustments (basic, blurs, brightness/contrast, color overlay, dual tone, film grain, image layer, posterize, tone curves, vignette). The free version also includes direct raw support, automatic lens correction, and integrated masking.

Fourteen "Pro" adjustments are also available either individually or en suite (abstraction, color theme, focal blur, radiance, smudge, B&W, dehire, HSL, noise reduction, bloom, edge exposure, precision contrast, sharpen, and texture). The entire 14 plug-in set is US$275 (currently US$137 at introduction), and the individual plug-ins seem to range from US$4.99 to US$29.99. Finally, as noted above, Topaz Studio also can host your existing Topaz plug-ins (Topaz is one of three sets of plug-ins that I have installed on all my machines, the others being Nik and MacPhun Creative Kit; I recommend all three to Photoshop users). 

But there's another interesting thing about Topaz Studio: no license keys, and no need to sync back to the Internet if you've got the latest tools installed on your computer (obviously, updates require you to occasionally check back with the mothership). Topaz Studio can be used on up to two computers for a single user. 

Now to the article title: it seems to now be a 100% trend: the plug-in folk are all deciding to challenge Adobe directly. onOne went from plug-ins to full-on product, MacPhun went from plug-ins to full-on product, Alien Skin went from plug-ins to full-on product, and now Topaz Labs has, as well. And that's just the short list. Nik doesn't count because Google bought them and repurposed them. But it's looking more and more like every plug-in maker really wants you to use their demosaic, correction, and editing tool, and these are getting quite sophisticated. 

There's no downside to trying out Topaz Studio I can see, especially if you've already got the Topaz Labs plug-ins. I do suspect that this means that we won't be seeing new plug-ins from Topaz in the future, but rather new "Pro adjustments" for Topaz Studio. 

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