So I shot this wonderful photo but the depth of field is not quite what I wanted or envisioned; Now what? You could always go into Photoshop, apply various blurs and hope that you can attain what you initially were looking for; Or you can use the Topaz Labs’ Lens Effects Plug-in.
With Topaz Lens Effects you can:
• Simulate realistic lens, filter & specialty camera effects
• Emphasize focal point and minimize distracting elements
• Enjoy having the flexibility to add in-camera effects after the shot
• Achieve a diverse range of effects without additional equipment
When I opened the plug in, I started with a 450 MB Tif in Photoshop. After much time and work on the part of my laptop, I was finally presented with a beautiful C++ error and no image. Perhaps I was getting a bit ahead of myself here. That being said, I tried a file that was much smaller, about 3.25 MB, and every thing worked just fine. Once the plugin opened the file I got the interface that I have come to expect from Topaz.
On the left, you will see a small preview of the effect from the list effects that you have select from the list below. Once you have selected an effect that you want to work with you can go below that menu and browse the presets available for the chosen lens effect.
In the center of the screen is your work area. You can manipulate the image with two primary options for viewing; The effected image and side by side with the original. As with nearly all the Topaz plug-ins, you can simply left click and hold the mouse button on the image in the work area to see the before and after. I find the side by side option to be difficult to deal with as I am working with even less viewable space and image size; That being said, I prefer work with the full sized, effected image.
On the right hand side of the screen, you will find all the control variables for the given effects that you have selected from the left side of the screen. At a glance, some of these controls do not seem intuitive. For example, the Tilt Shift effect seems a little cumbersome to tweak. Perhaps this is because I am used to adjusting the cams on my lens and seeing the focal plane in comparison to my subject as I am shooting.
While TopazLabs boasts being able to replicate the Diana/Holga lens effect, I have not found a specific preset for this; However I was able to achieve this using 2 different effects. The snap shot below is my music studio Before and after (just a quick snappy, nothing special). Using the Center Bokeh in combination with a Dark Vingette, I was able to achieve an approximation of the lens distortion that is evident in the plastic lenses of the Diana or Holga cameras.
As with the rest of the plug-ins that are available from Topaz, I think that this is a powerful resource that can assist the photographer in post production. I am thoroughly impressed with this tool and will be using it more often in the not so distant future. Again, May 5th is the expected release date. As a side note. I am in communication with Topaz in regards to hosting a contest; More news to come on that tidbit.
In the mean time, visit TopazLabs and check out their collection of plug-ins.