Those of you who are Lightroom users just got another reminder that major developers are moving more of their apps’ functionality to the cloud (paired with subscription services), and many don’t like that for various reasons. Smaller developers have been bucking that trend, freeing their offerings from the Adobe gorilla and still offering you software that you can buy and use locally without subscription and without an image editing host such as Photoshop.
I’ve used Photoshop since 1992 and still love it, of course, and plug-ins since about the same time. But more recently, we have seen the rise of new, fresh, modern standalone software that is rivaling the aging Adobe monopoly, which is built on an older paradigm from another time. There’s never been a better time for choice!
Today I’d like to begin a series of blogs about standalone imaging apps that strive to offer you a complete workflow, totally bypassing Adobe (yet integrating with them if you desire). Don’t get all excited and run out and pay full price for any of these titles, as discounts are available for all of them, if you know where to look.
First up, Topaz Studio.
You may know Topaz as the developers of a large range of Photoshop-compatible plug-ins, going back a decade. Their 17 different plug-ins, very popular among amateurs and professionals alike to this day, presented two problems: 1) That’s a lot of individual software to keep developing and updating, and 2) being plug-ins, you needed an image editing host to run them in (though as time went by, many of these plug-ins also offered a standalone option). So more recently Topaz undertook a daring paradigm shift and created their own framework to house all of their plug-ins’ functionality, and called it Topaz Studio.
Topaz Studio is actually free, with basic functionality included, so you can get to work right away, even if you own no other imaging software at all.
Here’s a screenshot of the Topaz Studio interface (compressed horizontally and vertically for the sake of the blog post; there’s a lot more breathing room in the GUI when pulled full screen). Preset categories are on the left, the preview in the middle, adjustments at right, more detailed options at top and bottom – this is common to many of the imaging suites currently available so you can comfortably jump from one developer’s title to the next.
The Adjustments listed above the dividing line are included for free; the ones below can be trialed for a month before you need to “Go Pro” to unlock their full functionality.
As I write and for the rest of October, you can save 25% off of any of these Pro adjustments as well as any traditional Topaz plug-in (which, BTW, can be invoked from within Topaz Studio so if you already own them, you are all set).
Soon I will add a more detailed Review of Topaz Studio to the main website.
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