I’ve been a fan of Topaz plug-ins for about three years now, have bought several of them, starting with Adjust 4, and have gotten into the habit of buying each new one as soon as it comes out. I don’t have to think too hard about buying them because I trust the brand and know they are all going to be good.
As an amateur photographer, I particularly like Topaz’s pricing policy: 50% discount on each new plug-in at the time of launch and, so far, free upgrades to subsequent versions. To date, there have been no expensive annual upgrades at $100 per plug-in, as has been Nik’s pricing policy in the past, though, to be fair to Nik, their pricing seems to have become more reasonable since Google bought them.
True to form, I bought ReStyle when it was launched last month and paid $30, as opposed to the regular price of $60. At that price, it’s outstanding value for money.
First off, the interface is slick and elegant, as one would expect from Topaz. While the layout is similar to their other plug-ins – pre-sets (called “Collections” in ReStyle) on the left of the screen, sliders on the right and the main image preview screen in the middle – the functionality of this app is very different from previous Topaz products. It’s the closest thing I’ve seen to an iPhone processing app for DSLR-generated image and offers similar breadth of creativity.
Within each of the eleven Collections in ReStyle, there is a multitude of pre-sets – more than a thousand in all – which add up to almost unlimited creativity. While one could easily be overwhelmed by the wide range of different looks on offer, in fact, I found ReStyle quite intuitive to use. For example, when working on an image of a flower, the “Nature” collection was the obvious place to start.
Alternatively, of course, one could choose a less obvious starting point – for example, processing a flower image with the “Underwater” or “Moody” collection – and end up with a totally different and no doubt quite zany image.
Within each Collection, the Grid View allows you to see on one screen how each sub-set would change the look of your image. The interface looks a lot like Totally Rad’s RadLab program. From within Grid View, I found it quite intuitive to pick one pre-set as a starting point for processing my image, simply by choosing the pre-set which comes closest to my vision for what I want the image to end up looking like. There is no need to over-think the process or to work through all the pre-sets available – just follow your creative instinct.
For the lead flower image, I started off with the Nature collection, then choose the “Blue Skies and Cherry Blossoms” pre-set, from which it took only a few clicks to produce this alternative look, which turns the green foliage to blue and made the orange flower really pop.
In processing all these images, I relied on one of the most powerful tools within ReStyle: the ability to control the Hue, Saturation and Luminosity separately for each of the dominant colors in the image – a very powerful feature.
In summary, ReStyle offers an almost limitless range of creative options but its slick design and ease of use makes producing alternative-looking images surprisingly easy and intuitive.