New Topaz ReStyle Plug-in: Great Value and Unlimited Creativity

_DSC1456ATopazReStyleI’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.

_DSC9858ATopazRestyleFirst 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.

_DSC8987ATopazReStyle copyFor the image of the truck, I used the Street Collection and, within it, the “Black Ecru” sub-set to get a really grungy look.

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.

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  1. Stephen Ellis September 9, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

    Shaun, what would cause you to pick Restyle for a specific image?

  2. shaunmoss September 10, 2013 at 1:30 am #

    Steve: Thanks for the comment.

    I would use ReStyle when I want to give an image a very graphic look that has a lot of punch. As you know, I photograph a lot of flowers and a lot of trucks. I’m aware that my flower and truck images have tended to look a bit samey lately and I’ve been struggling to break out of my usual processing recipe for those kinds of images and produce a look that is fresh and different.

    With the flower image, in particular, ReStyle enabled me to generate hundreds of alternative-looking images, then, using the search functions within the app, to drill down quickly on the ones which I thought worked for that image. I chose one that turned the green foliage to blue and made the orange and yellow in the flower pop. I played with the Hue, Saturation and Luminosity settings for the three primary colors in the base image (green, orange, yellow) to produce an original look. Here’s the base image, so you can compare:

    I’d say, if you’re bored with how you process a certain type of image and produce the same kind of look all the time, dipping into ReStyle will open up a wide range of possibilities for creating a fresh look.

  3. Darcy Wheeler September 10, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

    Excellent review! Might I share the attached image on one of our social media outlets? If you have the ‘before’ image that would be great as well.

    • shaunmoss September 10, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

      Darcy: Sure, please go ahead. I’m glad to see that you guys at Topaz Labs are reading my blog!

      I’ll send you the original, pre-ReStyle flower image separately. Look forward to seeing my image on your social media outlets.

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