Topaz Mask AI Review- Does It Make Masking Easy?
Topaz Mask AI, another product from Topaz Labs in their AI series. I have tried all the other AI products, which include Gigapixel AI, Denoise AI, Adjust AI, Sharpen AI, and JPEG to RAW AI software. The performance of each product is really good 😊. In this article, I will do the Topaz Mask AI review in detail. So, let us see whether the Topaz Mask AI keeps the promise or not?
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🖥 Topaz Mask AI Review and Workflow
Mask AI is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS. You can use it as a stand-alone application as well as a plugin for Adobe Photoshop or Topaz Studio 2.
I will review Topaz Mask AI on my MacBook Air with the following specifications.
It takes around 2.2 GB of hard drive space for installation. So, make sure to keep sufficient free space in your computer hard drive.
2. Open Mask AI
Let me open the Mask AI. You can either drag and drop an image into it or use the “Open Image” option from the “File” dropdown menu.
I will use one of my pictures of Fire-tailed Myzornis bird photographed from Mishmi Hills, Arunachal Pradesh, India.
3. Mask Module Introduction
On the right side edit panel, you can see the “Mask” module. It will have the “Auto” option below.
You can see two options, “Brush” and “Fill” for masking. Each of these tools will have three colored icons in Blue, Green, and Red.
By Default, the Red Mask will be there on top of the image. It is the Cut mask.
Blue color mask is to mark the intersection of the actual subject and its boundary, which will be overlapping.
The Green colored Brush and Fill option is to mark the interior of the subject to be masked.
4. Auto Mask Selection
Right-click on it to select the “Detect Objects” option to automatically detect the subject and mask accordingly.
It does a good job of choosing the main subject.
5. Masking Process-Continued
But, here, I also have the trunk along with the bird subject to mask. So, I need to do the Compute, Keep and Cut on the other areas to finalize the mask selection.
So, first, I will use the Green brush to mask the subject interior. It doesn’t have to be accurate. If the area is more, then you can do an outline with a Green brush and use the Green Fill brush to fill Green inside.
Now, I will do the subject to background intersection masking using the Blue Colour brush. Make sure that there is no Red between the Green and Blue.
A precise marking is not needed here. You can roughly mark it with a bigger brush so that the Blue color overlaps both the subject and the boundary.
You can increase or decrease the brush size by pressing the “[“and “]” respectively. Otherwise, use the “Brush Size” slider on the right side to do the same.
6. Mask Generation
Once you complete the Masking process, use “AI” or “Contrast” mask modes and click “Compute Mask” to generate the Mask. I found the AI option to do a better job.
The software will not allow you to Compute the mask unless you fill all the three color masks: Red, Green, and Blue on the image.
You can either select the “Auto-update Mask” option to see the change previews. Otherwise, untick this option and click on “Update Mask” every time you want to see the change. The Auto-update process will take some time to process and preview the change. So, if you have multiple changes, then I recommend you going for the second option.
7. Multiple Mask Previews
Once you “Update Mask”, you can see split preview windows on the main window.
The left side image will preview the colored mask, and the right-side one will show the actual mask effect on the picture after the cut with a transparent background.
You can also see the “Show Trimap” option visible at the top. You can uncheck it to see the original image on the left side image without the color masks.
Next to this option, you can see two square icons with the apple icon. Click on this to select different views for each image on the left and right sides.
Different views include Original, Mask, Keep, and Cut. You can also see the four views at a time by selecting the quad window split on the top toolbar.
8. Edge Refining
Now, we need to fine-tune the Mask selection. So, click on the “Edge” tab option.
You can see four sliders here, “Edge Softness”, “Edge Shift”, “Foreground Recovery”, and “Defringe.”
Play with Edge Softness and Edge Shift Sliders to refine the edge selection. Make use of the Foreground recovery slider for altering the details in the edges. Use the Defringe slider to remove any color fringes at the edges.
9. Background Selection
You have four options for Background selection.
You can either go for the transparent background look, which is suitable for icons and design objects, Blur background option, colored background, and adding another image in the background.
9.1. Transparent Background Option
Use it if you want to remove the entire background and only need a transparent background. Select the “None” option for this.
9.2. Blur Option
If you want to increase the Depth of field effect, to give a Shallow Depth of Field to the image, then go for the “Blur” option.
Control its strength to get a nicely blurred background in the picture. Don’t use it too much. It will make the photo look unnatural.
9.3. Color Option
Use the “Color” option to give a background color. You can use it to provide any color in the background.
I actually found this option useful in the Mask refining process. Simply put a color in the background, and you will see any imperfections at the edges easily. Bright shades of Red, Green, and Pink works well for this.
9.4. Background Option
My real intention is to add a background image for review, which is the last option on the menu. Click on the “Upload Image” button to browse and add the image.
Once done, you can see the “Adjust” option to fine-tune the Foreground and Background Exposure and Color settings in the form of different sliders. Use it for proper blending of Background and Foreground.
Click the “Transform” button, if you want to resize the Background to match with the foreground image size. You can see a rectangular box around your image. Resize it to adjust the background image. I need to resize it here as the dimensions are different.
It also gives you the option to flip the image vertically or horizontally.
10. Save Final Image
Click the “Save” button on the bottom to save the final image.
Topaz Mask AI allows you to save the picture in four types: Transparent, Composite, Mask Only, and Trimap.
You can select composite if you need only the actual final image with the changed background.
You can save the file in PNG, JPG, JPEG, TIFF, or TIFF format. The software allows you to set the Compression ratio and Color profile.
Click the save button to export the final image.
You can see the four types of images generated by Topaz Mask AI below.
😍 What I Liked
👉🏻 1. It is easy to generate a transparent background image using Topaz Mask AI software.
👉🏻 2. The Auto Detect feature helps to get a quick start for the image mask.
👉🏻 3.Easy to Use. The software doesn’t give too many options to control, which makes it user-friendly.
👉🏻 4. I loved the Background Blur feature, which helps to give an addition blur. Thus, one can replicate the Shallow Depth of field effect. It is realistic, just like the lens effect.
👉🏻 5. It makes the masking job really easy with the AI. Thus, it helps to save a good amount of editing time.
👉🏻 6. Useful too to replace a white-washed sky in the image.
☹️ What I Didn’t Like
👉🏻 1. If you keep the “Auto-update Mask” checkbox ticked, then whenever you make any edit in the mask, it takes some time to preview the change on the image. So, we need to turn it off for an efficient workflow.
👉🏻 2. The Auto detect fail to detect multiple objects of interest. For example the trunk in the above image.
👉🏻 2. Topaz Mask AI costs $99.99. So, a bit costly, only professional photographers and designers can afford it.
Topaz Mask AI Before After Images
I have played with lots of images while doing the Topaz Mask AI review with a pre-release version. So, I will share some of the Before and After Images.
So, what are you waiting for, download the free version of Topaz Mask AI and give a try.
You can get Topaz Mask AI for a limited time discounted price of $69.99 here 😎.