Topaz Labs has released Topaz Studio 2. In this article, I will review Topaz Studio 2. Before getting into the review, I have got good news and bad news. So, which one do you want first? I will break the good news first. Good news is that if you already own Studio adjustments worth $100 or more, then you will get Topaz Studio 2 for free.

As you all know, the old version of Topaz Studio is completely free. So, the bad news is that the new version is no longer free. It comes at $99. It is available for $79 for a limited time. You are eligible for a free upgrade only if you have purchased Pro Adjustments earlier.

You can check your free Topaz Studio 2 upgrade eligibility here

The old studio 1 format (.tsp) will not be compatible with the 2nd version. Initially, Studio 1 presets are not going to be compatible with the 2nd version. But, Topaz labs plans to launch a utility to make it compatible with the Studio 2 version.

I will do an in-depth review of Topaz Labs Studio 2.

 Computer Specifications for Topaz Studio 2 Review

Topaz Studio 2 is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS.

Mid 2013 13" MacBook Air Configuration

I will use my 13” MacBook Air and iMac to review Topaz Studio 2 photo editing software. 

Topaz Labs Customer Support

But, unfortunately, I couldn’t install Topaz Studio 2 on my iMac. When I contacted the customer support, I got a reply that Studio 2 is not compatible with Mac OS X El Captain.

How to use Topaz Studio 2?

Topaz Studio 2 Review

1. I will open Topaz Studio 2 on my MacBook Air.

2. Now, I will import my image for editing. You can either Drag and drop the image or use the Open icon on the top. Topaz Studio 2 doesn’t have a library feature. So, you will not get the option to browse multiple pictures in it. So, it is a quick edit tool. You will not get the option to rate and organize your images. I tried importing JPEG, RAW, and TIFF image formats. TIFF and JPG format works fine.

Basic Adjustment Filter

3. Now, We have imported the image. So, let us make the necessary adjustment by selecting the “Basic Adjustment” option from the Filters menu. In this Filter, you can make the exposure and colour temperature adjustments. Separate sliders are provided for Shadows, Highlights, Whites and Darks, just like any other photo editing tool. The only thing which I found missing is the Crop feature. It is a must-have option for any photo editing software.

Tone Curve in Studio 2

4. I will add the Curves filter to add some basic image contrast.

AI Clear Filter

5. I need to remove the noise in the image. So, I will add the Filter “AI Clear”. I recommend zooming in the image to 100% when you are doing the noise removal. They have provided four options to remove noise: Auto, Low, Medium, and High. For my Tiger image, Medium works well since the picture was taken the early morning at high ISO. I have applied the “enhance Sharpness” option as “High”. The denoising has resulted in some details removal. So, I will pull up the “Recover Details” slider to 0.20 from the default value of 0.10.

Dehaze Adjustment Sliders

6. This Tiger was photographed during early morning Hazy condition. So, I need to Dehaze the image. I will add the Dehaze filter and play with the Strength and “Suppress Artifacts” slider to get a good result.

Image Sharpening in Topaz Studio 2

7. Now, I will Sharpen the image using the “Sharpen” filter module. I always recommend doing the image sharpening after denoising. So, you have two types of sharpening option in this filter, one is the Unsharp Mask, and the other one is Lens Deblur. You can vary the strength, Radius, and Threshold in Unsharp Mask. Lens Deblur allows you to change the strength and Threshold.

 

Topaz Studio 2 Details Adjustment

8. I will add more details to the image by using the “Detail” filter. There are different slider options to fine control the details at various levels. You can either go for the “Overall” control or vary the details in “Shadows” and “Highlight separately”. So, let me fine-tune these detail settings for this image. It also comes with a Lighting option for exposure adjustment. You can use it to fix any lighting issues due to detail adjustments.

Precision Contrast filter

Precision Contrast filter

9. I will fine-tune the image contrast using the “Precision Contrast” filter. There are Micro, Low, Medium, and High contrast sliders for fine-tuning. This filter module also contains the Lighting Adjustments. It also has a colour section to set the Saturation, Vibrance, and Color contrast.

Topaz Studio 2 Export Settings

10. If you are interested in colour grading, use the HSL colour tuning option. Now, I have completed the necessary image edits. So, I will export the final image using the “Export” options in the File menu. You can set the file format, export location, quality and colour profile in the export option.

11. If you want to resize your image before exporting, then you need to choose “Resize” option from the “Edit” menu. Tick the “Aspect ratio box” or else the image will look bad if you have set the wrong width and height. Enter either the Width or Height column to set the final image resolution before exporting.

Topaz Studio 2 Before After Image

Topaz Studio 2 Before After Image
12.So, let us have a look at the Topaz Studio 2 Before After image.

Radiate Look in Topaz Studio 2

Radiate Look

Soft Look in Topaz Studio 2

Soft Look

Dream Looks

Dream Looks

Wood Carving Look

Wood Carving Look

13. I will add a few Looks to the final edited image.

Things I Liked

1. Looks Feature: Looks feature allows to apply different filter effects to the image.

2. Filter Options: Studio 2 comes with lots of photo editing modules called “Filters”, which are customizable with the Workflow.

3. Non-destructive Layers Editing Feature: The ability to work in layers makes it very useful.

Things to Improve 

I feel that certain things are missing from the Topaz Studio 2. If they can bring these features, then it would make it one of the best photo editing software.

1. Image Crop: Currently, there is no option to crop the image. It is one essential feature which all users want.

2. Straighten: They could have added the image straighten option, which is required for proper image alignment.

3. Histogram: Many photographers use Histogram in their workflow. It gives feedback on what tone of the image needs a fix.

4. The option of Adding Multiple Images: It would be good to see an option to drag and drop multiple photos at a time. It allows the user to work edit and save one by one when he has various images to edit.

5. Improve Preview Time: When I apply different looks to the pictures then it takes some time to show it in the preview image.

6. Backward Compatibility: Older version files are not compatible with Studio 2. 

Topaz Studio 2 Vs Studio 1

If we compare the new version with the older version 1 software, there are lots of changes.

1. Multiple Image Support

Topaz Studio 1 allows importing multiple images at a time to the window. But, this feature is missing in the Studio 2 software. It is very useful when working with multiple images.

2. Filter Options 

In topaz Studio 1 version, only basic 10 filters(called as Adjustments) are available for free. You need to buy the rest of the adjustments separately. But, In Studio 2, you are getting all the filters. So, you don’t have to buy any filters separately.

3. Crop and Heal Feature

Studio 1 has Crop and Heal option. But these features are missing in Studio 2. 

Topaz Studio 2 Roadmap

Topaz Studio 2 Roadmap

In the Topaz Studio 2 Roadmap, shared in the Topaz community, they are planning to add the following additional features. I hope they implement it soon.

Conclusion

So, after doing the Topaz Studio 2 review, I feel that it looks good as a creative photo editor to add special effects to your images. So, if you are interested in creating artistic images from your captured images, Topaz Studio 2 is a right choice. Features like Precise Detail control, Precise contrast, Detail Enhancer and AI Clear filters makes it a powerful photo editing software.

If interested, you can download the 30-day free trial version of Topaz Studio 2 and give a try.