Topaz Detail

by Johan J Ingles-Le Nobel
Last updated August 31, 2017


Topaz Detail is a superb detail enhancing tool that's always one of the first tools I use on any extreme macro image. It brings out detail and sharpens by adjusting micro contrast in a manner that no other imaging tool seems to be capable of.

Topaz Detail

Topaz Detail, probably my favourite software for photography projects. Brings out the detail in shots like nothing else I know. Click on photo and judge for yourself.

What's nice about Topaz Detail is that you can remember the settings that you used and store it as one of your memory presets. So by preserving a range of settings you can make sure that you get exactly the effect that you want.

Colour Shifts

One of the things about Topaz Detail is that it has very fine detail adjustment gauges. But by altering micro detail, you'll often have some colour shifts as well, and they can be tricky to control. This is perhaps why Topaz detail also includes some colour control adjustment gauges that enables you to bring the colours back to where they were before adjustment.

Topaz Detail Workflow

I personally always tend to use Topaz Detail in a duplicate layer of the original, and build it up gradually by having every setting at 0 and starting from the top down, detail adjustment first. The tonal sliders are usually the settings that make the most difference by making the colours pop; for whatever reason I find them easier to use than photoshop controls.

superb detail enhancing tool that's always one of the first tools I use on any extreme macro image

I've never had much use for the de blur tab as it seems to create a lot of background crinklies. Once you've got some nice settings then it's always worth remembering to save the settings as you'll find that it saves you time in subsequent works.

Topaz Detail 3

Topaz Detail 3 introduced as a free upgrade in December 2012 which is a substantial improvement on Detail 2, with localised detail brushing now included. This makes it even more effective in the hairy areas of insects, which is always quite a challenging area of an extreme macro image to work on. It means you can mask in an area, fiddle with the effect over that area and adjust it on the fly in a non-destructive manner.

pretty much the perfect photoshop plugin for extreme macro

Topaz works as a photoshop plugin and comes up as a menu item under the Topaz Labs submenu in filters. The only complication I've had is that System Mechanic, software I use to tune up my PC, will remove the license, but there is a way in System Mechanic to prevent that by selecting certain drivers never to be deleted. Other than that, pretty much the perfect photoshop plugin for extreme macro.

Topaz Detail Downloads

Comments (6)

Article: Topaz Detail
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Harold Gough says...
I have now updated my Topaz plugins and the Detail-3 is much more versatile than Detail-2. Thanks for the nudge, Johan.
17th November 2013 11:02am
Harold Gough says...
Less than an hour ago, I downloaded Topaz Clarity. I deals brilliantly with those slightly OOF details which even Detail 3 just does not sharpen. I have already posted two images which just fell short of the detail I wanted prior to using Clarity. Topaz have a deal on this weekend.

As with Deatail 2 or 3, deal with noise before and after using Clarity.
29th November 2013 8:28am
Johan says...
Yes! I started using Topaz Clarity a few months ago myself and it's good, I used it on the moth photo in the gallery although I do personally get more out of Topaz Detail. A writeup of Topaz Clarity for macro is something I've got pencilled to add to the site!
29th November 2013 9:17am
Harold Gough says...
Having several Topaz plugins for PhotoShop, some recently updated, I would suggest that anyone installing new versions should consider retaining the original versions. This is because, at least in my limited experience, the updates are not just better versions of what you had in the first place but can be quite a different selection and you may find that a favourite or two is no longer available to use. Fortunately, I discovered this in time.
22nd December 2013 11:57am
Harold Gough says...
I use Detail-2 (must update) and, where diffraction is unavoidable (F16 or smaller set on lens at high magnifcation) I find MicroContrast Enhancement essential:

Before and after:

Very tiny subjects:
15th November 2013 8:22am
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