I am a huge fan of Topaz Labs products and use the plug-ins more than the presets available in Photoshop Elements 10. But as we all know, increasing contrast and boosting impact in photos tends to create excessive noise, halos, blown out highlights and artifacts.
I use Topaz Denoise, which does a great job of reducing noise and allows to me to fine tune smaller areas as well. Still, as I work on a photo using other plug-ins and presets, the noise inevitably increases.
Noise is the bane of my life and it's something I loathe beyond reason. So when Clarity was released I purchased it and got to work on a photo of The Painted Lady butterfly. The presets gave some great options to play with but I was wary about noise increase as the contrast and colour increased.
Surprise, surprise when I zoomed in and compared the original to the edited version. Hardly any noise increase! Or course you do need to have a light hand with some of the sliders, as you would with any preset/plug-in, but impressive none the less. Naturally, I'm in love with the program.
I still have plenty to learn and Topaz Labs provides tutorials on all of their programs, never mind that you get free updates when you buy the plug-ins. Topaz Labs also made it possible for you to use a mask out areas for selective adjustments. The sliders in Topaz Clarity may seem a little daunting, but once you get the hang of it you have so much control over every aspect that you feel like the puppet master.
For more information: http://www.topazlabs.com/clarity/
I used Topaz Adjust followed by Clarity. The yellow cast has been removed, the green enhanced and now the butterfly stands out instead of blending into the background.
Before and After 100% crop (keep in mind the photo was saved at a lower resolution for Internet).
I didn't spend time on the photos, just gave a quick try of Clarity so the above photos can be improved even further.
Have a look at Topaz Labs facebook page where you can view some of the beautiful photos enhanced with Topaz Clarity.
Topaz also offers trial versions on all of their plug-ins as well as the stand alone program (if you can't afford programs like Photoshop Elements 10). Signing up to the newsletter keeps you up to date with the latest versions (available free to those who have already bought) and discounts.