Topaz Photo AI Quick Start Guide

Introduction to Topaz Photo AI

This article will guide you through your first experience with Topaz Photo AI, starting with why we created it.

Getting a clean, crisp, and high-resolution photo is really important, but the current process of increasing image quality is quite slow and error-prone. You start with a big bag of tools - different noise reduction methods, different sharpening for multiple kinds of blur, different upscaling apps for increasing resolution - and you’re required to know which tools to apply where. You end up spending a lot of time bouncing between software, tweaking sliders, and comparing results. After the whole process, you’re still usually not sure that you’re getting the best possible image quality.

To solve this, we built Topaz Photo AI to be an autopilot for image quality. It detects the unique problems in your image and intelligently applies the correct methods to maximize resolution, detail, and clarity. As with an actual autopilot, sometimes you’ll need to manually intervene for difficult images, but Topaz Photo AI aims to make that the exception rather than the rule. Our vision is for you to be able to drop in any image - good or bad - and receive the best possible version back. This way you spend more time on the creative side of post-processing rather than, say, fiddling with noise reduction sliders.

Two other resources to help you get started are the Frequently Asked Questions article and the System Requirements Article.

Start Here, Video Guide

Brian Matiash, a distinguished photographer and photography educator on the Topaz Labs team, walks us through Topaz Photo AI. If you prefer text instead of video, read on below to learn about Topaz Photo AI.


How to Use Topaz Photo AI

Open the application and browse for an image file or drop it directly into the application.

When an image is loaded, a preview will display with the user controls and autopilot will immediately begin analyzing your image quality for improvement. Once autopilot has finished scanning the image, it will automatically turn on the appropriate adjustments and strengths based on it's analysis.

The Autopilot

This is the image quality specialist that we built directly into Topaz Photo AI for you. The autopilot will intelligently pick the adjustments and strengths needed to optimize your image after analyzing it. Autopilot will analyze:

  • File type, to pick the best models that can process your RAW or non-RAW image data 
  • Metadata, including ISO and camera information 
  • The image subject and blur
  • Human faces and face quality
  • Noise severity and type
  • Image size and resolution

All this is taken into account for the autopilot to select the adjustments to apply. By default, autopilot will run on every image you import to the application. It will describe the issues it detected so you can review the autopilot's judgement.

Hovering over the blue text in the autopilot will show you the faces and subjects detected in the image.

If you like the results, you can save the image as is! You can also manually flip adjustments on and off or change the strengths. At any point, if you would like to go back to autopilot settings simply click the "Reset to Autopilot Settings" button to revert your manual changes.

Currently, the autopilot is not customizable


Image Quality Adjustments

There are five adjustments built into Topaz Photo AI. Remove Noise, Sharpen, Recover Faces, Enhance Resolution, and Upscale/Resize. Clicking the toggle next to each module will turn the adjustment on or off. Clicking on each module will open up options to change the AI model used for processing or control the strength of the adjustment.

The green dots indicate whether the autopilot recommended setting is selected with the recommended strength.

Remove Noise

This adjustment will process your image to remove noise while preserving details. Topaz Photo AI comes with three noise reduction models: RAW (only works on RAW images), Normal, and Strong. The RAW noise removal has the best results so we encourage you to work with RAW files.

When autopilot detects significant sensor noise or luminance noise in your image, it will automatically turn this adjustment on to process your image for clarity

Sharpen

This adjustment will process your images to remove blur and recover soft details. Topaz Photo AI comes with two sharpen models: Lens Blur and Motion Blur.

By default, autopilot will select the subject in your image (which you can check by hovering over the "Subject Only" text or the mini camera icon) and apply sharpening to only that subject.

You can sharpen the entire image by turning the "Subject Only" toggle off.

Recover Faces

This adjustment will improve the look of low quality faces so they are clear and recognizable again. Especially when paired with upscaling your image, this can produce stunning results. This adjustment is only available if faces are detected in your image.

Autopilot will detect the low quality faces in your image and apply this adjustment to those faces. High quality faces should not be used with this adjustment. You can hover over the "faces" text in Autopilot to see which faces are low quality and affected by Recover Faces.

Enhance Resolution

This adjustment will intelligently generate new pixels in the image to improve the overall image quality. When used on it's own, Enhance Resolution generates new pixels to clean up edges and improve details without changing pixel count. When Resize is used, this adjustment is required to produce the new high quality pixels in the image.  Topaz Photo AI comes with three enhance modules: Natural, Graphics, and Low Resolution.

By default, Autopilot will turn on the enhance resolution adjustment with Resize if your original image is below 12 megapixels to produce a higher quality image. This setting can be disabled in the Autopilot menu on the top of the screen by clicking "Allow Auto Upscaling"

Resize

This adjustment will allow you to change your image size to your needs. When upscaling, it intelligently generates new pixels to create a higher quality image. When downsizing, it will generate new pixels while working to maintain as much quality as possible. While this adjustment is used, Enhance Resolution must be turned on.

By default, Autopilot will turn on Resize if your original image is below 12 megapixels to produce a higher quality image.


Saving Your Images

Once you are happy with the result in the preview, you can click Save on the bottom right of the application screen to make any changes to the save settings.

Here you can see the files up for processing, make any changes to the file names so they are easier to organize, change the location the files are saved to, and change the file type.

By default, the Topaz Photo AI processed files are saved to the same folder that the original file is located in and with the same file type. For example, a TIFF file on your Desktop processed through Topaz Photo AI will produce a new TIFF file on your Desktop next to the original with an altered name.

Changing any of these settings will apply the changes to all images that are in the queue for processing.

Once you are happy with your save settings, click Save and Topaz Photo AI will process your images in order. After saving, click on the folder icon to open the file location and take a look at your improved image!


Plug-ins to Other Image Applications

Topaz Photo AI easily integrates with other image applications so you can access amazing image quality from your image editing or image catalog software. Each plugin is automatically installed if you already have the appropriate application on your computer.

Lightroom Classic

Lightroom Classic comes with two workflows, one that supports RAW editing to output a DNG and another that will create a TIFF or JPG copy of the original image.

The plug-in that supports RAW editing is accessible from the File > Plug-in Extras > Process in Topaz Photo AI menu and will send any image directly to Topaz Photo AI, then import the processed image back into Lightroom Classic. We highly recommend using this workflow with your RAW files for the best image quality results.

The non-RAW plugin is accessible from the Photo > Edit in > Topaz Photo AI menu. This will create a TIFF or JPG copy of any image and send it to Topaz Photo AI for processing, then import the processed image back into Lightroom Classic.

Photoshop & Photoshop Elements

Topaz Photo AI is installed automatically to your Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. The plug-in is accessible from the Filter > Topaz Labs > Topaz Photo AI menu. When used, it will send the pixel data straight to Topaz Photo AI for processing and return the processed pixels back to the application.

Capture One

Capture One comes with two workflows, one that supports RAW editing to output a DNG and another that will create a TIFF or JPG copy of the original image.

The plug-in that supports RAW editing is accessible from the Image > Edit with > Process in Topaz Photo AI menu and will send any image directly to Topaz Photo AI, then import the processed image back into Lightroom Classic. We highly recommend using this workflow with your RAW files for the best image quality results.

The non-RAW plugin is accessible from the same menu, so you can select Image > Edit with > Topaz Photo AI (the option without the "Process with" text). This will create a TIFF copy of any image and send it to Topaz Photo AI for processing, then import the processed image back into Capture One.

Other Applications

For applications which do not have a dedicated plugin already built, you can still use Topaz Photo AI with them! If your application has an Edit in or Open with menu, Topaz Photo AI will appear there so you can send the image directly to the application. You may need to reimport the image for it to return to your image editing application.

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