Last year I talking about Topaz Sharpen AI. I liked the program, and it worked well for sharpening images. However, it didn’t have the ‘wow’ factor that Topaz DeNoise AI had. I have never seen better results reducing noise as Topaz DeNoise produces. Getting DeNoise was an obvious choice.
Topaz has updated Sharpen AI since I last discussed it, and it has new features you will like. You can now batch process many images at once, which is very handy. The new version also lets you mask areas of the image to selectively apply sharpening (sound familiar…similar to LrC and PS). And now you can view all three different sharpening actions in a split screen view. Topaz Sharpen AI offers Sharpen, Stabilize and Focus sharpening actions. Each one addresses an issue that causes your image to look soft or even blurry. But the process most photographers will use daily is the basic Sharpen function.
One thing that is nice about these AI plugins is they analyze the image and apply an effect that the program thinks is the right amount. No second guessing slider movements and wondering how things come out. Just open the image in Sharpen AI and the program does the work and applies sharpening. How well does it work? I found the updated version did a better job than the original. Images looked sharp, but not over sharpened. Slider control allows you to add more or less sharpening. For photographers wondering how to get good results sharpening (over sharpening produces nasty halos) this plugin is will do the job nicely. For photographers who work daily in LrC or PS you might be happy with your own sharpening workflow in Adobe.
I use Topaz Sharpen AI for problem images. I’ll do my normal sharpening in Photoshop, and if I don’t have the acuity I expect, then I will run the image through Topaz Sharpen AI. And sometimes this fixes the issue, and other times it is just bad camera technique on my part. Remember, sharpness starts with good technique in the field. All you are doing in RAW workflow is bringing out the sharpness that was already captured. If you shoot JPEG, then sharpening will be applied in-camera. But in the end, a blurry photo always goes into the trash. Anything that helps improve sharpness is a good thing for photographers!