Nov 25, 2015

Topaz ReMask 5 Review

Introduction

Why Masking?  Digital masks enable you to create composites by merging a certain aspect of one photo with the background of another. Commonly used in advertising and marketing materials, masking allows you to place an optimised  model against another optimised background.

The aim is to ensure that any distracting or inappropriate backgrounds can be replaced with a more suitable one as part of a composite.

Coloured Flag against B & W backgroundMasking can be subtle and effective

Masking also comes in handy when you want to emphasise or downplay certain features of an image beyond the ability of dodging and burning tools or so-called healing brushes available in raw editors. It's also useful for refining high dynamic range images, offering much greater control to produce the finished effect.

Some users regard masking with disdain. It creates an artificial impression that undermines the goal of the camera recording what it sees faithfully. While they accept some post-processing to sharpen or improve the tonal range is tolerated, they draw the line at the changes that can result from masking to make a new image. Masking may be responsible for upgrading a dull-looking sky to strengthen a landscape image.   

It's still worth understanding how masking works if you are asked, for example, to provide a revised photo version of a deceased person for a funeral ceremony. Sometimes the best photo of a loved one may have him or her, as part of a group photo or an inconvenient background. At these times, consider a masking solution. Furthermore it's easier than ever.

Goodbye Photoshop

In the past, the underlying software technology for enabling masking required separate layers, available mainly as a plug-in for products like Photoshop.

Topaz ReMask offers an interface and workflow to  help trace and extrude an image from its background. Its "TriMap" technology deploys colour coding for its visual digital scissors. Red means discard. Green means you want to keep that element of your image. Blue offers a "compute" to assist where the border between discard and keep will occur.

This approach offers an intuitive way for novices and enthusiasts to build professional-looking masks in a short time. While easy to grasp, the TriMap or (three-color) system still requires experience to master.

Topaz Remask's Tri-map colour technologyThe Topaz Remask's tri-color system at a glance

The latest version of Topaz ReMask v 5.0.1 works both as a standalone editor and plugin. This means a compatible host editor such as Photoshop is not required to use Topaz ReMask. But you may access it as a plugin in a few compatible host editors.

It is 64-bit and can be run under Mac OS X 10.8 or higher Windows 7/8 x64 + Open GL 2.1. But it does not support Windows 32-bit any more

ReMask can be accessed as a plugin in:

  • Photoshop CS4+
  • Photoshop Creative Cloud
  • Photoshop Elements 6+
  • Corel Paintshop Pro X
  • Serif Photo Plus X5+; and
  • Lightroom as an external editor

It is also not compatible with photoFXlab or Fusion Express.

Free Trial

ReMask is available as a download for $69.99 (USD). A fully functional version is also available as a free trial provided you are willing to supply your email address in return.


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