I have a few Topaz plugins that I use with Macro shots, and recently downloaded Topaz Detail 3 to try out. I had tried Detail 2 – but was not impressed enough to purchase. The improvements in version 3, will see me purchase this plugin too. It’s main use is to help sharpen detail in images, which I have found to be better and more refined than using Unsharp Mask. There are lots of starting presets to use, which you can then refine to your requirements using sliders in the plugin. Additionally the plugin has masking brushes in it, allowing you to apply the detail effect to just part of the image
Here is my workflow and usage on a Pearl-bordered Fritillary, which I think worked really well with Topaz Detail 3.
First the starting image – which though nice, lacks some punch in the details.
So opening up Topaz Detail, you can browse round the presets easier, if you open the grid view to pick one or two that look to work well.
Having chosen a preset, the next thing I do is zoom in at 100% on an area of the image I want to apply the detail enhacements to, so I can see what effect the preset has clearly.
You can then play with the sliders if required to finely tune the sharpening and (if applied toning) effect.
What is useful with an image where there is detail you want brought out, and areas such as the background in this image where you really don’t want detail enhanced, is to use the mask. In this example I painted the background out. You can either paint with the brush on the area you want to avoid having the effect applied, or on the area you do and then invert the mask in the plugin.
Finally here are two results of this – one just sharpening the image.
And the second sharpening and applying some colour boost and toning.
I would recommend anyone trying this plugin out for macro images. The plugin has a free 30 day trial and can be found on Topaz Labs website.