Hi all. It’s been a while since Topaz’s “all in one” Image Quality app came out. Since I primarily use Topaz for noise reduction, I thought I’d do a comparison to see if Topaz’s older app for noise reduction holds up to the newer version (called Topaz Photo AI).
I also mentioned a sale they’re having on Photo AI. If you’re interested please click this link.
Click here to find out more about my Topaz Deep Dive mini course.
I’m not seeing a link to you Topaz Deep Dive. It just shows “click here for ….”
Hi check the COURSES menu
Thanks for the video. As you mentioned in the video, you don’t like the raw workflow of photo AI. How can you batch process many raw images from LR without using the photo AI raw workflow/processing?
I would prefer to ‘receive’ tiff files back to LR instead of the DNG files.
Matt, I have a problem if Topaz Labs stops updating the individual tools. I bought Photo AI and it will not install on my PC. It’s an old one, I built it in 2010, just one year before Intel included the AVX instructions in their CPUs. When I try to install Photo AI, it says that it can’t install without support for the AVX instructions.
I’ve upgraded my PC steadily over the last thirteen years and it runs acceptably fast. When I queried Topaz if there was a work around, I got a deafening silence.
If Topaz stops supporting Denoise AI, Sharpen AI and Gigapixel AI, as they did Topaz Impressions 2 years ago, then they are not a reputable company.
I am sorry, this is the first video of yours that I do not understand. Who is “Photo AI”? … Is this a different separate Topaz product? or is this a different company entirely? If it is a different company, what is their track record of providing bug fixes, and updates?
I bought Topaz Denoise just 2 months ago and really liked its results.
Today I updated LR and edited the same pictures with its new denoise function and I have to say LR is better, there might be a little more noise left, but it looks a lot better, very smooth, more natural looking and more details left.
So now I’m thinking I wasted 80 Dollars on Topaz – I had no clue that Adobe was working on this …
It will be interesting to see how the new AI Denoise option in Lightroom compares to the Topaz AI denoising.
fixed, my issue
What am I missing Matt…. you don’t mess with soft images? Some of mine that I have worked appear, at least to me, completely acceptable. As you have said “if it’s good enough for me, it’s good enough” Wondering why you don’t do soft. Thanks for video and info.
Hi Kent. For me, I can spot a soft image that was “saved” a mile away. It never looks right (to me). Everyone is different and I would hope that if it’s good enough for you then you go with it. To me, they look fake and just weird 99% of the time so it’s not something I care for in my photos. Thanks!
I’ll look at my stuff closer and try to see what I may be missing. Definitely don’t want to be processing something that looks fake.
I didn’t realize the individual modules did not work exactly the same as Photo AI. (I had heard they were not updating the individual modules.) Nice to see a comparison! Thanks for the video.
Sorry, I can’t use your links to buy as I already did. I agree with you on AI and have found another area where it makes an enormous difference is in recovering old photos. I have been scanning old slides and negatives and AI is incredibly effective at helping recover otherwise lost images.
What are the pros and cons to converting to .dng when importing into LightRoom Classic. One pro for me is I can push the changes down to a DNG and then move the raw or open in some other app with the lightroom changes
Have you tried DxO Pure Raw 3? Some people are claiming DxO Pure Raw 3 is the standard in ‘denoise’ field??
Hi. Also some people claim Topaz is better – all in the eye of the user right? I would say a claim that you find online is worth what you pay for it. Try the software and compare free trials if you’d like. I have used DxO, and for me, the fact that you have to create a duplicate DNG file is a deal breaker. I’ve compared the two and I don’t see a difference that’s worth it. Plus I have a workflow, that works wonderfully for my photos – Why spend time changing it? 🙂
Thank you so much Matt. You always keep me on the leading edge.
I have found that I use Photo AI almost exclusively now, but once in a while will use just sharpening or just noise reduction. Good to know that all new development will be contained in Photo AI. I like the ability to adjust the settings!
I have also pretty much switched to using Photo AI
Nice comparisons, Matt. My experience is similar and I’ve largely moved to Photo AI while I still own the rest of the Topaz Suite.
Like you, I usually start in Lightroom Classic and only go to Photo AI as needed. With some images – particularly problem images or images with some artifacts, I do start over and use a RAW file starting in Topaz Photo AI.
Have you every thought about rather than a quick edit with standard settings to a more custom approach where you optimize settings with each to your preferred result? I use a quick comparison, but find that when I do my best with customizing an edit the results are better than defaults – sometimes significantly better.
I thought we could only open TIFs, DNG, etc. but not camera raw files.
Also, does AI only do noise? Does it do formal (not an adj to noise) sharpening?
The level noise and degree of softness in these images is so low I would have never thought to use more than Lightroom for these. It would have been more useful to have chosen images with more noise in my opinion. I use the programs more for problematic images where the sensor is stressed more than would have been in your examples.
I would never try to save a soft photo as I said. As for noise, There were some 10,000+ ISO images in there. I deliberately picked very noisy photos. If you have any more noise than that, then good luck. Software is great… but it can’t do miracles if the detail just isn’t there.
If they would fix Photo Ai so you could pick your own setting for the enhancement like lightroom and have use 2 like photo Ai. The photo Ai is a great tool. I like the face part. I still Noise Ai for most noise.
Thanks Matt for all this – I agree on most of your points, however I have never been able to get Photo AI to enlarge, I get a message saying it doesnt work in Photoshop plus, which I am not using anyway – what I do wrong sir?
As always, many thanks for all your videos, not just for the training but I love to look at your work and it does inspire me to up my game!
Hi. I would contact Topaz if it’s not working.
very interesting comparison. I came to the same conclusion : today I don’t use anymore Sharpen AI, Denoise AI or Gigapixel AI, I do everything inside Photo AI, it’s faster, more convenient and generally as good as the single Topaz tools, or sometimes better. One exception : when I need only to remove noise, I usually use DXO Photolab, which is even better, from my point of view, when the issue is only related to noise reduction
There is a marvelous bonus inside Photo AI you should have mentioned : the Recover faces feature, which is quite magical.
Do you ever go back to Sharpen after you do AI or does AI make it sharp enough? I found that sometimes i need it a bit sharper
Hi. For me Not really. As I said in the video, for me, a sharp photo will always look sharp. If it wasn’t sharp to begin with I’m probably not editing it.
Matt, the latest update to Photo AI (1.3.0) removed the ability to choose which sharpening I wanted: standard, lens blur, or motion blur. As a result, I think the update to this feature was a mistake. There are several feedback comments on this. What is your opinion?
Matt, you tested upsizing with your last example but do not mention to what size.
I’m not “normal people” in that I do not just post images online. Have you done any testing with prints and DeNoise vs Topaz AI? Especially large prints? Buy large I mean 20×30 and larger.
I don’t recall how large it was. Most people don’t need that size image so I’d say download and give the free trial a go and see if it works for you. Don’t take anyone’s word for it – nothing can replace your experience to see if it meets your needs. Thanks!
As always, Matt, great videos… very helpful and informative! Currently I’m using each and every Topaz application as I find every image has it’s own requirements and although the nuances are subtle, they do make a difference. Previously, DeNoise has lead with the most successful results for most of my images; However, Photo AI is quickly becoming my favorite. One thing I noticed about the individual apps is that even when either sharpening or noise reduction is not enabled or dialed all the way to “0” on the slider, that some effect is still being applied, which can be problematic at times. As you pointed out in your presentation, some noise texture and/or lack of sharpening is desirable. Another minor issue that I’ve encountered with DeNoise on some images that display a predominance of neutral grey tones is a slight blue contamination evident in the smaller highlight details (you can see a bit of that going on in your juvenile eagle photo). Photo AI has definitely improved since it’s introduction, so I find myself starting there first and then bouncing to the others if the results are a bit less than optimal.
Thanks for the info. Not that you need my agreement… I have used Photo AI and generated a DNG file and used at the end of my processing via “Edit”. I find that the DNG file often generates very different colors than my original RAW file. Particularly with sunrise colors, they are hideous. Editing via the “Edit function in Lightroom provides for a true color match.
As usual, very professional. direct to the point and very good presentation
I‘ve seen a blog post about a new Lightroom version with AI based denoise. The summary was that Lightroom was close or better than Topaz Denoise. The post was deleted right after publishing (read the post in the Google cache) because the mentioned Lightroom version was higher as the current available. I guess I will wait for this.
notice recently, there are obvious ghost line one some area of the image. what’s your comments, and is there way to tweak the parameter to lessen it, or get rid of the ghost line in PS?
Enjoyed the discussion and there are several points to expand upon. As you observed, Topaz is focusing its efforts, as are most software engineers on moving into the “AI” realm with the separate modules/plugins relegated to legacy software status. The most vexing aspect of Topaz AI is understanding the AI decision making, i.e. when and what it applies. I’ve intentionally, tried running a series of images and it seemingly defaults to applying “enhancing resolution” to many (if not most) non-RAW images (even large .jpgs). Absent that it defaults to applying “remove noise” using the “normal” every time even in cases where there is extreme, high ISO noise. Also, it does a poor job detecting and accounting for motion blur which is buried inside the “sharpen” model. I have not witnessed the program automatically applying motion blur and have instead invoked it manually. To your point, blurred, OOF images (unless intentionally created for artistic purposes) are usually considered failures, though on occasion, I have rescued the “it” image which has some minor motion blur and has benefited from a slight tweek.
Ditto. You can see the weird effects in the Kingfisher photo – in the white area below the belly band
The kingfisher photo looks spectacular when viewed at normal human distance. No photo will ever look good when zoomed that far in but that photo is about perfect and exactly an example of how the software helps.
I am following your worflow techniques and it works fine.
However, what i don’t understand is why Adobe engineer take such a long time to reach the level of Topaz, DXO, ON1 denoising. same remark for the content aware earser, still a toy.
Adobe has lot of money to invest in AI studies. masks are amazing but it took so much time to come while other vendors already had it.
LRC denoising is quite prehistoric based on 1980 algorithms while at that time, Scott kelby already advised to use imagenomic noisegrain which was amazing. Nik Dfine was already there too with local denoising with Upoints.
About pureraw, I tested and it works nicely but I don’t like raw files going to a plugin and come back as a “black box”. Photolab 6.4 is really powerful for geometry (viewpoint), clearview, denoise,… with same core than pureraw but with lot of tools, filters and upoints for quick local adjustments (like viveza). But I try not to jump in all directions and stay tuned to LRC, using other softwares (NEO,…) just for final artistic effects.
haha, Adobe just did it 🙂
Topaz AI also has a remarkable recover faces procedure. You can take pixelated blurry faces and turn them into usable images.
Whenever Topaz releases an update to Photo AI, I immediately download and try it out. I use it exclusively on a few images (dozen or so) and then come across one on which it fails spectacularly: weird out of focus artifacts, sharpening almost sharp background details in blotchy patches, grossly over sharpened subject details, etc. that make the image absolutely unusable. Moving sliders around doesn’t fix it. Opening the same image in the standalone app never exhibits the issue (Sharpen or Denoise). By the way, I don’t review images at more than 100%, so the things you’re showing at 300%, 400%… I would never see.
I’ll keep trying Photo AI after every update. But until I can consistently use it without these bizarre effects, I’ll stick with the standalone apps.
Appreciated the discussion – Are you implying that when time to renew my denoise and sharpen AI’s I do not renew them and purchase AUTO AI instead?
I have both DeNoise and AI. I also have Sharpen but never been overly happy with that. DeNoise has always been my go to and most of the time it still is. Maybe I need to do a lot more practice with AI. The images I am getting back show horrible sharpening artefacts plus too much blurring of some details. I use micro four third gear which means more noise and as a result loss of detail. And I admit I am sometimes working with a less than perfect image. But in the promo for the software they show fantastic detailed recovery from really bad images and I am not seeing those marvellous results from my processing in AI. I guess I will have to keep trying different things as Topaz has become an essential part of my workflow.
I did ask Topaz about the future of the Photo upgrade plan, due to having a number of Topaz products. No answers yet. I have seen update upon update for Topaz Photo AI. It seems that this very well may be the future?
Just wanna say, thank you for your share and insights (not specific for this topic, but for all the years)
I believe Topaz recommends processing Raw images in the DeNoise and/or Sharpening and not in Photo AI. At least that’s the message I got last week when I started to process in Photo AI.
Can one just use the denoise only in AI, and not the other two?
I’ve been using the Topaz suite for several years and have loved it. I resisted taking a look and Photo AI when it was first introduced as it seemed too much like a Swiss Army knife and the early reviews weren’t that great. Based on your review here I decided to give it a try. I had some photos that I happened to have processed in Denoise and Gigapixel, so I tried running them through AI. I have to say that the results were very disappointing. The versions from AI were not nearly as good. I’ll continue to experiment with it more since I just took the automatic settings, but I’m feeling like my old standbys are still the best way to go (for me anyway).
As a software developer, I would be VERY surprised if the 2 apps used different de-noise engines. I would posit that the differences in your pics are the caused by the differences in the parameters set in each app.
Is there an upgrade for DeNoise or do you have to buy all of it?? I need batch processing for DeNoise..
I have Sharpening but my computer refused to run it………
Hi. I would contact Topaz for pricing questions on their software.
DeNoise, as it stands, is good enough for my use. Also, to upgrade to PhotoAI, I would first have to purchase GigaPixel which I do not need.
I find Matt that I am finding Photo AI is getting better abd better with each upgrade. However, I still find that by using the three separate programs, Denoise, Sharpen and Gigapixel I am able for really critical work, to refine things to a greater degree than with Photo AI.
I would imagine that as time goes by the disparity in results will become less and less.
I’ve been using all the individual apps since their inception, and Photo-AI as soon as it was available. I would agree that in just the last month or two, the constant updates to Photo AI have improved it to the point of replacing all three separate apps for most situations. The Low Light mode of DnAI is still useful for some astro work. On the sharpening side that you don’t use, PhotoAI still needs to add a simple masking brush as an option to the clunky AI brush. Of course the advantage of using all of these on PS layers is you can mask in different strengths of each of you’re really picky! Or brush back any over-sharpened edges before heading back to LR.
HI Matt, Question, when I download my pix to LR, they turn into dng files. Isn’t Denoise AI for RAW images? If so, how do I address that when downloading my pix to LR? Thanks!! LB
Hi Lynn. I don’t ever believe DNG is the way to go and advise against it. However, to your question… Dng is considered a raw file.
Why don’t you like dng?
Thanks for all you show us.
I believe it’s trying to solve a problem that will never exist and is something that just confuses things rather than helps them.
Thanks for the comparison review, Matt. I purchased Photo AI when it first came out and it was an absolute disaster. It just couldn’t manage to render my nef files without huge artifacts, no matter if I sent he raw file directly or sent the edited photo from Lightroom. Photo AI was clearly not ready for prime time, and I was forced to use the individual apps. However, there has been quite a number of updates to Photo AI since then, and it appears that Photo AI is now more than ready for prime time. In fact I was doing some comparisons last week and came to the same conclusion as you, and I also appreciate the convenience of being able to accomplish all that the individual apps did, but now in a single app. Also, I completely agree with you about not sending the raw file directly into the app. I prefer to get my Lightroom edits done first, and then send the edited file to Photo AI with a return trip to Lightroom. Topaz is really good about continuing to improve their products by pushing updates, and I agree that most of their development resources will be spent on the Photo AI app rather than the individual apps. Thanks again.
Thanks Matt! I used your link and got it!!!
I have conducted some comparisons, and I have found that, on some images, Photo AI denoise tends to obliterate very fine detail and textures, even at the lowest setting. On the same image, Topaz DeNoise AI manages to retain the fine detail.
There are other images where Photo AI does a great job, at least as good as the Topaz DeNoise AI + Topaz Sharpen AI combo.
Always informative, great examples and well presented. Thnaks!
Topaz seems to reinvent its plugins every few years. Is this real benefit to users or a money grab?
People like new. Nobody wants to buy 5 year old software when all of their competitors come out with something new. As the saying goes… hate the game, not the player 🙂
FYI. I have digital scans of old positives that have high levels of noise. Some of these have monochromatic backgrounds. In these instances, I have found that PhotoAI leaves artefacts on the background. In these instances, I have gotten better results using the denoise very noisy options than anything I was able to obtain in Photo AI. In general, I also have obtained good results in Photo AI.
Your photographs are outstanding, as usual. I’m looking forward to your bird photography course in May.
I hate the way Topaz Denoise and Photo AI have to render after each adjustment of the sliders, I find the recommended Auto settings can be a bit strong and always need reducing.
Can’t wait! We had a GREAT April outing so let’s hope for the same!
I started using Topaz on your recommendation and it has been great.
I have since moved to Fuji from Canon and I needed a better program to process my raw files. Lightroom doesn’t give me as punch/color rendition as DxO does.
DxO Pure Raw 3 does a great job with my raw files and I get great denoising and sharpening as well.
My workflow is now process in Pure Raw first and import the resulting DNG into Lightroom.
It is slow so I will preview all my files in Pure Raw and select only those I want to be processed.
That’s exactly why I won’t use DxO. It requires you to use it first which is a huge workflow interruption and an immediate deal breaker for my workflow as a LR user. The last thing I want is to have to look at my photos in yet another app before I even import. But I’m glad it works for you.
DxO Pure Raw fits pretty well with using Lightroom Classic. I import my images into LrC. I select the raw files I want Pure Raw to act on and invoke the Pure Raw plugin. That retrieves the raw files, does its processing, and returns the DNGs to LrC. It even reapplies any edits I’d done previously in LrC. I’m a Fuji user too, and the plugin makes a big different on some images. My only quibble is that DxO won’t send the DNG back to the source folder but insists on making a subfolder in that source folder for DxO results. It also adds the images to a DxO collection, so it’s never hard to find the DNGs.