Friday, January 27, 2012

REVIEW: Topaz Star Effects–Going beyond Photoshop Flare

Star Effects is a new product by Topaz Labs that is kinda fun because it allows you to do some interesting things with flare and stars to spice up your photos. Here’s a couple cool before and after examples that Topaz has provided me with:

Here’s the user-interface for this product so you can get an idea of how it works:

It’s your typical Topaz UI framework with presets on the left and all the knobs for fine tuning on the right. Like most Topaz products you begin by selecting a preset (not required) and then you dial in your settings from each of the four categories shown below::

Options include various star types and the ability to add and remove them as shown here:

Click for a larger view

This of course opens the door to all sorts of possibilities, but this is one I couldn’t resist doing:

Yeah, that’s the ticket – that is what was missing from that shot – ha, ha!

All joking aside, for many photos the results can be pretty cool with just ONE CLICK of a preset. Here’s my famous Chicago shot where all I did was click the City Lights I preset and voilĂ  – instant sparkle right where I wanted it:

Mouse over to see before, mouse out to see after
Instant City Sparkle with only one click


This is a neat little product that on the right photo (like Chicago above) you just say “wow, how did it know where I wanted my sparkles”. It just works! It’s way easier and faster than Photoshop, and all sorts of flare options are available.

Click here to download the free trial. If you decide you want it, then just be sure to use the Topaz Labs coupon code found on my discount coupon code page to save money off your purchase!


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Leland Saunders said...

I used Star Effects for the first time today and I am totally frustrated. The application WOULD not place the star in the center of the light source and it was difficult to impossible to do it manually with the tool provided. I spent seven hours on two edits trying to get the application to perform. Right now I give it a big fat "D."

Jim Clark said...

Thanks Ron, I went ahead and pulled the trigger on this and so far I'm impressed with the results.  I've only had a chance to use it on a couple of photos so we will see how it performs over the long haul.

Your post gave me some ideas I hadn't thought of. ;-) said...


I share your frustration about the lack of a tool that allows you to just place a single specific star in a given place. However, there is a tool on the right side at the top that allows you to add and remove stars. It's a little odd in the way it works, but I used that to add the sparkle to my tooth in the review.


BoomersGoGlobal said...

Have you figured out a way to add a single star where you want it? How did you do the sparkle to your tooth? thanks Ramona