Imagine an AI editing software smart enough to transform a dead, dull photo into an Instagram-worthy NatGeo photo! All in ONE click!
But is it practical?
(updated 28 Jan 2020)
This is a short commentary on Topaz Adjust AI, and who may benefit from it.
(definitely not the pros)
This is NOT an affiliate marketing article.
Probably 50% of you won’t buy it.
Maybe 90%. Just guessing.
Read on if you want to know why.
Artificial Intelligence, it’s rising.
Many mobile apps and the hardware are already using AI to enhance your photos.
Realise some mobile phone can quickly produce beautifully coloured, contrasted, life-like photos?
Google Photo Assistant?
Do professionals use AI Editing software?
Most of us are used to our workhorses like Adobe Lightroom and/or Photoshop.
So the question is, would pros rely on full AI apps for photo enhancement?
What about casual users, amateurs, marketing executes or business owners?
Earlier on, I received an email offering from TOPAZ for their new ware, Adjust AI.
It comes at a launch price of US$59.99.
US$79.99 after the offer ends on 9 Jul 2019.
And if I use the code adjust20, I’d get a further 20% discount!
That’s US$12 off!!!
Wow! A total saving of around S$44!
The only thing is, the offer would end on 3 Jul, 2359hr, US time.
About 16hrs from the time I received the email.
Kind of a FOMO tactic but no harm in checking it out.
I uncover the features on the sales page like a kid unwrapping his birthday gift.
Yup, I’m not disappointed.
Looking at the before & after samples, I’m pretty impressed.
Many details and colours burst out beautifully, especially for the landscape photo samples.
However, most photos are too contrasty for my liking.
But that’s just me.
With half an hour left to decide purchase, I immediately download the trial-ware and put it to my nitty-gritty-picky test.
ADJUST AI vs LIGHTROOM
1. Loading speed
On my quad-core 3.1Ghz i5, 32GB Ram iMac on SSD drive, it takes at least 30sec to load a 32MB Nikon RAW file!
(update) If you are using an NVMe PCIe SSD, and more RAM, it should be a lot faster.
With every preset I choose, that’s another 3-5 secs before I see the effects in full size.
TOPAZ says it can work better if the image was a jpeg, tiff or png.
But hello? Many of us shoot in RAW!
It’s okay if you are occasionally fixing a photo or two, and want to leave the aesthetics to the AI.
It’s a nightmare if you have tens or hundreds of images to work on.
In Lightroom, it takes less than 2 seconds to import the same RAW file.
Presets preview updates are INSTANTANEOUS.
The full-size preview clocked under 2sec.
Lightroom = Ferrari F50
Adjust AI = Toyota Corolla… 1980s
TOPAZ does come clean on why it can take such a long time to process.
2. AI editing power and efficiency
I must admit Adjust AI has excellent calculations even for the default look.
Their various presets are A-Grade standard too.
It perfectly brings out the details, exposure, contrast and colours.
It can transform any poorly-lit photo into an Instagram / stock library-worthy quality at a click of the button.
Some basic training and experience are needed to get the same result in Lightroom.
Adjust AI = PayNow.
Lightroom = Internet banking in 2010. You know, dongle login and all …
3. Noise cleaning
(visible artefacts when you use high ISO for low light situations)
Unfortunately, TOPAZ does a poor job, if at all, clearing the noise in the shadow areas.
Maybe the digital brains haven’t learned how to clean up the noise.
You can manually reduce the noise from a single slider, though.
If you want more control, you have to use other software in the TOPAZ family to clean it thoroughly.
Lightroom has more options to fine-tune the image quality, and it can remove two types of noise, Color and Luminance.
Lightroom = Cleaning teeth at a dentist.
Adjust AI = Cleaning teeth with a toothbrush. Still unclean.
I gave up ADJUST AI after seeing the processing icon still spinning from the last editing action.
Lightroom allows you to batch process in real-time, regardless of the number of photos.
With Lightroom, exporting a single photo is quick, under 10 sec. Anything more, I just take a coffee break. Sometimes lunch break.
Lightroom = Fedex speed.
Adjust AI = Fedup.
US$59.99 for a full AI software that automatically transforms your photo with much pop and wow, All in ONE click?
That’s a no brainer.
But, having said that, dragging the feet just to make a single photo prettier, vs a Lightroom that manages a set of pictures.
Plus Lightroom has important features like search, keywording and rating functions, on top of beautifying a batch of photos on-demand …
What do you think?
TOPAZ Adjust AI is ONLY Recommended if:
– you have no time to learn Lightroom or Photoshop but want excellent eye-popping photos.
– you are in the Photo Editing business with a warehouse of low-skill workers sitting and clicking for you.
– you do occasional editing while getting occupied with Netflix or scrolling Instagram ogling at image perfect photos.
While it is a painfully slow AI editing software for smart editing automation, I believe once quantum computers become common, this process will be zippy fast!
Till then, back to good ol’ Lightroom!
This is not a promo article for any brand or product.
It’s purely a first-hand experience and a response to that experience.
Who wrote this?
Kok Wai is a content creator with more than 14 years of expertise in photography works. When he is bored, he hunts for trial-wares to see if any of these apps can improve workflow and efficiency. He trains schools’ Media Club students and holds workshops for adults in photography and photo editing.