Like me, you probably have a bazillion Photos pics. If you’d like to jazz some of ’em up, Topaz Impression for macOS lets you get amazing results with ease.
Impression lets you transform your photos into realistic-looking studio art such as paintings, pencil or charcoal sketches. The results look natural and not computer generated, which I found pleasantly surprising. (The folks at Topaz say the technology behind Impression seeks out your photo’s inherent contours and then applies brushstrokes one at a time.)
When you’re new to the app, a variety of presets lets you pick and choose across entire art movements in a few clicks. Once you’re more comfortable using the software, you can tweak the presets with adjustments to get the results you want. It may take a while to get the artwork you wish, as you can easily spend hours experimenting with Topaz Impression. For example, there are over 70 textures from which to choose.
Topaz Impression works as both a standalone editor and plugin. You don’t have to have a compatible host editor to use the tool, though you can access it as a plugin via compatible host editors.
To use it as a plugin, first run the standalone program via the directories listed above. This is a one-time setup.
Impression can then be accessed as a plugin via Photoshop CS4+, Photoshop Creative Cloud, Photoshop Elements 6+, Paintshop Pro X, and Lightroom (via an external editor). However, it won’t work with PhotoFXLab or Fusion Express.
After launching Impression as a standalone editor, it will become available in your Photoshop Filter menu (you may need to restart Photoshop).
Using the app is easy. Just drag a photo onto the Impression palette, and choose from any of 112 pre-sets to see your photo in a variety of styles. You can select “looks”by type (pencil sketch, modern, charcoal, etc.) or create and save your own personal transformation.
Topaz Impression works with macOS 10.8 and higher. It costs $99 and is available at the Mac App Store and from Topaz.
Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★