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Simplifier Software
Last year there was some discussion and lament over the demise of Fo2Pix and their buZZ 3 filter set. A month or so ago I discovered a similar filter by Topaz Labs <>. While not exactly the same it does produce a similar effect to the Simplifier 1. There's also a nice edge filter effect and some effects which have no equivalent in any other plug-in that I've seen. It is new and still at the introductory price of $39.95 (US) as I type. I don't know how much longer that price is in effect. Oh, and it works in 16 bit mode.

That's interesting. I use Buzz quite a lot - but it only works in 8 bit mode and doesn't work at all with quite large files. I would like to see some examples - Buzz's effect is quite subtle (particularly when fade back to 50%) and really quite lovely.
There are some samples on the Topaz website of course. I have used it only a few times so far. I will attach two images to compare the effect, both rendered from the same original. The effect is similar but there must be a different algorithm involved since when I went to a curves layer after applying the effect the black/white clipping occurred in a different pattern in the buZZ sample than it did in the Topaz Simplifier sample. First the buZZ example followed by the Topaz Simplifier sample:
[Image: 2007-12-07_SouthvilleForest-1-buZZ.jpg]
[Image: 2007-12-07_SouthvilleForest-1-Topaz.jpg]
The Topaz sample was at the default settings for the simplifer preset (it has presets which buZZ did not) and I tried to match the buZZ sample's simplification to that in the Topaz sample but the scales used are very different so it is just a visual guess.

Topaz seems to introduce more saturation (it has a saturation control, buZZ did not) for a more "stained glass" look. I probably could have reduced the saturation in the Topaz sample but I stuck with the preset for this test. The buZZ simplifier one has options to simplify dark or light or both. I don't see those options in Topaz' version. They instead have 5 sliders for "details" and there is a "Feature Boost" slider which appears to be a cross between sharpening and poster edges. There are also tabs for "Adjust (brightness/contrast/saturation) and "edges" which is used alone in monochrome can make a pseudo pencil drawing. There is no direct equivalent to buZZ Simplifiers 2 or 3.


P.S. RE: Toad's comment that buZZ does not work with large files. I have used buZZ Simplifier 1 on 10MP files with no problem. I have had the Simplifier 2 & 3 overload my memory on my old computer (1.8GHZ with 2GB RAM). I attributed that to the fact that I generally work in layers and I had too many layers in RAM. I have not used Topaz enough to know if it will tax my new system (2.80GHz CPU and 4 GB RAM) but I don't expect it will.
Thanks for the info. Its an interesting comparison - Buzz is about 10 years old now so I would expect improvements in modern algorithms. Topaz seems to have boosted contrast as well as saturation in your example - overall the effect is much the same.

...and yes - Simplifier 1 works better on large files. I had the same RAM problems using Simplifier 2 or 3 on large files that you mention. Sometimes I work in layers, but I *think* that S2 and S3 just allocate too much RAM - layers or not. At the time that Buzz was created, nobody had 4GB of RAM.
If you have a broadband connection there is an excellent video on the website which explains all the tabs & sliders to control the output. Well worth watching. I ran one more version of the buZZ image with +25 saturation and it is very similar to the Topaz image. Below that is one where I tried out the watercolor effect and played with the saturation plus edges to give the impression of a pencil sketch beneath the painting.
buZZ version above with +25 saturation boost added:
[Image: 2007-12-07_SouthvilleForest-1-buZZplusSat.jpg]

And the pseudo watercolor:
[Image: 2008-07-19_ADK_SantaClara-30-TopazWC.jpg]


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