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by E.J. Peiker on Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:30 am
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I am getting at least a half dozen emails a day from people having trouble installing the Topaz stuff after buying. Here are the two main things people are missing and it's about 95% from Windows users:

- When downloading, if you don't launch the DL's program right away from the DL notification tab at the bottom of your browser, it disappears (that's true for all downloaded content). The program is still on your computer and you simply need to go to the Downloads folder and you will find it there - the file names are pretty obvious. Just double click on them there and it will proceed with the install.
- The second problem is that even once installed, sometimes they don't show up in the Photoshop Filters Panel. To enable this, go into Photoshop and under Preferences > Plugins enable "Additional Plug-ins folder" and then just navigate to the Topaz folder under Programs or Applications on your computer. Now shut down Photoshop and restart and they will be there.

Another issue people are running into with the AI tools is incredibly slow performance, especially on mobile computers and moreso with ATI card Macs than others (including Intel embedded graphics). We have discussed this elsewhere on NSN but to repeat, go into each of the AI applications' preferences and make sure that GPU with maximum memory usage is enabled. If your graphics card has less than 4GB of video RAM do not expect really great performance. These tools really come into their own for speed with a modern video card with 8GB of RAM as they are incredibly computationally intensive.  Older computers with older graphics cards will be relatively slow to run these tools.  Under no circumstances would I recommend running these in CPU mode - it can make a 20 second operation into a 20 minute one even with a modern i7 processor.

Another tip is to run the AI Clear version included in Topaz Studio rather than the one that is an option in Denoise AI - it is literally 10 times as fast on some computers and works reasonably well even on older computers.  Also in a stack of Topaz Studio adjustments, place it last and disable it (click on the eyeball icon in the tool) until you are ready to render the image out of Studio to prevent it from recalculating with every single adjustment you make inside Studio.
 

by E.J. Peiker on Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:14 am
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Doing a little more testing for my client base on the Topaz stuff. In general I am finding that for the first time in digital still photography, the video card is by far the dominant factor in performance. While video card performance has become an increasing factor in smoothness of the post processing flow over the last few years, it was always, in order of importance, total system RAM, CPU speed, CPU Cores, graphics card. With the AI tools it is graphics card, system RAM CPU Speed, CPU Cores. Furthermore they are all very important where previously you could compromise on cores and graphics card and still get a good experience. Even a fairly recent fast 4 core i7 laptop with 16GB of RAM but either Intel graphics or a discrete graphics card with just 2GB of video RAM does not provide a satisfying experience with some of the AI tools. I find that there is a threshold around 4GB of video RAM where performance takes a fairly significant step and then again between 6 and 8GB, Above that I don't find much change. Bottom line, for the best experience, regardless of what the Topaz requirements are, my minimum configuration for Topaz AI tools would be a 4 core i7 (6th generation or later) at 2.5GHz, 16GB of RAM, and a modern graphics card with 4GB of RAM. My recommendation for a good system would be a 4-6 core i7 at 3Ghz (6th generation or later), 32GB of RAM, and a modern graphics card with 6GB of video RAM. Outstanding performance would be a 10-12 core i9 at 3.5Ghz, 64GB of RAM, and a modern graphics card with 8GB or more of video RAM.

I have also tested an older system with a 4GHz i7(4 core and 4th generation) with 32GB of RAM, but with a modern 8GB RAM graphics card and the performance was very acceptable again proving that the graphics card is the most important thing.
 

by Scott Fairbairn on Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:11 am
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Thanks for the post. I have those applications, but Sharpen AI and DeNoise AI are painfully slow, so I use AI Clear for the most part. My MacBook pro video card is Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650 1536 MB. I have a mid-2017 27" iMac with 40GB of ram, but it's genuinely hopeless to try those programs. I wondered where the bottleneck was because the programs are almost unusable on my machines. I did up the memory allowance, but it's still dog slow.
I'll keep it in mind for my next upgrade.
 

by E.J. Peiker on Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:07 am
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Scott Fairbairn wrote:
Thanks for the post. I have those applications, but Sharpen AI and DeNoise AI are painfully slow, so I use AI Clear for the most part. My MacBook pro video card is Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650 1536 MB. I have a mid-2017 27" iMac with 40GB of ram, but it's genuinely hopeless to try those programs. I wondered where the bottleneck was because the programs are almost unusable on my machines. I did up the memory allowance, but it's still dog slow.
I'll keep it in mind for my next upgrade.

Yeah Intel Iris graphics isn't up to the task - it's simply not designed for any more than basic video playback usage.  It isn't for the high level of computing power required by AI.  What's more, it borrows its 1.5GB of video RAM from system RAM and doesn't actually have any of its own compounding the problem.  Intel Iris graphics isn't actually a video card, it is a video unit that is part of the actual CPU chip.
 

by Scott B on Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:09 pm
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E.J. Peiker wrote:
 Also in a stack of Topaz Studio adjustments, place it last and disable it (click on the eyeball icon in the tool) until you are ready to render the image out of Studio to prevent it from recalculating with every single adjustment you make inside Studio.

I do prefer to use it first and apply it to avoid it from recalculating.  I know some people claim better results if they use it last but I agree with Topaz using it first works best.  I think using it last may clean up some heavy handed adjustments but it is better to avoid those to begin with.
 

by DChan on Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:03 pm
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E.J. Peiker wrote:
Doing a little more testing for my client base on the Topaz stuff.  In general I am finding that for the first time in digital still photography, the video card is by far the dominant factor in performance.  While video card performance has become an increasing factor in smoothness of the post processing flow over the last few years, it was always, in order of importance, total system RAM, CPU speed, CPU Cores, graphics card.  With the AI tools it is graphics card, system RAM CPU Speed, CPU Cores.  Furthermore they are all very important where previously you could compromise on cores and graphics card and still get a good experience.  Even a fairly recent fast 4 core i7 laptop with 16GB of RAM but either Intel graphics or a discrete graphics card with just 2GB of video RAM does not provide a satisfying experience with some of the AI tools.  I find that there is a threshold around 4GB of video RAM where performance takes a fairly significant step and then again between 6 and 8GB,  Above that I don't find much change.  Bottom line, for the best experience, regardless of what the Topaz requirements are, my minimum configuration for Topaz AI tools would be a 4 core i7 (6th generation or later) at 2.5GHz, 16GB of RAM, and a modern graphics card with 4GB of RAM.  My recommendation for a good system would be a 4-6 core i7 at 3Ghz (6th generation or later), 32GB of RAM, and a modern graphics card with 6GB of video RAM.  Outstanding performance would be a 10-12 core i9 at 3.5Ghz, 64GB of RAM, and a modern graphics card with 8GB or more of video RAM.

I have also tested an older system with a 4GHz i7(4 core and 4th generation) with 32GB of RAM, but with a modern 8GB RAM graphics card and the performance was very acceptable again proving that the graphics card is the most important thing.


It's slow if using CPU rather than GPU even with your new system??

I'd rather the program uses CPU and the system RAM given that it's usually much more than the video card has.
 

by E.J. Peiker on Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:25 pm
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E.J. Peiker
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Scott B wrote:
E.J. Peiker wrote:
 Also in a stack of Topaz Studio adjustments, place it last and disable it (click on the eyeball icon in the tool) until you are ready to render the image out of Studio to prevent it from recalculating with every single adjustment you make inside Studio.

I do prefer to use it first and apply it to avoid it from recalculating.  I know some people claim better results if they use it last but I agree with Topaz using it first works best.  I think using it last may clean up some heavy handed adjustments but it is better to avoid those to begin with.

Yes, that is an excellent alternative!  I should have mentioned that!
 

by E.J. Peiker on Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:26 pm
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E.J. Peiker
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Posts: 83559
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Location: Arizona
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DChan wrote:
E.J. Peiker wrote:
Doing a little more testing for my client base on the Topaz stuff.  In general I am finding that for the first time in digital still photography, the video card is by far the dominant factor in performance.  While video card performance has become an increasing factor in smoothness of the post processing flow over the last few years, it was always, in order of importance, total system RAM, CPU speed, CPU Cores, graphics card.  With the AI tools it is graphics card, system RAM CPU Speed, CPU Cores.  Furthermore they are all very important where previously you could compromise on cores and graphics card and still get a good experience.  Even a fairly recent fast 4 core i7 laptop with 16GB of RAM but either Intel graphics or a discrete graphics card with just 2GB of video RAM does not provide a satisfying experience with some of the AI tools.  I find that there is a threshold around 4GB of video RAM where performance takes a fairly significant step and then again between 6 and 8GB,  Above that I don't find much change.  Bottom line, for the best experience, regardless of what the Topaz requirements are, my minimum configuration for Topaz AI tools would be a 4 core i7 (6th generation or later) at 2.5GHz, 16GB of RAM, and a modern graphics card with 4GB of RAM.  My recommendation for a good system would be a 4-6 core i7 at 3Ghz (6th generation or later), 32GB of RAM, and a modern graphics card with 6GB of video RAM.  Outstanding performance would be a 10-12 core i9 at 3.5Ghz, 64GB of RAM, and a modern graphics card with 8GB or more of video RAM.

I have also tested an older system with a 4GHz i7(4 core and 4th generation) with 32GB of RAM, but with a modern 8GB RAM graphics card and the performance was very acceptable again proving that the graphics card is the most important thing.


It's slow if using CPU rather than GPU even with your new system??

I'd rather the program uses CPU and the system RAM given that it's usually much more than the video card has.

Haven't tested that particular combination yet but thanks for the reminder :)  I'm guessing it will still be slow.
 

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