I'll give you my "solution" to this problem. Frequently, I like what topaz simplify does, except that it destroys too much detail. How to get the overall simplification while retaining detail?
I often use two layers. The top layer is the original image, but with increased detail and contrast and saturation, and it is partially transparent, anywhere from 30 to 89 percent opaque.
The under-layer is the topaz simplified layer. This allows me to get the simplification/posterization/colorchange, yet retain as much of the detail as needed.
I would like a "blend" of the two barns/meadows, and a sky from you hdr sequence, or from the original single image with strongly reduced highlights, to eliminate the typical distracting "hdr grunge" look. I frequently layer image variations and erase portions to achieve the kinds of blends I'm talking about here.
Maybe it's my monitor, but when I look at it 100% it looks more like a "painterly" type of filter was used on it as opposed to HDR. I am playing around with Topaz Adjust, too,and haven't noticed this kind of filtering with it yet.
i think the image would be fine natural, but it's too mashy up close. it doesn't look like brush strokes and looks more like a filter. i'd rather see it just as a photo. i did use simplify on something i'll be uploading later on. i wanted to match the house to the rest which was drawn in. but it made the house look like an EGA version, complete with little random chunks that i had to blend in. so i'm mixed about using it again.
I learned to apply Topaz filters carefully. Like Greg said - work in layers and reduce the effect of topaz Adjust. I do the opposite of Greg; I put the original Photo Image with final enhancement (Excluding Sharpening) on the bottom. I have the Topaz application on the top, an lower the Opacity as needed. I also notice that the application of some Topaz filters causes a Rainbow effect on my skies. In that situation, I use the Layer Mask and reveal the underlying sky.
Mike is right on. I do not use Topaz for HR, an I very rarely use Grunge. That's just me; others may like grunge.
I see, John. I haven't tried Simply yet. Guess I will have to add that to the package. I understand what others are saying about using the layers now, too, and will have to try that. Hadn't thought about it before and wasn't very happy with the straight Topaz Adjust. Layers may just be the answer I was looking for. I love the tones in your image, John.