Star Filter

Star Filter

Step 11

Now we'll enhance the contrast of the star. To begin, select the top layer and press Ctrl+E to merge the layer with the one below it or open the Layer menu and select Merge Down. Then, click on the eye icon beside the Lights layer to hide the layer.

Step 12

Press Ctrl+L to access the Levels tool or open the Image> Adjustments menu and select Levels. In the Levels tool, drag the middle input silder towards the right to reduce the amount of stars in the image and click OK. A setting of 0.5 for this area is a good starting point for most photos. The effect may seem more subtle now, but don't worry because we'll make it more visible in the next step.

Step 13

If you want to make the stars brighter, simply perss Ctrl+J to duplicate the layer or open the Layers menu and select duplicate layer. You can repeat this step if until the stars are as bright as you would like it to be.

Final Results of Star Filter Photoshop Tutorial

Original Image

Star Filter Photoshop Tutorial

Star Filter

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8 comments on “Star Filter”

  1. I use this tutorial all the time in my airplane photography, particularly to highlight the beacons. My only issue is that sometimes the rays are a bit thick. What I do, is to to the individual offending highlight and 1.) black out a significant portion of the highlight which allows for sharper, more realistic rays, and 2.) Make sure the the highlight is the color I want. Aircraft beacons flash red, BUT the core is yellow, so I will paint the core in the color (red in this case) I want the rays to be. When you SCREEN all the layers you don't lose the yellow core of the beacon, but the rays will be red! I also use it for street lights, and other highlights that may have two or more colors!

    I MAY have an idea for the rainbow (laser etched) effect

    1. Can you share your idea for the rainbow/laser effect?

      I add a rainbow gradient and clip it to the flare layers to give it a holographic look but I have troubles making the flares thin without going in by hand and shrinking every large blob.

  2. In step 7, there is no Auto Adjust in Image>Adjustments. Perhaps you meant in Levels?

    I was unable to see any change when doing step 6 thus was unable to adjust the size of the star. I had to reach step 7 and use Levels>Auto Adjust before I could see the radiants.

    After finishing my star bursts were blunt, not tapered to a point like yours.

    1. Yes sorry this might have been removed in an update.

      You can use Levels and click on the auto adjustment or just press Shift+Ctrl/Cmd+L.

      If it's not as tapered, make sure you've applied the motion blur several times. If you only do it once, it won't have the sharp pointy edge.

      Hope this helps!

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