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How to Make the Stars POP!

If there is one thing I've learned about processing night shots.

There are as many opinions and as many ways to do things as there have been sunrises!
With that being said, I thought I'd share another technique that I've employed a couple of times

This technique is very simple and very effective.  The nice thing about my tutorial is that I show you how to do it yourself.  I’m not a fan of “presets” that take the adjustment factor out of your hands.  I’d rather show someone how to do it for themselves.  That way you can actually expand your knowledge and learn to help yourself and others around you.

In this particular “How to” we will be increasing the size and brightness of the larger stars.  This technique can also be used to bring out the natural colour of the stars or any other adjustments you may want to use.

Like most of my tutorials, I take the approach that you have a basic knowledge of photoshop.  If you don’t and need some further assistance with this tutorial, please feel free to contact me either here or on G+.

1.  Step one - Here you can either be brave and work on your original layer, or you can create a duplicate layer.  I’ve decided to work on the original layer.

2.  Using the “Magic Wand Tool” click on a large bright star.

3.  On the upper menu go to “Select”, “Similar” -  This will select more large stars.

4.  Next, under the “Select” menu, go to the “Modify”, “Expand” selection.  This will giv 
you a pop up window that allows you to select how many pixels you expand your selection by.  My “Goto” expansion value is 2 pixels. I find that this seems to work for me.  You may find a different value works better for you.

5.  Just like our last step, we will go to the “Select” portion of the menu again.  The difference this time is that we will select “Feather”.  Another pop up asking how many pixels to feather your selection by.  Again, I find that 2 pixels works out great here also.

6.  Next, click on the “Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer” icon on the bottom right hand side of photoshop -  a menu will appear giving you the ability to select adjustments, in this particular instance we will select “Hue / Saturation”

7.  Now I “play” with lightness and saturation until I like what I see.

If you found this tutorial useful, please share so that others can enjoy imaging the night sky.


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