Creating Those Cool Spikes on Stars
(or if you prefer, adding those awful flaws on a perfectly fine image)
I'm going to start off by acknowledging that this effect is not everyone's cup of tea. In fact, I know some photographers that cringe every time they see it.
Nevertheless it is a look that many people do like and therefore to forward the world of art, I think it's prudent that I make a post so that people can make that choice for themselves.
What Causes Diffraction Spikes?
Diffraction spikes are created when the incoming light (acting in wave nature) diffracts (essentially bends) around a small object in the path of the light.
In a reflecting telescope the diffraction is created by the rods (Struts or Veins) that hold the secondary mirror.
In a camera lens, the diffraction is created by the small "out of round" opening created by the diaphragm blades of the lens.
So there you go, now you have an understanding as to what creates the spikes. I'm also sure you know understand why SOME people do not like them. They are in fact an artifact or a flaw in an image. Albeit on that is pleasing to many eyes.
OK Darryl, enough of the physics lesson, get to the spikes!!!!!
Ok, ok, hint taken (even if it is from myself)
Creating the spikes is very, very, easy with the aid of Photoshop.
Lets start with an image from my archives.
Under the "Windows" menu click on "Brush Presets"
Once the Brush window opens you will see a drop down menu in the upper right corner of the brush menu. Activating it will bring up a list of the brush presets you have.
In this case the desired brush is found in the preset named "Assorted Brushes"
The particular brush that we will be using in this image is "Crosshatch 1", which is found 4 or 5 brushes down and looks like an "X".
The Final Image
I hope that you found this tutorial informative and helpful.
If there is something that you'd like to learn feel free to message me here or on G+
Good luck shooting and I hope you have "Dark Clear Skies"