I’m trying out another new plug-in from Topaz Labs–this one is called “Star Effects”, and its purpose is to give that little extra glow to points of light in your photos.
I pulled out this shot that I took in downtown Tupelo on a foggy night back in early February. I found this window display that looked like it was left over from Christmas, but it was still beautifully lit. I was using the tripod with my Nikon D700 and the 50mm lens, so I took three different exposures, not knowing how the glare of the lights on the window might affect the outcome of the shot.
So since I had the three different brackets, I decided that I would combine them into an HDR image using Photomatix, and then try the new Topaz Star Effects plug-in on the little points of light. I downloaded the trial version of the software from Topaz Labs (regular price $29.99) and, as usual, installed it with no problem.
After using Photomatix to product the HDR, I then ran the combined image through Topaz Star Effects, trying each of the different presets to see what it did to the light points. Most of the effects were far too extreme (this image already had some star points on the lights as a result of the HDR processing). So I selected a very mild effect and then tweaked it a little bit using the sliders in the plug-in. Afterwards I used Topaz DeNoise to clean up some of the artifacts in the darker areas of the image, and then I used Paintshop Pro to do just a bit of sharpening.
And that’s it..here’s the result:
I’ll need to play around with Star Effects a little more on some other types of images, some with less obvious “points of light”. But, as with all the other Topaz products, I really like the design of the user interface, the ease of installation, the variety of presets, and the affordable price. And, no, I’m not affiliated with Topaz and I don’t get paid to test or recommend their products.
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