photo star effects

Night shots that include point light sources can be spiced up by adding a little flare. I was shooting Christmas lights the other day and I found the camera did not reproduce the twinkle that my eyes saw. So I went on a search to figure out how to add some twinkle to my christmas light photos.

In hardware: there is a filter that you can add to your camera. It has many names: cross-screen, star effect, or diffraction grating. These filters can be purchased in a variety of sizes, number of star points, and strength.

In software: with a little work you can use Photoshop to create a similar effect. I found an article with the details here. The basic steps are:
1. copy the layer
2. change the layer levels, drag the grey-point all the way to the right
3. shape blur, using a star shape, and adjust the radius.
4. change the layer blend mode to screen.
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