Which do you prefer (added new image)

Vote for best of the two

  • 1. Lighter version

  • 2. Darker version

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Kyle Jones

How do you brighten it? I have been using levels which adds an adjustment layer
I used exposure, but you can do it with levels, brightness or curves too. I added a variation to Jim's tutorial doing this all with adjustment layers and masks. I created a star mask like Jim described, and applied it to an exposure layer to brighten the stars. I then copied that mask to a levels layer, inverted the mask, and used that to darken the sky. If you then group those layers you can add another mask and paint the effect into the portions of the sky where you want it. The nice thing this way is you can readjust everything until you like how it looks

Ben Egbert

Forum Helper
Staff member
I will give this a try Kyle, thanks.

Based on what has been posted, and my own thoughts, here is how I would proceed.

1. Start with 1 but crop as per 2.

2. Make the sky darker more like 2 but keep the stars from going too red.

3. Try to even out the gradients in the left side.

4. Learn how to use Jim's star brightener with Kyles add ons.
Last edited:

Ben Egbert

Forum Helper
Staff member
Ok, I have found a problem with using the tutorial to brighten stars. I select a star or in some cases multiple stars and only a few stars get selected, not enough to matter.

I had fuzzyness set to 133 and range at 6. The tutorial appears not to have any value for range (zero) but if I set it to zero nothing is selected.

Ben Egbert

Forum Helper
Staff member
Here is where I am now, I did the things mentioned above but I am still not sure I am getting Jim's tutorial to work. I did find that increasing the range added stars to the group. I also made a group from the new layers but decided it was ok without selective application. I also discovered that making a hard light layer darkened the sky without diming the stars. I made one and painted it on and applied it at less than 100%.

200531-13370-5DS R B1.jpg

Jameel Hyder

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Like your latest edit Ben. You are progressing nicely in your MW journey.

Another thing to help avoid color shifts is to change the blending more when you are brightening or darkening to luminosity.
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