In this Topaz Star Effects tutorial we are going to look at how you can quickly boost sunsets in your images. Topaz Star Effects is a powerful plugin that is available for Photoshop or Lightroom.
This plugin can be used to enhance and manipulate various light sources from within your photographs, these can be street lights, candles, stars in the night sky, or sunsets. I primarily use this plugin for boosting sunsets, so that’s what we’re going to focus on in this tutorial.
Below is the original shot that I used as a starting point, it’s not a bad sunset, but could do with a little more drama added.
And here is the final image after using Topaz Star Effects, you can see a more dramatic sunset that has become more of a focal point of the image.
Below is the Star Effects workspace once it’s been selected in Photoshop. On the left are various presets for different types of light sources. There are multiple options for dew drops, street lamps, city lights, starry nights, glow effects and sun flare.
I’m of course going to use the sun flare option to enhance the sunset in this shot, there are four different sun flare presets to choose from, I’ve used the first one for this particular image.
On the right-hand side of the main image are the controls that allow you to control and customise the effect of your chosen preset. I’m going to share and explain the exact settings I used for this image. First up are the basic star settings shown below, here you can choose the star type, I’ve chosen Hyper Star for this image.
You can also choose between Combined or Stars Only modes, combined gives the complete image and effect, and stars only blacks everything else out and focuses on the effect only, this is handy so you can see exactly what is going to be applied.
Topaz Star Effects automatically picks up the light source in your image, in this case the sunset. Sometimes it may pick up multiple sources, this is easier to see with the Stars Only mode, from there you can remove individual light sources if you aren’t happy with the results.
Next up is the main adjustments panel, in the screenshot below you can see the exact settings I used for this image.
Here you can control the size and luminance of the effect, change the angle of your star, and also adjust the amount of points that your star is comprised from. The spread setting at the bottom is important for sunsets, this basically controls the amount of haze around the centre of your star light source.
Above is the color adjustments panel, here you can adjust the temperature and saturation of your star effect. There are also options for rainbow details from within the effect, but I didn’t need that in this instance so I reduced these down to zero.
Lastly is the additional effects panel (shown below), here you can add secondary points to your star and set the amount of glow to suit your image.
I did not want any circular ring flare for this image so I reduced the slider down to zero to lose the effect completely. At the bottom of the adjustments panel is an Apply button, you can use this to build up multiple applications of any presets, so this is a good option if you want to make further custom adjustments to your image.
Once you’re happy with the results press the OK button at the very bottom to apply all effects and return to Photoshop with the complete results. Let’s have another look at the final image.
In the Topaz Star Effects tutorial we’ve only looked at using it to enhance sunsets, but it is capable of much more than that. From city-based night shots, to astrophotography and indoor or candle-lit scenes, this is a versatile plugin that can enhance images from a variety of photographic styles and genres.