PI8 Star Filter Effect

star filter

PI8 offers photo enthusiasts several exciting new filters, most notably the Star Filter. It is perfect for adding a sparkling highlight to a photo that needs a little something extra.

The Star Filter works best with an image that has mostly darker tones with a few small, bright areas, like this photo I took of my dragon statue. You can right click and save this image to practice on for the tutorial. Note the well-defined lighter areas in the crystal ball he's holding in his front paws, on his horns, along his body and in the water in the background.

dragon statue

Open the dragon photo up in the work space and choose Effect, Photographic, Star Filter. When the Star Filter dialog box opens, you'll see the original image in the Before window on the left, and the default Star Filter settings applied to the photo in the After window on the right.

On the bottom right side of the dialog box are the Spike Settings, from which you can edit the Brightness, Length, Width and Spread Angle of the Spikes. The default Width and Brightness are a bit high for this photo. It's likely that you'll have to edit all of these settings, depending on the image that you're using. For the dragon photo, use these values.

spike settings

On the bottom left side are the Filter Settings. For example, you can edit the number of star Spikes. Variance affects diversity in the length and direction of the spikes, with higher values resulting in more variability. Luminosity Threshold affects the amount of light areas in the image to which stars will be applied. Higher values include more of the image, while lower values include less of the image. If you crank the Luminosity Threshold up too high, you'll see nothing but blinding white stars, so be careful with this one.

At the bottom of the filter Settings, Standard Filter is selected by default. Select the other option, PL Filter, which doubles the star spikes. When PL filter is selected, you can rotate the duplicate star spikes to create a fuller, brighter star. Try these Filter Settings for the dragon photo.

filter settings

Just to see its effect, try editing the Luminosity Threshold down to 2, and watch what happens in the After window. There will be stars only on the little crystal ball and in the water sparkle in the upper right corner of the After view. Edit the Luminosity Threshold to 3, and another star appears on the horn. Edit the value to 5, and you'll see the star on the dragon's side again. So you have a fair amount of control over how many stars appear on the dragon.

When you have edited to your satisfaction, click the Preview button to view the Star Filter applied to the image. If you like the effect, click OK to apply. If it's not quite right, click Continue to return to the Star Filter dialog box. Edit and preview until you get the effect you like, then click OK.

Finally, remember that you can apply any filter setting to a selection area, if you prefer to have tighter control over its effect. For example, to add a star to the crystal ball only, you can make a round selection around it and then tweak the Star Filter attributes.

make a selection first

This tutorial uploaded 9/19/02

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