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Post Processing of Star Trails


I made a three-hour time lapse pic, last night. I'm looking for post processing help in punching up the trails a bit. When I look at other photos, some of them have a inner glow. While I have a nice circular pattern and the exposure seems okay, the image is flat and two dimensional.


I meant one dimensional - flat.


You want a program called StarStaX.


You can find loads of YouTube video tutorials on using this.


It runs on Mac, Windows, & Linux.


It’s Freeware.  🙂



Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

Thanks for the suggestion, but I have been using StarStax for some time. I would like to know how the wonderful colors you see in pictures, that are not apparent to the eye when shooting, can be brought out in post. EG.

@Eliza2018I would like to know how the wonderful colors you see in pictures, that are not apparent to the eye when shooting, can be brought out in post. EG.

Most of those effects are not so much "brought out" in post processing as much as they are manufactured.

There are pictures there that show a zoom effect on the stars, but the foreground subjects are not zoomed so clearly that is 2  pictures added together. There is one shot where the stars spiral into vortex effect, I would love to see that in the night sky.

The colours in the pictures are not apparent to the eye when shooting because they aren't there.


Sorry but you are being misled by someone who is doing a lot of imaginative processing and very little actual photography.


"...some of them have a inner glow..."


PS has a setting called Inner Glow. Nothing that can be done to a photo can't be done with PS.  You just have to know how.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!


Usually when astronomers talk about “red” or “blue” stars, the “red” stars just have an orange cast to them, and the “blue” stars are mostly white with a blue cast.  But there are carbon stars that can be intense red (i.e. as red as the tail-lights on a car) ... but most are pale red / orange, yellow, white, or slightly blue cast.


There are no green stars.  There are no violet stars.  When you see those colors, they are manufacturered effects.


As I look at these images, I realize many of them are just colored in Photoshop.


You can naturally get the spinning (StarStax does this).  The “meteors” effect isn’t real.  The spiral effect *could* be done by _very_ slowly zooming over many hours ... but it’d be very hard to do that without some sort of motorized zoom... so that’s more than likely also a processed technique and not as-shot.  Also most zooms shift focus as you zoom making it very difficult to do this *and* get sharp stars at the same time.  


Many of the swirl effects are natural and you get these based on where you point the camera and what sort of focal length or lens is selected. 


These images are a combination of real night-sky photography combined with some photoshop work (some of which is fairly heavy photoshop work).

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

I was able to get some colors:



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