Starburst Effect

This tutorial has been designed to teach you the following things:
  • filling layers and selections with color
  • using menu commands to affect the entire document
  • merging layers together
  • applying special effect filters
  • applying Layer Blend Modes to produce a specific effect

Step 1
Ok lets start by creating a New Document (Ctrl/Cmd+N). The dimensions must be equal, so let's use 256x256 pixels, and with a White Background, and using 72dpi.
Step 2
Create a New Layer, and name it 'starburst'. Then draw a rectangular selection from top to bottom, and make it cover roughly 3/4 of the canvas from left-to-right. Fill that with black, then Deselect. You now have a B&W image - 3/4 left is black, 1/4 right is white.
Step 3
Open the Filter menu now, and go down to "Stylize". Then within there, choose "Wind...". Set the filter to these settings:

Method: Blast
Direction: From the Right

Apply the filter.

HINT PAUSE: If you experiment with the Wind filter, you'll notice that it reacts oppositely for black and white. We're using black, and so the wind direction is what the option shows - "from the right". If you used this option on a white filled area though, the effect would actually be the opposite - the "from the right" option would produce wind "from the left", instead. This isn't crucial to know here, but it IS something worth noting in general.

Step 4
Press Ctrl/Cmd+F five times. This applies the filter a total of 6x. This will make the black section a lot smaller and help spread out our spikes.
Step 5
Starburst before blurYour image should now look somewhat like this one.

Now we'll apply the "Motion Blur" filter. Use these settings in the filter:

Angle: 0 (zero)
Distance: 200

Apply the filter.
Your image should now look much smoother, and the spikes should be much more spread out across the canvas.












Step 6
Now we need to rotate our entire document. Rotate the entire Canvas 90 degrees counter-clockwise (90°CCW). Image menu/Rotate Canvas.°CCW.
Step 7
And now for the special effect - the Polar Coordinates filter! Woohoo!
Open the filter and set it to "Rectangle to Polar". (in the Filter/Distort menu)
Apply the filter.
Step 8
Transpaent starburstAnd now, to make our starburst effect easier to use within other images, and to manipulate in general, we're going to extract the transparent starburst area from the black surrounding it. To understand better what we're dealing with here, hide the background layer and you'll notice that our starburst effect is actually a transparent area, not color ( as seen here ). Make sure to unhide the background layer again!

















Starburst FilledCtrl/Cmd-Click the 'starburst' layer, then press Ctrl+Shift+I (MAC: Cmd+Shift+I) to invert the selection. Create a New Layer and fill the selection with white, then Deselect. Now fill the Background layer with black. And you can now delete the original black layer with the transparent starburst on it; the one we started with. You can now also give your new white starburst layer a proper name - "starburst".












Here's just a few things you can do to tidy up the document, and enhance the effect a little more:


Step 1
And last, create a New Layer above the starburst layer, and fill this layer with the color of your choice. Then change it's Blend Mode to one of these: Overlay/Softlight/Color Burn/Color.

In the sample image at the top of this page, I used "Overlay", and a bright purple - R=153 G=51 B=255. Plus, I did the 3 "GURU TIPS" on the next page.

In the following steps we're going to enhance the effect.

Step 2
We're going to strengthen the inner center spot, while softening it at the same time. Duplicate the 'starburst' layer and under the 'Distort' menu, apply the "Pinch..." filter, set to 100%. Under the FILTER menu choose 'Other...', then 'Maximum...'. Set it to 2 pixels and apply it. Now press Ctrl/Cmd+E to merge the 2 layers together.
Step 3
To strengthen the impact of the effect even more, try this: Apply the "Pinch..." filter again to the 'starburst' layer, and use 100% again.
Step 4
You're going to lose some detail after applying the Polar Coordinates & Pinch filters. So if you'd like to make the image crisper, and get some of the finer detail back (just how much detail, is up to you) apply the "Unsharp Mask" filter to the 'starburst' layer (Filter/Sharpen/Unsharp Mask...).
I used these settings on mine:

Amount: 50%
Radius: 0.5
Threshold: 0

Step 5
Using the starburst in other images or documents: (optional)
Now that your starburst image is on it's own layer, you can just open your other document, and drag the 'starburst' layer into it. Once on it's own new layer, move it's layer up or down in the layers palette to suit your purpose for it in your image. And you can now also Move the starburst anywhere you want within the new document.

Then to add some color to the effect, create a New Layer right above the 'starburst' layer. Ctrl/Cmd-click the starburst layer to select the starburst shape, then under the SELECT menu choose Modify/Expand. Expand the selection 2 pixels. Now fill it with the same color you're using for the document's background co lour. Then set the layer's Blend Mode to COLOR. And finally, link these 2 layers together; so they can be moved around together as one.

And that's it for my involvement in this effect!
It's now up to you to think of other ways to experiment with the it. I'm sure you'll find lots of other things to do for it.

Here's one example to get you going...
Starburst Alernate Effect

This was created by applying the FILTER>Stylize>Diffuse [Anisotropic] filter 10x ( a PS7 and up filter ). Interesting effect isn't it? Now it's your turn!

Have fun!

Copyright © Mark Anthony Larmand
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