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How to enhance extremely faint lines and details?


New Member
I've been struggling to enhance some very faint lines, like a pencil thin light beam, against what is basically a wide blue sky background. The blue/cyan tinted background and this line are very close to the same shade, and even though you can sit back and tell there's a line or streak there... trying to use Levels, Curves, and brightness/contrast helps a little, but I can't find a way to really make that line or beam stand out indisputably. Fwiw, masking the line and artificially brightening it is not allow. I need this to be sort of 'forensic' proof that what's there is really there. Thanks.
It would really help if you attached your image—or maybe just a sample portion of the image—so that people could experiment with it.

In the absence of that, one easy thing to try is to look at the individual channels. Go into the Channels palette and individually examine the red, green and blue channels. Depending on the image, sometimes one of them will have much better contrast than the others.