Making a Starry Filter Effect in GIMP


Photographers use Star Filters sometimes to really make the highlights stand out, but if you do not have one you can use GIMP to reproduce the effect.

Star Filter Effect in GIMPStar Filter Effect in GIMP

1. Uncovering the Light sources with Levels

  • Open up an image with plenty of individual light sources.
  • Duplicate the Original layer:
  • On your Light Sources layer go, Colors –> Levels
  • Slide the middle to the right, and slide the left to the middle/left, as shown:
Uncovering the Light Sources with LevelsUncovering the Light Sources with Levels

2. Motion Blur – Linear

  • Duplicate your Light Sources layer 4 times:
  • Adding the Motion Blur go, Filters –> Blur –> Motion Blur
  • Settings: Linear, Length: 256, Angle: 45:
  • And set the Blend Mode of the layer to Screen:
  • Repeat this for each of the 4 only changing the angle: 45, 135, 225, 315
  • If the spikes are not long enough, then repeat the blur  for each layer (Ctrl/Cmd + F)
Motion Blur - LinearMotion Blur – Linear
Spike LayersSpike Layers

3. Merge Layers – Increase Brightness

  • Uncheck the ‘eye’ on the Original layer, now ‘Right Click’ on the other layers and go Merge Visible Layers…
  • Set the layer to Screen:
  • Go Colors –> Levels:
  • Move the right slider towards the centre/left, and the centre slider to the left, as shown:

Merge Layers - Increase BrightnessMerge Layers – Increase Brightness

That’s it!

Here is the Before and After:

Before and After Star Filter EffectBefore and After Star Filter Effect

If you get stuck anywhere just comment below!

If you prefer to use Photoshop check it out here!

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