How to Use Noel Carboni's Astronomy Tools for Photoshop
Noel Carboni is a software developer and astrophotographer who has created a set of Photoshop actions called Astronomy Tools. These actions are macro operation sequences that you load into Adobe Photoshop and apply to your astroimages to produce professional quality results. You can use them to enhance the colors, contrast, sharpness, noise reduction, star size, and more of your images. In this article, we will show you how to use some of the most popular and useful actions from Noel Carboni's Astronomy Tools.
How to Install Astronomy Tools
To install Astronomy Tools, you need to have Adobe Photoshop installed on your computer. You can download the actions from ProDigital Software, where you can also find more information about the features and pricing of the product. After you download the zip file, extract it to a folder on your computer. Then, open Photoshop and go to Window - Actions. In the Actions panel, click on the menu icon at the top right corner and choose Load Actions. Navigate to the folder where you extracted the actions and select the file called Astronomy Tools.atn. Click Load and you will see a new folder called Astronomy Tools in your Actions panel.
How to Use Astronomy Tools
To use Astronomy Tools, you need to have an astroimage open in Photoshop. You can use any image format that Photoshop supports, such as JPEG, TIFF, PNG, or RAW. You can also use images that are already stacked and aligned from other software, such as DeepSkyStacker or PixInsight. To apply an action to your image, simply select it from the Astronomy Tools folder in the Actions panel and click on the Play button at the bottom of the panel. You can also use keyboard shortcuts to run actions faster. For example, you can press Alt+F9 to open the Actions panel, then press Alt+1 to run the first action in the folder, Alt+2 for the second action, and so on.
Some actions will create a new layer with the effect applied, while others will modify the current layer directly. You can adjust the opacity of the new layer to control the strength of the effect, or use layer masks to apply it selectively to certain areas of your image. You can also combine multiple actions to achieve different results. For example, you can use Enhance DSO and Reduce Stars to bring out more details in your deep sky objects while minimizing star bloat. Or you can use Make Stars Smaller and Star Spikes Pro 4 (a separate plug-in by Noel Carboni) to create beautiful diffraction spikes around your stars.
Some Examples of Astronomy Tools
Here are some examples of what you can do with Astronomy Tools:
Space Noise Reduction: This action reduces noise in your image without blurring details or creating artifacts. It works best on images that have been calibrated with dark frames and flat fields.
Enhance DSO: This action increases contrast and color saturation in your deep sky objects (DSOs), such as nebulae and galaxies. It works by creating a mask that isolates the DSOs from the background sky and applying a curves adjustment layer.
Make Stars Smaller: This action reduces star size by applying a minimum filter with a radius of 1 pixel. It helps to improve the appearance of crowded star fields and reduce star bloat caused by atmospheric turbulence or optical aberrations.
Local Contrast Enhancement: This action enhances local contrast in your image by applying an unsharp mask with a large radius and a small amount. It helps to bring out more details and textures in your image.
Increase Star Color: This action increases star color by applying a hue/saturation adjustment layer with a mask that selects only the stars. It helps to reveal the different colors of stars based on their temperature and spectral type.
These are just some of the actions available in Astronomy Tools. There are many more actions that you can explore and experiment with, such as Fix Bright Edges, Reduce Green Noise, Enhance Faint Nebulosity, Remove Gradient, Synthetic Flat Frame, etc. You can also create your own custom actions by recording your own a474f39169