When it rains, look for rainbows. When it is dark, look for the stars.
Creative Trails UI & Creative Effects UI – Overview
Creative Trails UI and Creative Effects UI is an upgrade to the earlier released Creative Star Trails scripts from last year. Unlike the earlier scripts, have added an UI for the script,. It is now easy to control the parameters through the UI panel. No more code wrangling, to customize the effects …
Additionally have included Templates. Now you just need to pick up a template and bam – you can run the script. No need to worry about each of the configuration parameters. At the same time, if you are feeling adventurous and want to get more control – you can always edit the parameters through the UI panel.
Let us get started with some eye candy. Below are some samples that were created with these scripts. Don’t they look awesome :) Feel free to hover over – for the details on settings used or click thru to check full screen.
Download & Installation
Installing Photoshop scripts is very much like installing any other preset. First, copy the script into the
My currently local location for the Photoshop scripts was
C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop xxx\Presets\Scripts\
<hard drive>/Applications/Adobe Photoshop xxx/Presets/Scripts/
where xxx –> Photoshop Version
Then, after you quit and restart Photoshop, the newly installed scripts will automatically appear in the File » Scripts submenu (in alphabetical order).
You need to have administrator access to copy the script files to Photoshop folder. Don’t worry, the scripts are completely safe to be copied into the Photoshop system folder. Just to make sure these script files are not mixed up with the existing Photoshop scripts.
Note that you can also create subfolders inside of the
Presets/Scripts folder. This is helpful if you have a lot of scripts, or if you want to keep your own scripts logically grouped. Hence you can – Download the zip file, extract and copy the entire folder to the Photoshop Scripts location.
To run a script, simply select it by name from the File » Scripts submenu, or choose File » Scripts » Browse to locate and run scripts that don’t appear in the Scripts menu. Just that if the scripts are not copied to the default folder, they do not show up in the File » Scripts. You can still invoke them explicitly with File » Scripts » Browse
Bonus Tip : Since you would be running these scripts couple of times (in my workflow, I do), to arrive at the intended result, it would be very effective, if the scripts can be triggered with a shortcut key.
Jeff from Tranberry has provided simple steps to trigger any script via an action. Once you have the actions defined, you can easily set up a keyboard short for the same. I have mine set up to Ctrl+F2, Ctrl+F3 and Ctrl+F4.
Creative Trails UI
Do u have a single exposure of star shot, and would like to create a trail effect, check out this script !
Creative Trails UI is a nifty Photoshop script that aids in creating amazing star trails based on a single exposure. The script comes in handy when a long exposure (of say 30 mins) is not possible, due to time constraints or weather etc. With the right configurations, it can also help create trails that is totally not possible in-camera.
This can be considered a prequel to the Creative Effects UI script that helps apply effects, to the trails you had created with this script or the ones created in camera. Below is a brief on what each of the settings control. Just jump in and create your trails. And no, it is not cheating. It is just one more way to express your creative side :)
A quick note on each of the controls
1. Templates :
Template are a quick way to get you started. Selecting a template – sets the default values for the prominent styles. You can then continue to tweak the values or just accept and run the script.
This variable drives the pre-defined style.
- Simple : Simple Circular star trails
- Vortex (Clockwise) : Amazing vortex kind of trails, clock wise
- Vortex (Anti Clockwise) : Amazing Vortex kind of trails, anti clockwise
- Zoom : Zoom effect star trails. Effect is similar to zooming the lens while exposing for the stars
2. Anchor Point (x,y):
The effect is centered around this point. The vortex or the zoom appears to originate around this point.
Bonus Tip : Just make sure to select a point with Pen Tool (keyboard shortcut : ‘p’), prior to initiating the script. And the script will make sure to identify and load the value for you. You can also manually update these values, as needed.
3. Vortex Trim (x,y):
This defines trim of the effect. If both the values are same, the Vortex effect is uniform over both the axis i.e it will turn out to be circular. Introducing minor difference between the x & y will result in more elliptical effect. But be warned, higher values result in gaps on the trails furthest from the anchor point. Ideal values would be around 99.6 -100. Play around to get different results. The resolution of the shot, would also have an impact on the value being used here.
4. Trail Length:
As the name goes, this defines the length of the trail. Have noticed 40 to be an ideal value for higher resolution shot. Along longer trails have a tendency to have gaps, when farthest from the Anchor Point.
Anything more than 100 results in geometric patterns on the final result. Am working to see if this can be addressed.
5. Rotate Angle:
This defines the amount of incremental rotation when the effect is applied. This along with the Vortex trim can result in some creative effects. Ideal values are 0.1 to 0.5.
A zero value for this parameter will result in a Zoom Effect – one equivalent to slowly zooming the lens, while exposing the stars.
Creative Effects UI
Do u have a series of sequential star trail exposures, and would like to apply effects to the same, check out this script !
Creative Effects UI is an update to an earlier script from last year. I have added a UI to easily select the effects and also added few more effects to the bunch.
This can also be used as a stand alone script, that helps actuate and apply creative effects for your long (multiple stacked) star exposures. They also nicely complement the Creative Trails UI script to apply effects once you have created the tails in post production.
A quick note on each of the controls
1. Blend Modes :
As the name suggests this controls the Blend Mode between the multiple layers. The default value is SKIP. Based on my trials, I suggest to use LIGHTEN for best results. For some types of images SCREEN might also come in handy. When trying out the script multiple times for different effects, you ideally want to skip the blend mode and play with the Creative Style. This is when the SKIP option is handy. When there is a large number of layers, this saves time.
2. Creative Style :
This variable drives the pre-defined style.
- Comet Style [left to right, right to left] : This is the preferred effect of comet streak – from light to dark. The effect can be from either of the directions. Try both and decide which suits better for your composition.
- Saucer Style : I kind of liked this. It gives a strange metallic, yet smooth feel to the shot. The effect is similar to that of a flying saucer.
- Space Ship Style : This is UFO or the space ship style. If u want to control the length of gap, u would want to get to the code :) This article provides some insight into the same.
- Baseball Bat [left to right, right to left] : This provides an effect similar to base-ball bat, with a head on one end. This effect can again be from either of the directions. Try both and decide which suits better for your composition.
- RESET : This resets the effects gets, in case you would like to go back to just the plain old boring trails.
- SKIP : Skips the creative style option. This in combination with the Blend Mode, helps to play with the various blend modes for a given Creative Style.
Delete All But Selected Layers
This is more of an incidental script. As I was testing these scripts, I realized that I often was running the Create Trails UI multiple times to see how the final results looked. And it was tedious to get back to the single base layer before trying out the Create Trails UI again. Hence this script that helps deleted all but selected layers in a single click !
I found it real handy, Use it or Lose it, your call ;-)
1. Creative Star Trails – Is this not cheating ?
Don’t worry, it is not.
Shooting Stars is an experience unto itself. The intent of this script is not replace it. It is to compliment the same by providing even more creative options. I do not shy away from post processing. It helps bring out your creative vision. If you are still not convinced, sorry Post processing starts right when you shoot in JPEG. When you take a quick snap with you mobile, there is a lot of decision and processing that is done for you, behind the scenes. At the end it is all about the art and what u want to create ! Hope the final results inspires and aids in creating those shots, that u envision :)
2. Why is this still in beta ?
This is not my day job, I tend to go out and shoot landscapes and astroscapes when I get some time. These scripts are a result of my interest in astrophotography and programming. I released the first version in 2013 and was overwhelmed with the response. This started as and is continuing to be a pet project. I will keep adding features as I find time. I am neither an expert in scripting nor Photoshop, hence some of these might not be the best optimized way of doing things. Hence am leaving the beta tag, as a caution :)
3. Does this require high system resources ?
Yes, the size of the image and the length of the trails that you are trying to create, will greatly depend on the amount of memory available to your Photoshop installation. The scripts does not load the different layer and process them incrementally. I thought long and hard before going with this design. For me it was a trade-off between having the creative freedom to rerun the scripts and see the results and subsequently apply various effects, as compared to the lower system resources.
Having the effects being applied incrementally over layers, would also mean a loss of so me creative flexibility. I might include an option for incremental saves that allows for lesser system resources in future, if there is demand.
For now, if you have limited system configuration or getting too many out of memory errors, you can always reduce the size of the initial source image. Or do check out the script from Salim Waguila (equivalent to Creative Effects UI). He had developed a script (based on my earlier version), but has done an amazing job to utilize limited system resources.
4. Is it really free ?
I had never taken any course in arts. It always have been some informative links, articles, online forums, intriguing conversation with fellow artists while shooting in the field – that keeps me going. Hence am releasing this version back to the community. This will remain under Creative Commons in its current form.
5. I understand, But can I still pay ?
I really would like to connect back, Would greatly appreciate if you can subscribe to my blog or Facebook Page. Go like a photo, comment, share your thoughts or even better share this article and scripts same with your friends [using the share buttons at the end of this article] ! But if you still insist, drop me a note and you can get me a coffee sometime !
6. These scripts are awesome. Can I write my own ?
Oh definitely. It is real fun once u start to write scripts. It gives a lot of control and creative freedom. Below are some quick links that helped me start with the same.
7. Can I use these for commercial purpose ?
Definitely ! Feel free to create any art, photos and timelapse, using this script – that can subsequently be used for commercial purpose. The code base itself is under Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International – which means – you can download and modify the code as long as you distribute it under the same license. Don’t worry too much ! this is just to make sure any derivative scripts are available back to the community !
8. Can I build on top of this code ?
Oh yes ! Actually I would be humbled :) This code base is available under Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International . There definitely is a lot of scope to build on top of this code. Apart from enhancing and adding effects, there is some potential to extend this to create timelapse frames. If these or if you have any more ideas, feel free to build.
You can branch out the code @ Github.
9. Found a bug, what do I do now ?
Just squash it ;-) But if you are terrified of bugs, feel free to drop me a note or use the comment session below. In case you have any other suggestions or feedback, do reach out to me !
And one more thing …
Would love to see the final art that you create. If the script aided in any way to create an art piece, would love to see the same. Do share the results here in the comments. Have also created a group @ 500px. You could also post your final shots, ask any questions or collaborate out there @ Creative Trails Group @ 500px !