Photoshop - Mask

Masking is an ideal tool in Photoshop used for astrophotography. I am using an image from M16 to show how we use Layers with Mask to improve the center of the nebular.

  • First Step create two more copies of the image /2 new layers

  • Step 2 , using the 2nd layer we going to apply curves to brighten the center of the nebular

After bright the center we use this image to 'merger down' to the layer, use the right click of the mouse to bring-in the options , you find there the 'Merger Down 'option. See below the result.

  • Step 3 , we are using Layers Mask-followed by Reveal all in the Layer folder, the using the brush tool and having the square 'black' on.
  • Step 4, we brush the center to darken this area only

  • Step 5 go to Filter-Blur-Gaussian- around 40 to 45 level will be fine, then 'Merge down' again

Here comes the most complicated part, you will need to curve again the copy layer to brighten all.

  • Do two more layers again (now you have four). See Below.

  • Step 6 darken areas in the image to make it more dramatic using again the mask brush, then Gaussian it again, when using the gaussian it a personal thing to what shadow /brightness you prefer, this I leave to you. Finally Merge down and Flatten all.
  • Save it

Final Result