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How To Create Sparkling Highlight In Photoshop

Want to add a starburst to your Christmas lights and decorations? This is how you do it.

|  Adobe Photoshop
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Christmas Tree


As it’s Christmas, we’re using a star Christmas tree decoration for this tutorial but actually, a sparkling highlight can be added to any object with this technique, although you'll find it will look more natural if you choose a subject that has a reflective surface that would normally have shiny highlights.

Let's get started...

Use The Brush Tool

Open your image and select the Brush Tool. To get a star shape, click on the little arrow to the top right of the brushes palette where the arrow is, right of the menu and load the Assorted set. You’ll be asked if you want to replace the current brushes click OK.

Photoshop Brushes


Select The Brush Type & Adjust Its Size 

Go back to the brush menu but this time, pick the preset star shape you want to use (we chose the one numbered 50).

You will also need to adjust the size of the brush while you are here which you do with the size slider, or you can input a figure in the box just above the slider. 80 pixels is fine for our image but how large your brush size should be will depend on the object and the size of the image you’re working on.


Brush size


Change The Brush Colour

When you have your brush selected, click on the Colour Picker found at the bottom of the Tool Box and select a suitable tone. An off-white that has a touch of yellow in it works well if you want a warm sparkle.

Colour Picker

Add Starbursts To Your Images

Move your cursor around the image clicking on the areas where you want the burst to appear. Do not drag as this would paint a succession of stars. Choose areas with natural highlights and don't go over the top.

Opacity slider


If you want to adjust the strength of the starburst, simply reduce the Opacity slider or go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and add adjust the slider to add a slight amount of blur.

Christmas Decorations

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