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Improve Your Astronomical Sketches with Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36


Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36: A Review




If you are an amateur astronomer who likes to sketch star fields, planets, nebulae, or galaxies, you might be interested in a software that can help you enhance your sketches and make them look more realistic and professional. In this article, we will review Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36, a set of Photoshop functions that can improve your astronomical sketches in a few clicks. We will also show you how to use it for sketching star fields, as well as for other astronomical purposes. By the end of this article, you will have a better idea of what this software can do and whether it is worth trying.




astronomy tools actions set 36



What is Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36?




A brief introduction to the software and its features




Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36 is a software created by astrophotographer Noel Carboni, who has been developing Photoshop tools for astronomy since 2004. It is a collection of 34 Photoshop functions, each with predefined steps designed to save time and make processing an image or a sketch easier and faster. The functions are grouped into categories such as Basic Image Enhancement, Advanced Image Enhancement, Star Field Enhancement, Nebula Enhancement, Galaxy Enhancement, Planet Enhancement, and Miscellaneous. Some examples of the functions are:


  • Make Stars Smaller



  • Enhance DSO and Reduce Stars



  • Space Noise Reduction



  • Local Contrast Enhancement



  • Fix Green/Magenta Noise



  • Reduce Star Halo



  • Enhance Faint Nebulosity



  • Boost Color Contrast



  • Make Synthetic Flat Frame



  • Remove Gradient



  • Fix Planetary Rotation



  • Add Diffraction Spikes



  • Create Star Field



The software works as an add-on for Adobe Photoshop, which means you need to have Photoshop installed on your computer in order to use it. It is compatible with Photoshop versions from CS2 to CC 2020, both Windows and Mac. It also works with Photoshop Elements versions from 11 to 2020.


How to download and install it on Photoshop




To download Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36, you need to visit ProDigital Software's website at www.prodigitalsoftware.com. Click on "Products" and scroll down to Astronomy Tools. You will see a description of the software, some sample images, some testimonials, and a link to purchase it. The price of the software is $21.95 USD, which you can pay via PayPal or credit card. After you complete the payment, you will receive an email with a download link and a license key.


To install Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36 on Photoshop, you need to follow these steps:


  • Download the ZIP file from the link in the email and save it to your computer.



  • Unzip the file and copy the folder named "Astronomy Tools v1.6" to your Photoshop actions folder. The location of this folder may vary depending on your Photoshop version and operating system, but you can usually find it in one of these paths:



  • C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop [version]\Presets\Actions



  • C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop [version]\Presets\Actions



  • Macintosh HD/Applications/Adobe Photoshop [version]/Presets/Actions



  • Macintosh HD/Users/[username]/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop [version]/Presets/Actions



  • Open Photoshop and go to Window > Actions. You should see a panel with a list of actions. Click on the menu icon at the top right corner of the panel and select "Load Actions". Browse to the folder where you copied the Astronomy Tools folder and select the file named "Astronomy Tools v1.6.atn". Click "Load". You should now see a new set of actions named "Astronomy Tools v1.6" in the panel.



  • To use the actions, you need to have an image or a sketch open in Photoshop. Select the layer that you want to apply the action to and click on the name of the action in the panel. Then click on the "Play" button at the bottom of the panel. The action will run and apply the changes to your image or sketch. You can adjust the settings of the action by double-clicking on its name in the panel and modifying the parameters.



How to use Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36 for sketching star fields




An example of sketching the Owl Cluster and NGC 436




To illustrate how Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36 can help you sketch star fields, we will use an example of sketching the Owl Cluster (NGC 457) and NGC 436, two open clusters in the constellation Cassiopeia. The Owl Cluster is also known as the E.T. Cluster because it resembles the face of the alien from the movie E.T., with two bright stars as eyes and a triangular shape as a nose. NGC 436 is a smaller and fainter cluster near the Owl Cluster.


We will start with a simple pencil sketch of the two clusters on a black paper, using a reference image from an online source. Here is what our sketch looks like:



As you can see, our sketch is not very detailed or realistic. The stars are too big and blurry, the background is too dark and uniform, and there is no contrast or color in the image. To improve our sketch, we will scan it and open it in Photoshop. Then we will use Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36 to apply some enhancements.


The steps to apply the actions and adjust the settings




Here are the steps we will follow to enhance our sketch using Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36:


  • We will crop our image to remove any unwanted edges or borders.



  • We will use the action "Make Stars Smaller" to reduce the size of the stars and make them more sharp and realistic. We will adjust the slider until we get a satisfactory result.



  • We will use the action "Enhance DSO and Reduce Stars" to increase the contrast and brightness of the clusters and reduce the brightness of the stars. We will adjust the slider until we get a balanced result.



  • We will use the action "Space Noise Reduction" to smooth out the background and remove any noise or artifacts. We will adjust the slider until we get a smooth result.



  • We will use the action "Local Contrast Enhancement" to enhance the details and structures of the clusters and the stars. We will adjust the slider until we get a clear result.



  • We will use the action "Fix Green/Magenta Noise" to remove any color noise or cast from the image. We will adjust the slider until we get a neutral result.



  • We will use the action "Reduce Star Halo" to remove any halo or glow around the stars. We will adjust the slider until we get a clean result.



  • We will use the action "Enhance Faint Nebulosity" to bring out any faint nebulosity or dust around the clusters. We will adjust the slider until we get a subtle result.



  • We will use the action "Boost Color Contrast" to add some color and contrast to the image. We will adjust the slider until we get a vivid result.



  • We will use the action "Create Star Field" to add some more stars to the background and make it more realistic. We will adjust the sliders until we get a natural result.



Here is what our sketch looks like after applying these actions:



As you can see, our sketch has improved significantly. The stars are smaller and sharper, the clusters are brighter and more detailed, the background is smoother and more varied, and there is some color and contrast in the image. The sketch looks more like a photograph than a drawing, but it still retains some of its original charm and character.


The benefits and drawbacks of using the software




Using Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36 for sketching star fields has some benefits and drawbacks that you should be aware of before trying it. Here are some of them:


Benefits




  • It saves time and effort by automating some of the tedious and complex steps involved in processing an image or a sketch.



  • It offers a variety of functions that can enhance different aspects of an image or a sketch, such as stars, nebulae, galaxies, planets, etc.



  • It allows you to adjust the settings of each function according to your preference and taste.



  • It works with any version of Photoshop from CS2 to CC 2020, as well as Photoshop Elements from 11 to 2020.



  • It is affordable and easy to download and install.



Drawbacks




  • It requires Photoshop, which is not a free software and may not be available or compatible with your computer or operating system.



  • It may not work well with some images or sketches that have low quality, resolution, or contrast.



  • It may not produce realistic or accurate results for some objects or phenomena that have complex or dynamic features, such as comets, meteors, auroras, etc.



  • It may not suit your personal style or preference if you like to have more control or creativity over your sketches.



How to use Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36 for other astronomical purposes




Some other actions available in the software and their applications




Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36 is not only useful for sketching star fields, but also for other astronomical purposes. Here are some other actions available in the software and their applications:


  • Make Synthetic Flat Frame: This action can create a synthetic flat frame from an image or a sketch, which can be used to correct vignetting, dust, or uneven illumination. A flat frame is an image of a uniformly illuminated surface, such as a white wall or a light box, that can be subtracted from the original image to remove any unwanted gradients or artifacts. This action can be useful if you do not have a real flat frame or if you want to experiment with different levels of correction.



  • Remove Gradient: This action can remove any gradient or color cast from an image or a sketch, which can be caused by light pollution, atmospheric conditions, or camera settings. A gradient is a gradual change in brightness or color across an image, which can reduce the contrast and detail of the object of interest. This action can be useful if you want to improve the background and foreground of your image or sketch.



  • Fix Planetary Rotation: This action can fix the rotation of a planet in an image or a sketch, which can be caused by the planet's motion during the exposure time. A rotation can distort the shape and features of the planet, making it look oval or blurry. This action can be useful if you want to align and stack multiple images or sketches of a planet to increase the resolution and detail.



  • Add Diffraction Spikes: This action can add diffraction spikes to the stars in an image or a sketch, which are artificial rays of light that radiate from bright stars. Diffraction spikes are caused by the obstruction of light by the telescope's support structure, such as the spider vanes or the secondary mirror. Some people like to add diffraction spikes to their images or sketches to make them more artistic or dramatic.



  • Create Star Field: This action can create a realistic star field from scratch, which can be used as a background for other images or sketches. The action allows you to adjust the number, size, color, and distribution of the stars, as well as the brightness and noise of the background. This action can be useful if you want to create a custom star field for your project or presentation.



Some tips and tricks to optimize the results




Here are some tips and tricks to optimize the results when using Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36 for other astronomical purposes:


  • Always work on a copy of your original image or sketch, so that you can revert back to it if you are not satisfied with the result.



  • Always work on a separate layer for each action, so that you can adjust the opacity, blending mode, and mask of each layer.



  • Always save your work as a PSD file, so that you can preserve the layers and settings of each action.



  • Always experiment with different actions and settings, so that you can find the best combination for your image or sketch.



  • Always compare your result with your reference image or sketch, so that you can check for accuracy and realism.



Some limitations and challenges of using the software




Using Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36 for other astronomical purposes also has some limitations and challenges that you should be aware of before trying it. Here are some of them:


  • The software does not replace the need for proper observation, sketching, or imaging techniques. You still need to have a good telescope, eyepiece, camera, mount, filter, etc., as well as good weather, location, and timing conditions.



  • The software does not guarantee that your result will match your expectation or vision. You still need to have a good sense of aesthetics, composition, color, contrast, etc., as well as respect for the original object and its features.



  • The software does not work well with some images or sketches that have high quality, resolution, or contrast. You may need to resize, resample, or reduce the contrast of your image or sketch before applying some actions.



  • The software may produce unrealistic or inaccurate results for some objects or phenomena that have complex or dynamic features, such as comets, meteors, auroras , etc. You may need to use other software or methods to process these images or sketches.



  • The software may not suit your personal style or preference if you like to have more control or creativity over your images or sketches. You may need to use other software or tools to edit or enhance your images or sketches.



Conclusion




A summary of the main points and recommendations




In conclusion, Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36 is a software that can help you enhance your astronomical sketches and make them look more realistic and professional. It is a collection of 34 Photoshop functions that can improve different aspects of your sketches, such as stars, nebulae, galaxies, planets, etc. It is easy to download, install, and use, and it offers a variety of functions and settings that you can adjust according to your preference and taste. It also works for other astronomical purposes, such as creating star fields, removing gradients, fixing planetary rotation, etc.


However, the software also has some limitations and challenges that you should be aware of before trying it. It requires Photoshop, which is not a free software and may not be available or compatible with your computer or operating system. It may not work well with some images or sketches that have low or high quality, resolution, or contrast. It may not produce realistic or accurate results for some objects or phenomena that have complex or dynamic features. It may not suit your personal style or preference if you like to have more control or creativity over your images or sketches.


Therefore, we recommend that you use Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36 as a tool to enhance your astronomical sketches, but not as a substitute for proper observation, sketching, or imaging techniques. You should also experiment with different actions and settings, compare your results with your reference images or sketches, and use other software or tools to edit or enhance your images or sketches if needed. By doing so, you will be able to create amazing astronomical sketches that will impress yourself and others.


A call to action for the readers to try the software




If you are interested in trying Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36 for yourself, you can visit ProDigital Software's website at www.prodigitalsoftware.com and purchase the software for $21.95 USD. You can also find more tutorials and resources on how to use the software on their website and on YouTube. You can also join their Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/AstronomyTools and share your images or sketches with other users and get feedback and tips from them.


We hope that this article has given you a comprehensive overview of Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36 and how to use it for sketching star fields and other astronomical purposes. We encourage you to give it a try and see what it can do for your astronomical sketches. We are sure that you will be amazed by the results and enjoy the process of creating them.


FAQs




What are the system requirements for Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36?




The system requirements for Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36 are:


  • A computer with Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10 or Mac OS X 10.6 or later.



  • Adobe Photoshop CS2/CS3/CS4/CS5/CS6/CC/CC 2014/CC 2015/CC 2017/CC 2018/CC 2019/CC 2020 (32-bit or 64-bit) or Adobe Photoshop Elements 11/12/13/14/15/2018/2019/2020 (32-bit only).



  • A minimum of 1 GB of RAM (2 GB or more recommended).



  • A minimum of 100 MB of free disk space.



  • An internet connection for downloading and activating the software.



How much does Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36 cost?




Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36 costs $21.95 USD, which you can pay via PayPal or credit card on ProDigital Software's website at www.prodigitalsoftware.com. The price includes a lifetime license for one computer and free updates for future versions of the software.


Where can I find more tutorials and resources on Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36?




You can find more tutorials and resources on Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36 on ProDigital Software's website at www.prodigitalsoftware.com. There you can find a user manual, a video tutorial, some sample images, some testimonials, and a FAQ section. You can also find more tutorials and resources on YouTube by searching for Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36 YouTube. You can find more tutorials and resources on Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36 on YouTube by searching for the software's name or by following some of these links:


  • [Astronomy Tools Action Set Photoshop Overview](^1^) by AstroExploring. This video gives you an overview of some of the software's features and shows you how to load it into Photoshop. It also demonstrates some of the actions on an image of the Orion Nebula.



  • [Introducing the Astronomy Tools Action Set](^2^) by AstroAddict. This video introduces the software and explains what it can do for your images or sketches. It also shows some examples of the actions on an image of the Andromeda Galaxy.



  • [Noel Carboni's Astronomy Tools - Photoshop Actions](^3^) by ProDigital Software. This video is a promotional video for the software, featuring some testimonials from users and some sample images processed with the actions.



These videos can help you learn more about Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36 and how to use it effectively for your astronomical purposes. You can also find more videos by other users and reviewers who share their experiences and tips with the software.


We hope that you have enjoyed reading this article and that you have learned something new and useful about Astronomy Tools Actions Set 36. We invite you to try the software for yourself and see what it can do for your astronomical sketches. We are sure that you will be amazed by the results and enjoy the process of creating them. dcd2dc6462


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