Editing astrophotography in Affinity Photo is straight forward thanks to Affinity’s powerful selection tools, adjustment layer and masking system. This sensor to screen episode walks you through editing a shot from raw file, processed in Capture On, through a detailed retouch in Affinity, to finished printable jpeg.
Notes on How it Was Shot
This image is an example of large scale light painting. The joshua tree in the foreground was light painted using an ungelled, daylight balanced LED light panel. The background rock was lit using a Paul C Buff Einstein E640 triggered via a Pocket Wizard TT5/MC-2 system. The Einstein was sitting on the ground directly in front of a joshua tree so that it projected a shadow onto the rock face.
The image was shot on a Nikon D3s and 28-70mm f/2.8 lens zoomed to 38mm. The settings used were ISO3200, f/4 and 15 seconds. The white balance, as usually for night skies, is approximately tungsten/incandescent.
Editing Astrophotography in Affinity Photo
- Disabling Sharpening: Sharpening is a final output step and depends on the way the output will be used (including the resolution). For intermediate exports for further editing, sharpening should always be disabled to prevent over-sharpening during successive exports/saves.
- Tungsten/Incandescent White Balance: Counter intuitively, even in very dark areas a tungsten/incandescent white balance generally works best. There are two reasons for this:
- Much of the sky glow is a result of light pollution from humans, which is generally incandescent.
- The sky glow not from human sources is very warm at night since it is filtering through our atmosphere from around the planet. It is effectively sunset light (very warm).
- Clean the File: The reason “cleaning the file” is the first step is because we will be duplicating the base layer several times. By cleaning the file first we avoid having to clean up defects (like plane trails) on multiple layers.
- Grouping Layers: When working with more than a couple of layers, in particular, with frequency separation of some layers, it is helpful to nest different portions of the images into groups. This way all the components of each portion of the image are organized together so they can be turned on and off together, and so that masks and other adjustments can be applied to them collectively.
Before and After
He is a self taught experiential learner who is addicted to the possibilities that new (to him) gear open up. He loves to share the things he has worked out. Andrew started with a passion for landscape and night photography and quickly branched out to work in just about every form of photography. He is an ex-software developer with extensive experience in the IT realm.