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How can I retouch photos of supernova veils to remove the smallest stars of the picture?

The goal is to allow the viewer to focus on the central nebula remains pattern, without too many stars artifacts.

Two examples are:

enter image description here

enter image description here

My first idea was to use Adobe Photoshop for Blending Options > Blend if... and adjust levels, but if I raise the lower luminosity threshold to discard of less luminous pixels, I discard too the aura of the luminous items.

I had no more chance with curves, but I have no real intuition or knowledge about how to efficiently use curves to achieve this result.

This question isn't limited to a particular software, if a software is more efficient for this task than Adobe Photoshop, the answer seems interesting too.


(*) Description: This Spitzer image transforms a dark cloud into a silky translucent veil, revealing the stellar winds from an otherwise hidden newborn star called HH46-IR. Spitzer's remarkable capacity to peer through cosmic dust allowed it to unveil this never-before-seen star.

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Hey you have a couple of options, personally I would play with the levels (Image > Adjustments >Levels) as there is plenty of control and I can't imagine you want to get rid of all of the stars but this certainly works for a tidy of the small and less luminous ones.

You can see a before/after below. I wan't sure how much of the starry noise that you wanted to get rid of so I just reduced it a little.

before after

In the next photo I adjusted the levels and also added a noise reduction filter (Filter > Noise > Reduce Noise.

So the filter;

filter

And before and after;

Beforeafter segment

Hope this helps.

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Indeed, to keep some start is better. Yes, that helps! Thank you. –  Uskiver Jan 31 at 0:11

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