There are times when the term or phrase “filter” has some negative connotations, especially when discussing After Effects or Photoshop. However, in the case of Star Filter plugin for After Effects, it is completely unwarranted.

Named after the photographic effect of placing filters on your camera lens, specifically the Cross Screen Filter, Star Filter recreates this effect right in After Effects and allows you add realistic star streaks to virtually anything in After Effects with some pretty great control over the final result.

Star Filter from Scarab Labs is an effects plugin for After Effects that simulates a cross screen effect by adding star streaks to lights and highlights on your composition in After EFfects, and recently Star Filter has updated to version 2 which has matured to hold some significant new features.

One of the most notable new features is that you are now able to apply the Star filter Plugin to a Text Layer in After Effects where on earlier versions or the plugin, this was not possible.

Some other new additions to Star Filter include the ability to change the color of the streaks with a color picker, the ability to set the alpha to opaque for better use with some blending modes, and you are also able to have the streaks in Star Filter go beyond the extents of a layer which is a great feature for compositing.

Star Filter Plug-in 2.0 for After Effects adds:

  • Added the ability to change the color of the star streaks using a color picker.
  • Effect can now be applied to text layers.
  • Added the abilty to set the alpha channel to opaque in order to work correctly with several blending modes.
  • The star streaks will now expand beyond the extents of a layer.
  • Star size is now proportional to the width of the video.
  • Changed the maximum effect blend factor to 500%. This makes sense when using the cutoff feature, which has the side effect of dimming down the star streaks.
  • Potentially improved performance on multi-core CPU-s.
  • Fixed a problem with the blending formula in 16 bit mode.
  • Tweaked default settings.

Star Filter 2 Plugin for After Effects requires Adobe After Effects CS5 or newer and has a watermarked demo  you can get here: Star Filter Demo for Windows and for Mac Star Filter Demo for Mac. Star Filter 2 is available for Windows version US $59 and Mac version US $59