In this Photoshop tutorial you will learn how to create a image of outer space.
Final Image Preview
Let´s start our tutorial by creating a new document with 1920×1200 pixels (72 dpi) and fill canvas with color #000000.
Create a new layer above the black one and fill it with pure white color (#ffffff).
We have now two layers: the black one and the white above it. For the layer with white color we change the Layer Blending Mode to Dissolve, layer opacity 1% (no more than this amount) and get something resembling space.
Create a new layer on top and give a name to the layer, for example “Nebula”. (Note: Right now we will be creating the galaxy but in the future this layer will hold the nebula). Select the Brush Tool, with a soft-edged brush, opacity 100%, 125 pixels in diameter, white color (#ffffff) and simply apply several brush strokes on the new layer as shown in the screenshot:
Apply the Filter > Distort > Twirl:
Deform the result a bit with the help of Edit > Transform > Perspective:
Further on we apply Edit > Transform > Scale:
And then we apply Edit > Transform > Rotate:
This shape suits to be the galaxy, but we will improve it. Apply Filter > Blur > Motion Blur:
And apply the Twirl filter once again Filter > Distort > Twirl:
We deform the galaxy again using Edit > Transform > Perspective:
Scale the galaxy to the desired size using Edit > Transform > Scale:
Rotate it a bit with the help of Edit > Transform > Rotate:
We now have our galaxy. Copy the layer by pressing Ctrl+J and name it “Galaxy”.
Any galaxy contains nebula, so let´s create one. Temporarily hide Galaxy layer (eyeball) and select layer Nebula. This layer should be blurred with the help of Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur.
Choose the Smudge Tool (Strength: 31%) and brush Spatter 59 (it’s a standard Photoshop brush), set diameter to 150 and begin stretching the nebula out a bit in the galaxy direction, at the same time we can change the brush diameter sometimes, for the galaxy not to be uniform.
We switch on visibility of the layer Galaxy.
Keep on changing the layer with the nebula, apply Filter > Distort > Wave:
Now we copy the layer with the nebula by pressing Ctrl+J. After that, merge the two layers which have the nebula into one using Ctrl+E.
With the help of Eraser Tool, we make the nebula more opaque to adjust its shape and transparency. The edge of the nebula is more transparent, but on the borders of the galaxy quite the contrary, though it depends on somebody´s taste, it´s advisable to use the brush with 500 pixels in diameter and opacity 45. Also we should slightly adjust opacity on the layer with the galaxy, especially on the edges.
Open PSD file that was created on Part 1 of this tutorial. Select layers Nebula and Galaxy and merge both layers by going to Layers > Merge Layers (Ctrl+E). We will have now three layers: black, white, and the one with the galaxy. It’s worth noticing that space is very beautiful, all colors can be found in it, so let’s add them into our galaxy. Create a new layer and change the layer Blending Mode to Color. After that select a soft-edged Brush Tool, opacity 10%, 300 pixels in diameter, color #5a78cc and paint it arbitrarily.
Keep Brush Tool selected and change color to #ff0000 to add red color.
Keep Brush Tool selected and change color to #fff000 to add yellow color.
Create a new layer. On this new layer we create the centre of the galaxy. Select a soft-edged brush, 500 pixels in diameter, color #ffffb7, opacity 100%.
Change the brush diameter to 300, white color (#ffffff) and apply.
Shape the shining to the galaxy outline with the help of Edit > Transform > Scale:
Rotate using Edit > Transform > Rotate:
Any galaxy needs stars and our galaxy is not an exception. To bring bright stars to the canvas, create a new layer, select a soft-edged Brush Tool, opacity 100%, white color (#ffffff) and open Brush Panel to adjust settings (Windows > Brush or press F5).
Select Shape Dynamics option and change settings.
Select Scattering option and change settings.
And on Transfer option update opacity to 100% and change Control to Pen Pressure.
Important: On older Photoshop versions there isn´t any Transfer option but Other Dynamics option is available and this is where you update settings.
With the help of this brush, change its diameter according to the situation and your taste and we can create stars along the outline of the galaxy and slightly beyond its bounds.
It´s worth remembering, that the closer the stars the bigger they appear to be on the picture. So you need to keep changing brush size.
There is also its own nebula around the stars. Duplicate the layer (Crtl+J) and blur the layer that is below using Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur:
Stars have color too. Select the Gradient Tool and set up following presets:
Go back to original stars layer and select stars. Create new layer and apply gradient.
Move this layer below both layers that contain stars.
Apply Soft Light Blending Mode for the layer with the gradient.
To be more realistic our galaxy lacks dust. To create dust we select standard Dry Brush, opacity 100%, black color (#000000), change the diameter according to the situation. We apply strokes along the galaxy shape on a new layer.
Now we adjust the dust outline using the Eraser Tool, select a soft-edged brush, opacity 50%, diameter according to the situation.
Then we remove hard edges of brush strokes and get realistic dust.
Now let´s apply color to the dust layer. We treat the dust in the same way as the stars, select the layer with the dust and apply the same gradient.
Apply the Multiply Blending Mode for the layer with colored dust.
It remains only to add volume to our image, we select a soft-edged brush, 900 pixels in diameter, opacity 30%, black color (#000000) and darken the image above and slightly on the edges on a new layer.
We can say the galaxy is ready but we can add some more details. Let it be very big stars or constellations. Create a new layer, select the Brush Tool and brush with 70 pixels in diameter, opacity 100%, color #6191dc.
Let´s change brush color to white (#ffffff).
Deform slightly using Edit > Transform > Scale and Edit > Transform > Rotate.
It´s possible not to deform and so it depends on your taste. Add a few stars on the same principle.