In this tutorial we will be using Filters and adjustment layers to create a space art scene. Photoshop has a slew of Filter options that are useful for all different kinds of effects. Here we will be looking at how to create stars from the Noise filter, a nebula from the Render filter, and a planet from the Distort filter!

Image Used

Stock Photo - Planet Earth Earth globe 3d render, maps courtesy of NASA
1xpert @ 14916059

Step One

First, create a large new document. The bigger the better, we will crop down the scene as we go. Create a Color Fill layer and fill it with a dark teal green color (#041019).

1Step Two

Next, we are going to create the stars in the sky. We will be doing this using a very old trick with the Noise Filter. Create a new layer and fill it with black. Set the layer to screen. Go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise. Set the settings to “Gaussian”, Amount: 44, and check “Monochrome”. Now using the transform tool, enlarge the noise layer till you have something like you see below. Do not worry about blurriness.

2To color the (soon to be) stars, clip a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer on the noise layer. Check “Colorize”, and set the settings to Hue: 186, Saturation: 53.

3Above that, clip a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer and set the settings to Brightness: -150 and Contrast: 100.

4To finish off the stars, clip a curves layer above the last two adjustment layers and set it to what you see below:

5This is what you should have:

6Step Three

Now, we are going to create the nebula clouds. We will be using the Render filter to accomplish this! First create a new layer, above all your previous layers, and with the Elliptical Marquee tool with a high feather (60px or more) create an oval.

7Set your paint foreground color to Black and your background color to white. Go to Filter > Render > Clouds.

8Remove you circle marquee, and go to Filter > Render > Difference Clouds.

9Set the layer to “Color Dodge”.

10Step Four

Next, we will be shaping and creating the space nebula. With the Warp Tool, pull and stretch at your clouds until you have a base shape for your nebula.

11

12To brighten some general parts of the nebula, first we are going to duplicate the layer we just transformed. Next, clip in a Hue/Saturation onto the duplicated clouds layer and set the settings to Hue: 360, Saturation: 38 and check “Colorize”. Go back yo you duplicated clouds layer and add a black filled layer mask.

Now with a soft medium to large round brush set to a very low Flow (less than 10) and white, slowly paint in the areas you want to be brighter. Take your time and slowly build up the brightness. Above that create a new layer and set it to “Soft Light”. Now with a very large soft, round brush with the same low Flow, paint white over the nebula and black in the corners of the sky. Here is what mine ended up as:

13Create a new layer and set it to “Color Dodge”. Now, with a very pale medium blue (#a1c0db) and a small, soft, round brush with a very low flow paint in more precise lighting. Slowly build up strands of light and clouds. Simply make strokes with you mouse and fallow the already formed shapes.

14Create another new layer and set it to “Screen”. Using a medium to large brush paint a pale green (#146252) over the middle parts of the nebula, and anywhere you want the nebula to be brighter.

15Again, create a new layer and set it to “Soft Light” and with a small, soft, round brush paint white strokes over the already formed lines. Like making light wisps or light streaks. Again, we are doing this with a brush with a very low flow set to white. You can duplicate the layer to make the lines more intense.

16Finally, do the same only this time with black, and in areas you would like darker. Slowly build with the darkness like you did with the light.

17Step Five

To finish off the sky we are going to add some larger, brighter stars to out nebula. Create a new layer and set it to “Screen”. With a pale blue star shine brush paint stars throughout your nebula. Next, with a soft, round, white brush paint some white glow on the stars. Like large white blobs.

18To give the stars more color variation, create a new layer and set it to “Color Dodge”. With the same soft round brush, paint red over you stars and a very slight amount in the middle of your nebula. I painted a large area where I know my planet will be. If you are not oging to have a planet I would skip that step, and only paint red on the stars.

19Step Six

Finally, we are going to place out planet above out nebula. Grab a planet image (image number #14916059), and extract it from it’s background.

20To make the planet more round, select the outside of the plant and go to Filter > Distort > Sphereize and set the amount to around 35.

21To bring out the detail on the planet, go to Filter > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen and set the Amount to 500% and the radius to 0.3px. Do this step twice if needed.

22To create an inner and outer glow of the planet we will be using layer styles. The fist is an “Inner Shadow” with a Blending Mode set to “Normal”, a color of white, an Opacity of 76%, a Distance of 0 and a small size. The Size will depend on the size of your image, as mine is small my “Size” is only 11px. The next is am Inner Glow layer style. The settings are Screen, Opacity: 100%, Color: #73a4c8, and again the size will depend on your image, mine was only 32px.

23The last layer style is and Outer Glow. The settings are “Screen”, Opacity: 79%, and a size of 18px that will likely be larger for you.

24Step Seven

We are going to very easily paint some shadows on our planet. Create a new layer and clip it into your planet and set it to Multiply. Now with a very large, soft, round brush paint a very dark blue (#000416) in the middle and bottom of your planet. You can lower your layer opacity of needed. I set mine to “34%”

25Duplicate that layer and keep it clipped into the plant layer. Set the layer to “Soft Light”, and upped the layer opacity to “60%”.

26Now, create a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer and clip it into your planet. Set the settings to Brightness: -150. With a large, soft, round brush mask out the edges using black so that the edges of your planet is still bright, but the middle and bottom is not. Here is what mine looks like:

27Step Eight

Now, we will be using adjustment layers to give out image an over all color and mood. We will be using three differnt adjustment layers to do this. These will be placed above all other layers. The first is a Color Lookup layer set to “Horror Blue” with the opacity set to “43%”. The second is a Color Balance layer set to Cyan:-27, and Yellow:68.

28And above all other layers a Gradient Map layer set to black and white with a “38%” Opacity.

29Finally, to finish off the image and create more contrast, create a new layer below the adjustment layers you just created and set it to “Soft Light”. With a large, soft, round brush set to a very low flow paint black around the edges of the sky, and onto of the bottom part of your planet. Then switch to white and increase the light coming from the nebula and planet.

30And you are done! You’ve got your very own space scene and a new technique skill to use for your other design projects! Feel free to comment below if you have any issues while creating this tutorial!