xshock tutorial_04 - Space Background

26
Jun
Create a new document with a size of your choice. Set the foreground/background colors to black and white (or simply press 'D'). Add a new layer and fill it with black.
Go the menu and click
'Filter -> Noise -> Add Noise...'

and set the values

'Amount' - 20 %
'Distribution' - Gaussian
'Monochromatic' - Checked
Then go to the menu again and click
'Image -> Adjust -> Levels...'

and move the left slider (shadows) to the right so that the left value (shadows) below the sliders changes to '90'.
This is the result. Play around with the settings above (more noise, stronger contrast and so on) in order to get different stars.
Alright. Duplicate the current layer (containing our stars) and open the menu
'Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur...'

and set

'Radius' - 1,0
Go to the menu and click
'Image -> Adjust -> Levels...'

and move the right slider (highlights) to the left so that the right value (highlights) below the sliders changes to '50'.
As you can see we get some diffuse stars which we'll use to make the starry sky more interesting.
So we'll increase the contrast — open the menu
'Image -> Adjust -> Levels...'

and move the right slider to the left so that the right value below the sliders changes to '110'. Move the left slider to the right so that the left value is set to '30'.
Our result are some brighter/bigger stars. Take a soft eraser (with a size of about 100) and erase some parts if you want.
I've also added a 'black' layer which only contains black parts that were also erased with a softened eraser.
This is what I finally got after erasing some parts of the layers mentioned above.
Well. The next step is to create a nice looking nebula. I've done this by simply painting/erasing some parts with the 'brush'-tool. Set a size of about 100px and play around with the colors. I've painted pink/purple shades which differ only a bit.
So this is a shot of the 'Nebula'-layerset. It's very diffuse but it contains lots of transparent parts that will color our final result. That's it for the nebula shades.
The next things I've added are some cloudy parts (stardust). Create a new layer and go to the menu
'Filter -> Render -> Clouds...'

and use the 'Liquify'-tool afterwards by clicking the menu
'Filter -> Liquify'

Change the 'blending mode' of this layer to 'Color Dodge'.
Another stardust-effect can be achieved by creating some lightnings. Create a new layer and take the 'Gradient'-tool. Draw a similar gradient as you can see it in the figure on the left.
Now go to the menu
'Filter -> Render -> Difference Clouds'

and press 'CTRL-I' afterwards to invert the clouds.
Adjust the contrast by opening the menu
'Image -> Adjust -> Levels...'

and move the left slider to the right so the left value is set to '224'.
You should end up with a result like this.
Play around with the 'blending modes' of the stardust-layers. I've used 'Color Dodge', 'Soft Light' and 'Overlay'.
Erase some parts with a large softened eraser again in order to get a more interesting result. You could also modifiy the lightning with the 'smudge'-tool.
This figure shows my layerset called 'Nebula' and the lightnings we've just created.
Here you can see the 'Nebula'-layerset and the entire 'Stardust'-layerset. I've added some white parts with the 'brush'-tool.
All layersets activated: 'Stars', 'Nebula' and 'Stardust'.
The last thing I want to add are some bigger stars. We'll create those by using the 'brush'-tool with a custom brush. So select the 'brush'-tool from the tool palette and click on the 'brush palette'-button in the options. Select 'brush shape' in the brush settings-list and drag the upper point of the brush shape down to the middle (see figure).
Create a new layer and click one time anywhere on your canvas to draw one shape. Open the 'brush palette' again and rotate the brush-shape by dragging its arrow around (rotate 90°). Click on the canvas one time again and reset the brush to its normal shape. Click again to paint. Just take a look at the figure in order to understand what I've done.
Transform/resize/duplicate the stars as you wish. This is my result.
At last I'm adding a 'Color Balance'-adjustment layer to get some color variations. You can paint in the layer mask to reduce/adjust the opacity of the adjustment layer.
Alright. Here is our space background (or starry stars background). I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Below you'll find the link to the PSD-file of this tutorial.

Download [.psd]