Create a retro wallpaper with an astronaut in Photoshop

In this tutorial, we will learn how to create an astronaut’s retro wallpaper with bright colors and light effects using filters, adjustment layers and textures.

The final image.

Step 1. Create a document and background.

Create a new document of size 2560 x 1440 px with a transparent background. Set foreground color to # 1E1E1E and fill the layer. Rename it to Background 1.

Apply style to this layer. Gradient overlay (Gradient overlay) with the parameters shown below. Gradient colors are # 13121E and # 030303.

Create a new layer and rename it to Background 2. Fill the layer with white and add a style Gradient overlay (Gradient overlay). Gradient colors are # DB2B7A and # 9B2599.

Put this layer in a group (Ctrl + G) and rename the group to Background 2. Change the group’s blending mode to Overlay (Overlap).

Step 2. Stars, background

At this stage, for the effect of outer space, we will add stars. Install a set of star patterns in Photoshop, which you will find in the archive with resources for the lesson. Create a layer – fill Layer> New Fill Layer> Pattern (Layer – New Layer – Fill – Pattern) and select one of the star patterns.

Set the blending mode of this layer to Color dodge (Lightening the basics).

Create three more layers – fills with other star patterns and with the same blending mode Color dodge (Lightening the basics).

Add a little blur to the stars. Duplicate one of the layers with the stars and apply a filter to it. Filter> Blur> Motion Blur (Filter – Blur – Blur in motion). Place this layer below all layers with stars and set Fill (Fill) by 50%. Place all layers with stars in the Stars group (Ctrl + G).

Translator’s Note: First rasterize the layer, and then apply the filter.

Now we will create several groups of light lines. I started with green. Choose a tool Line tool (U) (Line) Welght (Thickness) 4 – 5 px and create 4 or 5 lines converging below in the center of the canvas.

Select one of the lines and add layer styles.

Copy the layer style and paste on other layers. To do this, right-click and select Copy Layer Style (Copy layer style), then on other layers PKM – Paste Layer Style (Paste the layer style). Merge all layers with lines into a Light Green group.

Repeat the process to create many other lines using different colors. Also use different colors in layer styles. If the line is purple, then styles should also be purple.

Select all groups with lines and merge Light Lasers (Ctrl + G) into one group. Change Fill (Fill) group by 75%.

Select the Light Lasers group and merge into one layer (Ctrl + Alt + E). This will create a new merged layer with all the lines. Rename it to Light Lasers Color Dodge and install Fill (Fill) by 25%. Place this layer in the group of Light Lasers Color Dodge (Ctrl + G) and change the blending mode of the group to Color dodge (Lightening the basics).

Create a new layer. Choose a tool Brush tool (B) stiffness 0% diameter of about 2000 px. Paint the stain in purple (# 92288C) as shown below.

Create a new layer and draw a blue spot (# 15B8E1).

Create a new layer and draw a yellow spot (# DCF100) in the lower right corner of the canvas. Select all layers with colored spots and merge into one (Ctrl + E). Then apply the filter Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur) with a radius of 600 px. Change the Fill (Fill) of this layer to 35% and the blending mode to Screen (Screen). Place this layer in the colors blur group.

Merge the group of Light Lasers into one layer (Ctrl + Alt + E). Move the layer above all layers and flip horizontally (Ctrl + T>Flip horizontal).

Apply a filter to this layer. Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur), with a radius of 30 px. Lower the Fill of this layer to 75%. Place the layer in the LightLasersBlur group. Then change the group’s blending mode to Linear dodge (Linear Dodge).

Step 5. Astronaut

Open the astronaut image and move it to work. Adjust the scale, rotate (Ctrl + T) and place as shown below. Place the astronaut layer in the Astronaut group.

Above the astronaut layer, create an adjustment layer. Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Black and White (Layer – New adjustment layer – Black and White).

Create a clipping mask and reduce the fill to 50%.

Create a new layer as a clipping mask. Choose a tool Brush tool (B) (Brush) stiffness 0% color black and paint over the glass on the helmet.

Create an adjustment layer Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Gradient Map (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Gradient Map) colors # AA009B – # F5F847.

Create a clipping mask and lower Opacity (Opacity) up to 30%.

Create a new layer as a clipping mask. Choose a tool Brush Tool (B) (Brush) with an opacity of 50%; stiffness; 0%; color is black and paint over the edges of the astronaut.

Apply style to this layer. Gradient overlay (Gradient overlay) with the parameters shown below.

Select all the layers in the group and merge into one layer (Ctrl + Alt + E). Then go to menu Image> Adjustments> Exposure (Image – Correction – Exposure)

Next discolor the layer Image> Adjustments> Desaturate (Image – Correction – Discolor). Change the blending mode to Luminosity (Glow / Brightness) and set the Fill (Fill) to 35%.

Create a new layer. Load the astronaut selection (Ctrl + click on the layer thumbnail) and fill the selection with white.

Apply filter Filter> Blur> Radial Blur (Filter – Blur – Radial Blur). Change the layer’s overlay mode to Overlay and Fill (Fill) by 50%.

Select all but the last two layers and merge them into one (Ctrl + Alt + E). Move it above all layers in the group. Next to this layer, apply the filter Filter> Other> High Pass (Filter – Other – Color contrast) with a radius of 5 px. Change the blending mode to Overlay (Overlap). Turn off the visibility of the group with the astronaut so that we can work with the background.

Add a few highlights on the background. Create a new layer. Choose a tool Brush tool (B) (Brush) stiffness 0% with a slight opacity (Approx. Translator: approximately 15 – 18%) and paint over the bottom of the canvas, as shown below.

Create another layer with a white brush (approx. Translator: opacity about 85 – 90%) paint over in the center of the intersection of the lines and slightly lower. Place both layers in the Back Highlights group and change the group’s blending mode to Color dodge (Lightening the basics).

Step 7. Reflection of the rays on the helmet

In this step, we will add a reflection of the light lines to the helmet. Select the Light Lasers group and merge into one layer (Ctrl + Alt + E). Place this layer above all layers and flip vertically (Ctrl + T> Flip Vertical).

Then flip horizontally (Ctrl + T> Flip Horizontal) and reduce the size to 50%

Go to menu Filter> Liquify (Filter – Plastic). Choose a tool Pucker tool (S) (wrinkling), brush diameter 1000 px and curved lines as shown below.

Create a layer mask and a black soft brush to hide the lines that extend beyond the helmet, as shown below.

Change the layer’s overlay mode to Lighten (Replace with light) and reduce the fill by 70%.

Step 8. Stars and highlights on the helmet

Open one of the images of the stars and move to work. Adjust the size (Ctrl + T) and place on top of the helmet.

Create a layer mask and a black soft brush to hide parts of the texture that extend beyond the helmet. Change the blending mode to Screen (Screen).

Create a new layer and fill with black. Apply filter Filter > Render > Lenses Flare(Filter – Rendering – Blick).

Edit the size (Ctrl + T). Put a highlight on the helmet and change the blending mode to Color dodge (Lightening the basics). Create a layer mask and erase the excess around the helmet.

Step 9. Glow on the background

Choose a tool Ellipse tool (U) (Ellipse) and create some small white circles. Merge all layers with circles into one layer (Ctrl + E). Then apply a filter to this layer. Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur) with a radius of 5 px. Place the layer in the Front Highlights group and change the blending mode of the group to Color dodge (Lightening the basics).

Translator’s Note: After merging the layers with ovals into one layer, before applying the filter, this layer must be rasterized.

Inside the group create a new layer. Choose a white soft brush with an opacity of 25%. Paint over the astronaut in some places to lighten it up a bit, as shown in the second image below.

Translator’s Note: Brush opacity 25% – too bright. I advise you to reduce to 10%.

Create another layer within the group with the same brush with a 25% opacity and lighten some spots in the background.

Now we hide some parts of the rays. Select the group with the Light Lasers rays and add a layer mask to it. Choose a black soft brush and hide some parts of the lines on the mask. Repeat the same process for the group Light Lasers Color Dodge.

Stand on the topmost layer and press Shift + Ctrl + Alt + E. Apply filter to new merged layer. Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur) with a radius of 20 px. Change the blend mode of this layer to Hue and lower the Fill to 50%. Add a layer mask and hide the filter effect on the helmet.

Create a new layer, fill it with black and add noise Filter> Noise> Add Noise (Filter – Noise – Add noise). Change the blending mode to Hue and lower the Fill to 25%.

If you want to create a retro style, open the cardboard texture and place it above all layers. Change the blending mode to Overlay (Overlap).

The final result.

We are done! I hope you liked the lesson and you will apply these effects in your projects when creating retro illustrations.

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