Create your own galaxy in Photoshop – Part I

The galaxy is a huge cluster of stars, gas, dust and planets. According to astronomers in the galaxy can be from 10 million to 100 trillion. stars, and the entire galaxy, approximately, there are 170 billion in the entire universe. They differ in their form – from spiral and elliptical to irregular.

In today’s lesson, you will learn how to create a spiral galaxy, a fleet of spaceships that keeps its way through the universe to find a new home. We explore space from the point of view of a fictional civilization making its way through the universe, and we will demonstrate the techniques you can use in Photoshop to portray your own cosmic landscape.

In addition to the written content, this lesson also includes approximately 90 minutes of video instructions to help you understand all the intricacies. So what are you waiting for? Let’s start!
This is the cosmic landscape devoted to today’s lesson.


(click on image to enlarge)

Step 1 – Galaxy
Let’s start with the most important and important object in our cosmic landscape. This step may seem very long because of all the parameters, settings and clicks that you will need to go through, but the process itself is not complicated, and as a result of these actions you will get valuable practice.
To begin with, we will create a document where we will make the basis for the galaxy, but this will not be our main document yet, but an auxiliary one, so to speak. To create a document, use the screenshot below.

Now select the black color and fill your document with the tool “Fill .

Create a new layer.

Go to menu Filter – Rendering – Clouds (Filter-Rendering-Clouds). Then go back to the menu Filter – Rendering – Clouds with overlay (Filter-Rendering-Difference Clouds). Apply this filter twice on the same layer.

Here is what you should get after these actions.

Now let’s create a new layer and fill it with black with the tool. Fill.

This time we will use Filter – Rendering – Fibers (Filter-Rendering-Fibers) with the settings shown below.

Set this layer overlay mode. Overlap (Overlay) so that it blends well with the cloud layer, which we did a little earlier.

Then reduce Opacity (Opacity) to the clouds layer as shown below to blend the created layers even more, and then merge all the layers into one.

Create a new layer at the bottom of the layers palette and fill it with black.

Now create a large circular selection with Feathering (Feather) at about 50 pixels.

Now you can copy the selected area to a new layer. CTRL +J or just invert the selection SHIFT +CTRL +I and remove the already unnecessary part of the texture. As a result, you get a big soft circle with the texture you created.

To give the circle a twisting shape, we will twice apply the settings shown below.
Editing – Transform – Warp (Edit-Transform-Warp). In the toolbar settings panel, select the option Twisted (Twist).

Also use these settings.

This is what you will see on your screen in Photoshop, click OK and repeat the process again.

After all the actions that have been done, apply more. Filter – Distortion – Twisting (Filter – Distort-Twirl). The settings are shown in the screenshot below.

Now duplicate this layer, and using the copy we will be able to add more details.

Apply to copy Filter – Imitation – Strokes – Spraying (Filter-Brush Strokes-Spatter) with these settings:

This is what you get after applying the last filter.

Change the blending mode for this layer to Screen (Screen) and reduce Opacity (Opacity) up to 61%.

Duplicate the last layer created and apply a correction to it. Levels (Levels) with settings as in the screenshots below. Thus, we will strengthen some details.

Now select all the layers, excluding the black background layer, and merge them together by pressing the key combination CTRL +E or in the menu Layers – Merge Layers (Layers-Merge Layers).

It’s time to create our main document. Use the settings below.

Now fill the document in black.

Copy and paste the previously made galaxy into a new document on a new layer. Then, to inscribe the galaxy in the lower and upper boundaries of the main document, use the command Editing – Transform – Distort (Edit-Transform-Distort).

Before going further, let’s duplicate this layer and hide one of them by clicking on the visibility icon (the eye near the layer thumbnail).

Transform the layer as shown below, so we will get the galaxy in perspective and give it the right size.

Above the galaxy layer, create a correction layer. Gradient (Gradient).

First, select the standard gradient from white to transparent. Then we change it. Double-click the left gradient slider and select the blue color as shown below.

Set the gradient settings as in the screenshot below, and without closing the dialog, use the mouse to move the gradient to the center of the galaxy directly on the main document.

Then set the scale to 127 and click OK. Change the blending mode for this layer to Overlap (Overlay).

And now you need to adjust the gradient layer to our galaxy. To do this, we rasterize it, and then transform it.

For the gradient to affect only the galaxy, you need to create a clipping mask. To do this, go to the menu Layers – Create Clipping Mask (Layers-Create Clipping Mask). After that, combine these two layers together.

Now create a layer mask for the resulting layer.

Activate the tool Brush (Brush) and select a soft brush.

Mask areas on the galaxy to make it more dynamic.

Before going further, duplicate the layer with the galaxy and hide the original for a while.

On the copy, activate the mask and right-click, choosing the option Apply layer mask (Apply Layer Mask).

Now is the time to make our galaxy unique. First we use
tool Finger (Smudge tool) with these settings:

Begin to lubricate the galaxy, forming the appearance of a stream.

Reduce the brush size slightly and work through the tiny details around the galaxy, thereby improving the visibility of the flow being created.

Here you can see what we need to get after work with a finger, and yet, if you have your own vision, you can continue to improve your galaxy.

Then let’s make another copy of our hidden layer with the galaxy, and once again apply the layer mask.

Move the copy to the very top in the layers palette.

Apply to copy Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter-Blur-Gaussian blur), using the settings on the screenshots below.

The result after applying the filter.

Blend mode for this layer change to Linear clarifier (add) (Linear Dodge Add).

Also apply correction for this layer. Levels (Levels) in the menu Image – Correction (Image-Adjustments).

Here you can see the results of the process that was followed, as you see, it looks quite nice. Now we have a good galaxy base and we can continue to work.

Step 2 – Stars and Glow.
All galaxies are mainly composed of stars. Of course, every star is a planet, but what we see visually is just stars, hundreds of billions of stars. We will try to illustrate this, and for this we will need a special brush that will help us quickly cope with the task, without spending a decade on this process.
And so, we will continue. Create a new document and fill it with black.

Now activate the tool Brush (Brush) white and draw a few random points arranged randomly as shown below.

Create a selection around these points and invert the image in the menu. Image – Correction – Inversion (Image-Adjustments-Invert). Thus, we get black dots on a white background.

Now just define the brush in the menu. Editing – Define a brush (Edit- Define – Brush Preset).

Go to the main document. Expand the brush palette and find the brush you just created at the bottom of the list. We will change some of its settings.
First of all – Scattering (Scattering). Tick ​​the setting Pen pressure (Pen Preassure)

Secondly, Form Dynamics (Shape Dinamics). Tick ​​the setting Pen pressure (Pen Preassure)
And also change the settings in the option Brush Print Form (Brush tip shape), using the screenshot below.

Now let’s reduce the size of the brush, and on the new layer we will start drawing the stars that follow the flow of our galaxy.

Once you have added stars, duplicate this layer twice.

Here you can see that the view of the stars is enhanced, now select all the copies of the layers with the stars and merge them together by pressing the key combination CTRL +E or in the menu Layers – Merge Layers (Layers-Merge Layers).

Now we randomly erase some of our stars using a tool Eraser (Eraser). Select the brush for the eraser, as shown in the screenshot below.

Now just change the settings.

Once you are happy with the sight of your stars, duplicate the layer once more and merge these layers together. You can erase more or less asterisks as you please. Below you will see the result of the author.

In the screenshot below, you can see the stream, which we will try to enlarge and emphasize, eliminating some of the stars.

Now we will start working on the central part of the galaxy. Each galaxy has the largest cluster of stars in the center. To repeat this effect, create a new layer.

Now add a little brush to make the stars more obvious. Start working on the center of the galaxy, creating a nucleus. You can turn off the layer with the galaxy so that you can see better what you are painting.

After you are satisfied with the result, duplicate the layer three times and, of course, merge them together.

Scale and distort this layer relative to the galaxy, as well as you can erase some of the stars highlighted in red in the screenshot.

Above the core layer create an adjustment layer. Gradient (Gradient).

Now draw a gradient from the center of the galaxy, as shown below.

Set the blending mode for this layer to Hard light (Hard Light).
That will be the result.

Also distort the gradient layer relative to the center of the galaxy in the menu Editing – Transform – Distort (Edit-Transform-Distort).

On a new layer, drag the gradient again and set the blending mode for this layer. Linear light (Linear Light).

And again distort it relative to the galaxy.

Now, if you need to, erase the smooth edges of the gradient with an eraser.

Decrease Opacity (Opacity) of this layer to 60%.

Create a new layer and select a light blue tint.

Again, select the previously created brush with the stars, and check its settings as in the screenshot. Draw with a brush many stars in the center of the galaxy.

Add a layer mask to the last created layer and select a soft brush of about 50 pixels.

Set the black color for the brush and mask the areas indicated in the screenshot in red.

Great, now let’s duplicate our original galaxy, which we hid at the beginning of the lesson.

Activate the mask on the copy of the galaxy and right-click, choosing the option Apply layer mask (Apply Layer Mask). Then drag this layer under the topmost one in the layers palette.

Set the blending mode for this layer to Color tone (Hue).

Now, using the correction, change the color in the menu Image – Correction – Hue / Saturation (Image-Adjustments-Hue / Saturation).

Here is the result of the correction.

Add a layer mask and select a soft brush of about 50 pixels.

Erase the areas indicated in red in the screenshot on the layer mask, leaving only a few streams of golden yellow. If necessary, change the size of the brush.

Now let’s choose a dark brown color, as shown below, and select a very small brush — about 2 or 1 pix.

On the new layer, draw streams of dark matter.

Activate the tool Finger (Smudge Tool) and also install a small brush for it.

Start lubricating dark matter streams.

Now select a bright yellow color, as shown below, and add some bright highlights.

We have reached the end of this step and have this result.

Step 3 – Misty Cloud
In this step, we will create a cloud using a brush that has been used in other lessons in this series. Open the brushes palette and find the desired brush.

Note translator. To find the right brushes, follow the link to the lesson and at the top of the page you will find links to the lessons from this series. There already and find the download brushes.

Now let’s choose an intense blue color, as shown in the screenshot, and adjust the brush settings.

On a new layer, with a large tassel, draw a base for the nebula. If you do not like the result, repeat the step again.

Once you’ve painted the base, create a new layer below it. In the screenshot of the author, for convenience, the layers created in the previous steps are grouped together.

So, on the created layer, draw a few strokes with a blue tint as in the screenshot.

Now create a layer at the very top of the layers palette and choose a dark blue color.

Draw a few strokes on the border of the document again as shown below.

Select these three layers and group CTRL +G, Duplicate the group, we still need it.

Hide the original group and merge the new one in one layer.

Activate the tool Brush (Brush Tool), put a small size of about 2 pixels.

Now select a bright blue color, and on the new layer, draw a few strokes along the edges of the nebula, as shown below.

Back to the tool Finger (Smudge Tool) and set the brush size as shown below.

Mix the final touches with the cloud.

Now let’s merge both layers together.

Using the tool Finger (Smudge Tool), with the same settings, let’s improve the cloud. You can take a closer look at this process in the video tutorial.

At this stage, the author decided to slightly shift the group with the galaxy.

Activate the tool Gradient (Gradient Tool), select a radial gradient from white to blue. Create a new layer.

Then drag the gradient from the center of the galaxy to the bottom right corner.

Set the blending mode for this layer to Hard light (Hard Light) and can see the result.

Then create a layer mask for this gradient and use a large soft brush to mask the area that we do not need, as shown in the screenshot.

To be continued…

Author: Ed lopez
Translator: Fish.
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