The starry sky is a great way to add an interesting element to your photos or digital drawings. It may surprise you, but they are very easy to create in Photoshop. Although most of the steps are repeated in and of themselves, they are sufficiently simple, I will nevertheless dwell on each of them so that you understand well what is going on.
Materials for the lesson:
Open Photoshop and create a 2500px by 1600px document and a resolution of 150px per inch. Make the background white.
Step 2. Fill with black
From the menu Edit (Edit) select Run Fill (Fill). Select Color from the Use tab. Set absolute black (# 000000) and click OK.
Step 3. Create noise
From the menu Filter (Filter) select Noise – Add Noise (Noise – Add Noise). Set the amount to 100%. Select According to Gauss. Tick the box Monochrome and click OK.
Step 4. Duplicate the layer
Select a background layer in the panel with layers and duplicate the layer (Right-click – Duplicate layer or Ctrl / Cmd + J). Hide the new layer (click on the icon with the eye).
Step 5. Blur the first (background) layer
Select the first (background) layer. From the menu Filter (Filter) select Blur – Gaussian Blur (Blur – Gaussian blur). In the radius line, enter 0.5px and click OK.
Step 6. Create small stars
From the menu Picture (Image) select Correction – Levels (Adjustment – Levels). In Input Levels, enter 200, 0.42, 255. Click OK.
Step 7. Create big stars.
Select and turn on / show the first (top layer). From the menu Filter (Filter) select Blur – Gaussian Blur (Blur – Gaussian blur). In the radius line, enter 2px and click OK.
Step 8. Adjust the levels of big stars
From the menu Picture (Image) select Correction – Levels (Adjustment – Levels). In Input Levels, enter 170, 1, 172. Click OK.
Step 9. Add more blur
From the menu Filter (Filter) select Blur – Gaussian Blur (Blur – Gaussian blur). Set the radius to 1px. Click OK.
Step 10. Select the big stars and create a new layer.
At this stage, we need to isolate large stars and separate them from the black background. We do this using the Channels panel, select the stars, then delete the layer with large stars, create a new transparent layer, and fill our selection (that is, the stars) with white.
Let’s get started
With the top layer selected (big stars), open the Channels panel. Click on the small circle at the bottom of the panel (Download selected area (Load channel as selection)). You may not see any difference at all, but Photoshop has loaded the stars as the selected area, and we no longer need the layer.
In the panel with layers, right-click on the layer and select Remove Layer (Delete Layer). Create a new empty layer (click on the corresponding icon in the lower part of the panel with layers). On the menu Edit (Edit) select Run Fill (Fill).
Select Color from the Use tab, set to absolute white (#ffffff). This will paint the previously selected object (big stars) with white. Press Cmd / Ctrl + D to cancel the current selection.
Step 11. Add shine to big stars.
On the panel with layers, double-click on the layer thumbnail to bring up a window. Layer style (Layer style). Select External glow (Outer Glow) and open the External Glow layer style to view its properties.
Select the color box and set White (#ffffff). AT Blending options (Blending mode) select Normal (Normal). Set the size to 10px and click OK.
On the layers panel, right-click on any of the layers and select Merge visible (Merge Visible), in order to merge the two layers into one.
Step 12. Create the clouds
Of course, at this moment you can be quite pleased with the result, and you can use it in creating scenes with the night sky, but after working a little more, we will add variety to our stars and make them look less symmetrical and “computerized”.
Select White as the foreground color (hold D to select the default color and then X to change the background with the foreground). Create a new layer (Ctrl / Cmd + Shift + N).
In the Filter section, select Rendering – Clouds (Render – Clouds). On the panel with layers, change the blending mode to Lightening (Color Dodge).
We have a very spectacular night sky, which we can use where necessary, and the clouds add realism to the image.
Step 13. Space dust
We proceed to the next step, namely, we add cosmic dust and galaxies in the distance to our starry sky, as shown in the final image. I repeat, all this is quite easy, but it requires your personal approach, depending on what result you want to get. In the process we will draw on a new layer, placing it between the layers with stars and clouds.
Create a new layer between the background layer and the star layer (select the background layer and press Cmd / Ctrl + Shift + N). Select a new layer and tool Brush (Brush) (B). Set the opacity to 10%, hardness to 0%, and size to 450px.
Choose a beautiful color (dark shades of blue and violet work well). Draw a little around the entire perimeter of the image, creating a heavenly formation. Change the size of the brush to make it all look realistic.
Repeat this process until you are satisfied with the result.
Adjust the layer opacity if necessary.
Step 14. Add Blur
Make sure that the star dust layer is selected on the layers panel. From the menu Filter (Filter) select Blur – Gaussian Blur (Blur – Gaussian blur). Set the radius to 70px and click OK.
Step 16. Add a distant star / highlight
On top of all other layers create a new layer (Cmd / Ctrl + Shift + N). . Select a new layer and from the menu Edit (Edit) select Run Fill (Fill). Select black and click OK. Change the blending mode to Screen (Screen).
From the menu Filter (Filter) select Rendering – Blick (Render – Lens flare). Place the highlight in your own discretion. Set the brightness between 50% and 75%. Type change to 35mm. Click OK.
Since the star is created on a new layer, you can easily remove the layer and start over if you are unhappy with the result, or change the opacity in order to reduce the effect.
Step 17. Download Action
I created a Photoshop action to automate most steps (up to step 13), which eliminates many of the difficulties in creating a beautiful starry sky. It is in the archive.
Translator: Gilzidinov Ruslan