Creating an Exploding Supernova Star in Photoshop – Part I

The result of the lesson.

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When the stars die, they explode, leaving a huge flash of light that emits a lot more energy than the flash of the sun during its strong activity. This brilliant flash of light is so bright that for a brief moment it can overshadow the entire galaxy. Supernova stars appear in our galaxy every 50 years. In other words, somewhere in the universe, a star explodes every second. This is important because the remnants of these explosions ultimately become planets, satellites, water, and even life. Today’s lesson will demonstrate how to create the Supernova star, which is going to empty the entire solar system. In our scene we will depict a ring-shaped planet and a space fleet, trying with all its might to carry its legs in time.

In the lesson, we explore the cosmos from the point of view of a fictional civilization making its way through the universe; we will demonstrate methods you can use in Photoshop to depict your own cosmic landscape. In addition to textual content, this lesson also includes more than an hour of video tutorials to help you understand all the tricks and techniques. And now let’s get started!

Materials for the lesson:

Step 1 – Planet Giant
Let us begin the lesson from the creation, in the foreground, of the main object of our composition, namely, from a large ringed planet. And we will do this with the help of texture. So follow the link and download the texture.

Note of translator: The texture is paid, but you can safely take the texture from the screenshot, because you will still blur it.

Ok, as soon as you opened the texture in Photoshop, duplicate this layer and rotate the copy 90 degrees counterclockwise.

Set the layer with copy mode overlay Overlap (Overlay), so we get good intense colors, and then merge these layers.

Now we go to the Menu Filter – Blur – Motion Blur (Filter – Blur – Motion Blur). Blur can be applied completely horizontal, as shown below, and repeat the filter application about 6 times.
Note translator: in order to repeat the filter several times without returning to the menu, you can use the combination Ctrl +F.

Let’s do some creativity. Take the tool Finger (Smudge Tool) with a large soft brush, as shown below.

We start the smearing in the horizontal direction, so we eliminate all absolutely straight lines on the texture.

Now reduce the brush size a bit, as shown below. So you can smudge some areas in more detail throughout the texture. The video tutorial will give you some idea of ​​how to do this. After reviewing the video for this part, you can come to this stage more creatively.

Once you are happy with the look of your blurred texture, create a new layer.

After the layer is created, take a blue sample from the canvas, and brush as indicated below.

Now let’s change this brush a little by adding some changes in the settings of the brushes palette. Change Transmission (Transfer) and Form dynamics (Shape Dynamics), as shown below. Put the Pen pressure (Pen Pressure) and change Opacity swings (Opacity Jitter).

Set the settings for the shape of the brush tip as in the screenshot. As you can see in the preview window, we get an interesting cloud brush.

Ok, now let’s start painting small clouds with a brush, as shown below.

Now let’s add a little shadow to this cloud, it will look more realistic. Use the settings below.

Take a darker color swatch, and use the same brush to draw some darker spots on the cloud, thus making it more depth.

Now create more clouds, but don’t overdo it, it’s just the details.

Take the tool Finger ((Smudge Tool)) and smear the edges of the clouds so that they merge into the blurred texture streams.

Once you are satisfied with the result, combine both layers together.

Now it’s time to create our final document. Use the settings below and fill the background with black.

Now just copy and paste our texture onto this new document on a new layer.

Scale it within the document.

Activate the tool Oval selection (Еlliptical marquee tool) and, holding down the Shift key, create a selection to the very edge. Right click on it, select the option Transform selected area (Transform Selection) and change it as shown below.

Great, now invert the selection (Select – Inverse / Select – Invert) and delete everything outside of it, now we have a perfect circle.

Now invert the selection again and go to the menu. Filter – Distortion – Spherization (Filter – Distort – Spherize) and change the look of your planet using the suggested settings, or experiment with your own.

Scale the planet (Edit – Transform – Scale / Edit – Transform – Scale) and then rotate a little, so it will look more dynamic.

Finally, add a correction layer. Levels (Levels) for a layer with our planet. We darken it. Settings are listed below.

We have turned a dark planet, but we still leave its edge without the impact of the correction layer. To do this, take a big soft Brush (Brush) black and erase the edge of the planet on the mask, as shown in the screenshot below. You get beautiful lighting on the planet.

Step 2. Flash and Outlook.
In this step, we will create flashes, take into account the direction of illumination, and also use the perspective grid to correctly position objects. We will use a big soft Brush (Brush) from time to time changing its settings like these.

And so, for the first flash, activate the tool. Brush (Brush) and choose a muted yellow color.

Choose a smaller brush and a brighter color.

Repeat the process as needed until we get the desired result. Now we just draw the flash, and we’ll deal with it in more detail later.

Create a perspective grid to properly position our objects. We need a new layer for this, and then go to the menu Filter – Outlook Correction (Filter – Vanishing point)

Now just click the mouse to create 4 points and drag the corners until you get something like the result below in the screenshot. Then in the filter settings, select the option Display grids in Photoshop (Render Grids to Photoshop). Now the grid will appear on our new layer.

Reduce a bit Opacity (Opacity) layer with a grid so that it helps us, and not interfere.

Step 3. Rings of the planet.
Now let’s create some rings for our planet. There are several ways to do this and we will use one of them. Create a new document with the settings listed below.

Choose gray and fill it with this new document.

Now activate the tool Ellipse (Ellipse) mode Layer layer (Shape layers) and draw a large circle in the center of the document.

Double-click on the thumbnail with the shape color and change it to black, as shown in the screenshot.

Double-click on the layer to bring up the layer style settings window. To create rings for the planet, we will use External glow (Outer Glow) and Internal glow (Inner Glow).

For External glow (Outer Glow) select in the settings a gradient from white to transparent. The gradient is not difficult to adjust yourself, but if you have difficulties with this, you can use the gradient suggested in the materials for the lesson. There is also a finished contour. Customize Opacity (Opacity) and Circuit (Contour) as shown below.

If you want to practice and adjust the contour yourself, then simply select any contour by clicking on its thumbnail and adjust the curve as you like. By dragging points, you can immediately observe the result on the document.

To create rings inside the circle, we will use Internal glow (Inner Glow). See the settings in the screenshot below.

It is very important to set up Range (Range) and Swing (Jitter) as well Smoothing (Choke), so we get smooth rings.

Now duplicate the layer with the rings, hide the original, and rasterize the copy and merge with the empty layer. This aligns all layer styles.

Load a selection from a hidden layer with rings and standing on a rasterized layer with rings, activate the selection tool, and right-click inside the selection. Select an option Feathering (Feather) with a radius of 50 pix. Then, to remove the center, click Delete.

Now you can copy and paste the rings into the main document. Set the blending mode for this layer to Screen (Screen).

Since the rings are made up of small particles, we apply a filter to them. Go to the menu Filter – Texture – Grain (Filter – Texture – Grain) and apply the settings below.

To remove the color of the grain, discolor this layer (Image – Adjustment – Desaturate / Image – Correction – Desaturate).

We’ve finished with the rings and now we’ll scale, rotate, and place them in the right place.
How to do this, see below. Editing – Transforming – Scaling (Edit – Transform – Scale), and Editing – Transform – Rotate (Edit – Transform – Rotate).

To hide part of the rings, create a layer mask by clicking on the icon at the bottom of the layers palette. Download planet selection by clicking Ctrl + click by layer icon with the planet.

And now, with a big black tassel, hide the mask on the ring, which will be behind the planet, as shown below.

Dim a bit of the ring using an adjustment layer. Levels (Levels). So that the adjustment layer only affects the rings, Create clipping mask (Create Clipping mask). Level settings, see below.

Hide the darkening effect on the lighted areas of the rings. Take the tool Brush (Brush), reduce Opacity (Opacity) doubled.

Now standing on the layer mask, erase the blackout effect from the opposite side of the planet.

Decrease Opacity (Opacity) layer with rings up to 43%.

Step 4 – Blast Wave Perspective
To start creating the main action of our image, we will use the perspective grid created earlier.
First, activate the tool Oval selection (Elliptical Marquee Tool) and create a large selection inside the borders of our image. Then create a new layer to start drawing.

Set a bright yellow color as shown in the screenshot and select a small brush as shown below.

Now draw a few strokes in the center of the selection, and in the menu Filter (Filter) apply Radial blur (Radial Blur) with the settings shown below.

Continue this process, but this time apply the filter Radial blur (Radial Blur) twice.

And again, repeat the same steps, but this time make strokes in a circle and several times, and then again apply Radial blur (Radial Blur) and this time three times.

Slightly reduce the effect of the last filter in the menu. Editing – LoosenRadial blur (Edit – Fade Radial Blur).

As you can see, by reducing the impact of the last filter, we can still see circular strokes, which give an interesting effect to the explosion.

Distort the explosion with the perspectives in the menu Editing – Transform – Distort (Edit-Transform-Distort), as well as scaling and placing in its proper place in our composition.

Set the blending mode for this layer to Screen (Screen) then duplicate the layer and copy set the blending mode Overlap (Overlay).

Here is the result of our work at the moment.

Step 5. Destructive explosion cloud.
Let’s draw a blast wave. To do this, create a new layer, set a bright yellow color and select Brush (Brush) as shown below.

Print with a brush several times to get something like the screenshot.

Select another brush and complete the drawing as shown below.

Once you are satisfied with the result, distort the explosion considering the perspective in the menu. Editing – Transform – Distort (Edit-Transform-Distort).

Select the proposed brush below and change its settings in the palette of brushes.

Add a few strokes in the area shown below. You can undo this action and repeat until you get a suitable result.

Use these brushes to complement the image.

Here is our result at the moment.

It’s time to add some personality and unique qualities to our explosion. To do this, activate the tool Finger (Smudge tool) with settings as shown below.

And now begin to lubricate the flow of the explosion, as shown in the screenshot.

Next, you need a new layer and another brush, with which we add details.

And one more brush to add a bit more variation.

Ok, as soon as you are satisfied with your result, distort this layer in perspective just as we did in the menu before. Editing – Transform – Distort (Edit-Transform-Distort) ..

And once again use the brush for details.

Activate the tool Eraser (Eraser) with a big soft brush (about 270 pixels) and erase the specified areas. So we give the image a sense of depth.

Now you can merge all the layers with an explosion. Select them, right-click and select the option Merge layers (Merge Layers).

Now is the time to continue smearing the streams throughout the explosion area to enhance the effect. More in detail this process can be looked at video. With a green arrow, the author indicated an area that he disguised from an explosion on the lower part of the planet, so that there was a feeling that the planet was in the area of ​​the blast wave.

Step 6. Clouds
Now it’s time to add color to our work. Create a new adjustment layer. Gradient (Gradient) above the layer with the blast clouds and select the gradient that the author has prepared and indicated below.

Set the blending mode for this layer to Multiplication (Multiply), adjust the gradient as shown in the screenshot and drag the center of the gradient to the top of the main light source.

Depending on your preferences, you can change the position of the colors of the gradient, or even if you want, you can change the colors to others that you like best.

After correction, duplicate this layer, hide the original, and rasterize the copy.

Activate the tool Finger (Smudge Tool) and select a brush for it as in the screenshot.

Now blur the layer with the gradient as shown in the screenshot.

To correct the gradient layer, add some more adjustment layers. First create a correction layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and create for it Clipping mask (Create Clipping mask).

Now set the settings for the layer as shown below.

Activate the layer mask, take a large soft Brush (Brush) and hide the effect of the layer in the specified area.

Add adjustment layer Color balance (Color balance) with the settings listed below.

And again mask the area on which there should be no effect from this adjustment layer.

Now create an adjustment layer. Levels (Levels) with the settings listed below.

Activate the layer mask, take a large soft Brush (Brush) and hide the effect of the layer in the specified area.

Go back to the planet layer and add an adjustment layer to it. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation). Set the settings as shown below.

Now fill the layer mask with black color, after that the effect of the correction will completely disappear.

Activate the mask, take a large soft white brush and erase it in the specified area. So color will appear on the planet.

Select layer Levels (Levels), which was created earlier for the planet and correct settings.

Now back to the original layer with Gradient fill (Gradient Fill), duplicate it and rasterize it.

Drag this layer to the very top in the layers palette and set its blending mode to Screen (Screen).

Now just reduce it. Opacity (Opacity) at 18%.

Activate the layer mask, take a large soft Brush (Brush) and hide the effect of the layer in the specified area.

Go back to the ring layer and add an adjustment layer to it. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation).

Set the settings as shown below. Thus, the rings will get a shade in harmony with the overall color gamut.

Step 7. Small planets.
In this step, to improve our composition, we will add small planets.
Activate the tool Ellipse (Ellipse) mode Layer layer (Shape layers) and create a circle as shown below.

Rasterize the layer and block the transparent pixels.

Use the specified brushes to draw a texture for the created circle.

Holding the key Ctrl, click on the thumbnail of the circle layer, so the selection will load.

Now go to the menu Filter – Distortion – Spherization (Filter-Distort-Spherize).

Apply the filter twice with these settings.

Scale the created planet and place it as shown in the screenshot.

Now we need a couple of adjustment layers for a small planet. To start, create an adjustment layer. Levels (Levels).

Set the settings for this layer.

Using a soft brush, erase the effects of the layer on the mask to create the bright side of the planet.

Then create an adjustment layer. Hue / Saturation (Hue / Saturation). Settings below.

Repeat the process to create another small planet that we place on the right side.

This is how our planets look like.

Now let’s move on to our top layer with a gradient and activate the tool. Polygonal Lasso (Polygonal lasso tool).

Create a selection as shown in the screenshot, right-click and apply Feathering (Feather).

Activate the tool Brush (Brush) settings below.

Now just work this brush on the gradient layer mask to get the effect as shown below.

Repeat the same steps for another planet.

This is how it looks now.

Now increase a little Opacity (Opacity) layer and select a soft brush again.

With this brush, just soften the shadows, remove the bright effect, behind the planet where the darkness should remain.

to be continued...

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