Making a meteorite in Photoshop

In this lesson we will turn an ordinary computer mouse into a red-hot flying meteorite.


Step 1: Create Stars
In this step, we will create a starry background. There are many ways to create it (including in Photoshop).
Note: For example, you can take a lesson Draw a space and a planet.

The author decided to make stars in Cinema 4D.
If you don’t want to stop at this stage or you don’t have a Cinema 4D program, no problem, it will not affect the work process. You can create a simple black background in Photoshop and go directly to Step 3.

The process of creating stars by the author in Cinema 4D

In Cinema 4D we create a sphere.


On the right Attributes panel, enter the number of segments. I set 50, but you can experiment with this parameter.


Next, add the Explosion modifier to break the sphere into small particles.


Drag the Explosion modifier onto the sphere.


In the Attributes panel for the Explosion modifier, adjust the Strength parameter. I set it at 77%, but you can take any other value.


If you want more stars, use the copy-paste command and rotate the duplicate (s) using the Rotate Tool. You can also adjust the perspective by holding ALT and clicking on the particles to change their angle.


It’s time to render our stars; go to Render – Render Settings (Rendering – Rendering Settings).


By the way, I always use a large rendering resolution in the settings (in this case 9000x6000px). But you should always pay attention to the capabilities of your computer, since the larger the size of the final image, the more the program requires resources and the longer it will take to render. In the screenshot below you can see the parameters I used.


To render, just press SHIFT + R.

Close the text and read further.

Step 2: Working with Photoshop Drives
If you made stars in Cinema 4D or in a separate Photoshop document, then you should now import the star background into Photoshop.

Make the stars brighter by adding Brightness / Contrast adjustment layer (Brightness / Contrast). To create it, activate the required layer and click on the button. Create new fill or adjustment layer (Create a new fill or adjustment layer) at the bottom of the layers panel (black and white circle).
When you click on the button, a menu appears in which you select Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast).
Throughout the lesson, we will add a few more adjustment layers, so remember how it is done.
Experiment with parameters to get something similar.

Step 3: Add Object
I used Microsoft SideWinder X8 Mouse as the main object in this work.
Import the image of the mouse in Photoshop.

Step 4: Discolour the object
Create Gradient Map adjustment layer (Gradient map) by going to Layer menu – New Adjustment Layer – Gradient Map (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Gradient Map) (this is another way to create adjustment layers). Use a black to white gradient.

Step 5: Darken the Edges
Now we need to darken the edges of the object using Burn tool (Dimmer) (O) with a soft brush. Customize the tool:
* Range: Midtones
* Exposure (Impact): 50%
* Protect Tones inactive

Step 6: Lighten up the mouse buttons
Now we need to make the buttons a little brighter using Dodge tool (Brightener) (O) with a soft brush. Customize the tool:

* Range: Highlights
* Exposure (Impact): 30%
* Protect Tones inactive

Before you start, duplicate (CTRL + J) the layer with the mouse.

Step 7: Remove Object Parts
Now we need to remove some areas of the mouse so that it looks more harmonious with the background. Activate Eraser tool (Eraser) (E) with a soft brush.
* Mode (Mode): Brush (Brush)
* Opacity: 30%
* Flow (Push): 100%

Step 8: Create a Smoke Effect
Duplicate the mouse layer again. We warp this layer to create a smoke effect from a meteorite. Move on Edit – Free Transform (Edit – Free Transform) (CTRL + T), as a result, control points will appear, with which we will transform the object. Click the right button inside the transformed area and select Warp (Deformation).
We stretch the mouse, as shown in the screenshot below.

Then Filter – Distort – Wave (Filter – Distortion – Waves). Since the result of applying this filter depends on the shape of the object, its size and location, we set up parameters at our discretion.

Now mix the smoke with the original layer with the mouse. You can do this by using Eraser tool (Eraser) (E). We remove unnecessary areas, trying to make everything look natural and there are no abrupt transitions.

Step 9: Create the light under the mouse
Now we need to create a simple light source under the mouse. We use Brush tool (Brush) (B) with a soft white brush.
* Mode (Mode): Normal (Normal)
* Opacity: 10%
* Flow (Push): 100%

Create a new layer under the layers with the mouse. On a new layer, clicking 1-2 times, draw light spots.

Step 10: Create Light Lines
In this step we will create brighter light lines enveloping the meteorite.
Start by creating brush (B) simple shapes in the center of the working canvas.

Transform lines using Free transform (Free Transform) (CTRL + T).

Then rotate diagonally, again using Free transform (Free Transform) (CTRL + T).

From this line we have to create a curve using Warp (Deformation). We press CTRL + T, to enter mode Free transform (Free transform), right-click inside the transformed area and select Warp (Deformation).

Use filter again Filter – Distort – Wave (Filter – Distortion – Waves) for the curve. Try to keep the line from being too thick.

Step 11: Light Effects for a Meteorite
When a meteorite, flying down, picks up speed, a bright glow is formed around it. That is what we are trying to create.
We use Filter – Blur – Motion Blur (Filter – Blur – Blur in motion) for the lines that we created in the previous step, and positioned on the side of the mouse.

Duplicate (CTRL + J) layer to enhance the effect and add more glow.

Duplicate the glow layer and go to Image – Adjustments – Invert (Image – Correction – Invert) to change the colors of the copy.

Step 12. Continuing to draw light strips with Brush tool (Brush) (B).
* Mode (Mode): Normal (Normal)
* Opacity: 10%
* Flow (Push): 100%
* Color: # 464646

Create a new layer and draw strokes, then change the layer blending mode to Linear dodge (Linear Dodge).

Step 13: Fine-tuning Adjustment Layers
Create an adjustment layer Gradient map (Gradient map) and make adjustments using yellow, purple, orange and blue colors. After that change the blending mode to Linear dodge (Linear clarifier) ​​with opacity (opacity) 50%. Thanks to this, colors have become more intense.

Add new Brightness / Contrast adjustment layer (Brightness / Contrast) under a layer of Gradient Map (Gradient Map).

Then create another Brightness / Contrast adjustment layer (Brightness / Contrast), but this time we create it above the previous three adjustment layers. On this layer, I added a layer mask and filled it with black. White soft brush (B) we conduct in those places of light streaks, which should be brighter.

Step 15: Apply the Render
Now we will use Dark Render.

Add render to work and apply Edit – Transform – Warp (Editing – Transformation – Deformation) to edit the render as we need. You can duplicate a layer several times to enhance the effect.

Add Brightness / Contrast adjustment layer (Brightness / Contrast) above the render layer to increase the intensity of the glow.

Step 16: Add Color
Now we have to add some color to our meteorite. Start by creating a new layer. We use Brush tool (Brush) (B) to draw red lines (# fe0000).

Change the blending mode to Color (Chromaticity) so that the glow is only slightly red.

Create an adjustment layer Blackwhite (Black and White) above the render layer to reduce color saturation. You can also use Eraser tool (Eraser) (E) and layer mask to correct the effect of the layer Blackwhite (Black and white).

Create a new layer and again using soft brush (B) red (# fe0000), draw in areas where we want to add a red tint. Blend Mode Change to Color dodge (Lightening the basics).

Create Gradient Map adjustment layer (Gradient map) using yellow, purple, orange and blue colors. Change the blending mode to Overlay (Overlap) and reduce opacity (opacity) up to 40%. This will reduce the light intensity in front of the mouse.

Step 17: Make the composition softer
At this final stage, we slightly soften the resulting composition. To begin, we save the work in the TIFF format. To do this, go File – Save As (File – Save As) and from the drop-down list of formats, select .tiff. Open the saved .tiff file in Photoshop as a new separate document. Duplicate layer (CTRL + J).
Apply Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur) for copy. Copy this layer to the main working document.

Create a layer mask. Activate Brush tool (Brush) (B) with a soft black brush and remove excess areas from the blurred layer.


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