Create a cosmic illustration in Photoshop

In this amazing lesson, you will learn how to transform the sky and create an amazing picture from a science fiction movie in Photoshop using simple techniques.

Final result

Starting materials

Step 1

Images of the planets that were used in this lesson were taken on the NASA website. All photos on this site are open for public use.

Therefore, go over their site. It is quite difficult to understand the navigation of this site, however, their space images are the best ones you can find on the Internet.

Step 2

As a background, I used a picture of the sky, which I took at the end of the working day, when the sun was already very low and there were very few clouds in the sky. If you want to use this image with the sky, then you can download it from the link at the beginning of this lesson. Or pick your own image with the sky on the stock resources yourself.

Step 3

Once you have placed all the planets, further rasterize them. Choose a tool Magic wand (magic wand tool) and with this tool, select the black background on the images of the planets. Next, delete the highlighted black background.

Step 4

To combine the Earth with the sky, change the blending mode for the layer with the planet Earth to Lightening (Screen).

Mars is much closer to the observer, so we need to keep a little color shades. Change the blending mode for the layer with the planet Mars to Light replacement (Lighten)

Step 5

Next, we will add a shadow to the Earth.

To the layer with the planet Earth, add a layer mask through the bottom toolbar. A layer mask thumbnail will appear next to the layer thumbnail. Click on the layer mask to make sure it is active.

Choose a brush, the size of the brush is about 2/3 of the size of the planet Earth, the hardness of the brush is 10%, the color of the brush is black.

Next, click the brush near the bottom edge of the Earth image to hide this part on the layer mask, creating a shadow.

Step 6

Next, we will add the Sun, looking out from under Mars. To create this effect, we use rendering. Glare (lens flare), which we then duplicate.

First create a new layer, fill it with black color. Being on this layer, we go Filter – Rendering – Blick (Filter> Render> Lens flare).

Apply the settings shown in the screenshot below.

Move the cross to the desired position to position the highlight there.

Click OK.

Step 7
Change the blending mode for the layer with the glare on Lightening (Screen) to hide the black background.

Using tool Transformations (transform tool), slightly increase the flare scale. Place the flare right on the edge of the Mars image.

Next, duplicate the flare layer. To duplicate a layer, reduce the layer opacity to 50%.

We return to the original layer with a highlight with an opacity of 100%. Add a layer mask to this glare layer.

What I want to do now is to hide the patch of glare that overlaps Mars with an overlap, with the exception of the bottom right edge.

While on a layer mask, select a large black brush with a hardness of approximately 80-90%. Carefully paint over the image of Mars, leaving a small patch of light on the edge of the image. Next, reduce the diameter of the brush to restore the patch of glare that is the brightest.

Translator’s Note: reduce the brush diameter, switch the brush color to white, and then carefully restore the area where the highlight is the brightest, i.e. almost at the edge of the image of Mars.

Step 8
In conclusion, we will add stars to our scene. On the NASA website, I picked up a beautiful picture of the cosmos.

Step 9

Move the space image to our working paper, rasterize this image.

Next – you guessed it – change the blending mode to Lightening (Screen) to get rid of even shades, leaving only the stars and nebula … or nebula?

Play with the location and size of the stars. Next, as soon as you are happy with the starry sky, add a layer mask to the star layer. Now you can remove the stars that cover the sea and the planets.

To make the stars gradually visible closer to the top of the sky, use the tool Gradient (gradient tool), color gradient black. Drag the gradient from the middle of the image down. And then with the help of a black brush, as you have done before, hide the stars within the images of the planets.

Processing on your layer mask should look like the screenshot below.

Step 10

In the screenshot below, you can see how the layers are located in the layers palette. You will also notice that I added a correction layer. Levels (Levels) for final contrast correction of the entire image.

Step 11

That’s all! Thank you for being with me. Hope you enjoyed this tutorial.

Final result

A few more examples on this lesson that you can create using the techniques you have mastered today.

Author: Matt

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