nebula-final4

Create a Realistic Nebula Scene From Scratch

In this tutorial, I will show you the steps I took to create a realistic nebula scene from scratch in Photoshop. We will be using technques such as the Pen Tool, various filters for texture rendering, layer blending and some dynamic brushes.

I would also like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy new year and all the best for 2009! Thanks very much for visiting my blog and hope to see you again next year!

Here is a preview of the final result:

nebula final4 500x333 Create a Realistic Nebula Scene From Scratch

OK let’s get started!

Step 1

Create a new document sized 1200×800, fill the background layer with black colour. Make a new layer on top of the background layer and name it “Nebula Outline”.

Hit the “P” key to select the Pen Tool and make sure the “Paths” option is selected. I won’t go into explaining how to use the Pen Tool in this tutorial, but if you haven’t used it before, I have a post here with some links of the basics of Pen Tool.

Draw a random, irregular shape as shonw below on the “Nebula Outline” layer:

1 outline 500x331 Create a Realistic Nebula Scene From Scratch

Step 2

Still on the “Nebula Outline” layer and the Pen Tool selected, right click on the path and choose “Make Selection”:

2 make selection Create a Realistic Nebula Scene From Scratch

Apply the following settings: (I used 25 pixel feather radius because I would like the selection to be as smooth as possible)

2 feather Create a Realistic Nebula Scene From Scratch

Your path will now become a selection with 25 pixel feather radius:

2 after make selection 500x456 Create a Realistic Nebula Scene From Scratch

Step 3

Go to Filter > Render > Cloud and render some cloud, with White foreground colour and Black background colour.

Hit Ctrl + L to bring up the level tool, apply the following settings:

3 level1 Create a Realistic Nebula Scene From Scratch

Using the level tool we can adjust the input level of different colour channels. Your image will now look like this:

3 effect so far7 500x345 Create a Realistic Nebula Scene From Scratch

Step 4

Now we can some depth the Nebula. To do this, create a new layer called “nebula overlay”, use the Clone Stamp Tool with the following settings:

4 clone stamp tool 500x22 Create a Realistic Nebula Scene From Scratch

Hold down the Alt key + Left Click to define a Clone Source, cloud some cloud from the previous layer.

Because we used a reletively lower opacity and flow, you will see the difference between each cloud:

4 effect so far6 500x331 Create a Realistic Nebula Scene From Scratch

Merge the two layer together and name the merged layer “Nebula”.

Step 5

Nebula doesn’t only consist of cloud, there are also some small particles and dusts inside. Now we’re going add them in.

Duplicate the “nebula overlay” layer once and name this layer “particles”. Go to Filter > Sketch > Photocopy and apply the following settings:

5 photocopy 500x459 Create a Realistic Nebula Scene From Scratch

Then go to Filter > Sketch > Chrome and apply the following settings:

5 chrome 500x459 Create a Realistic Nebula Scene From Scratch

Change the layer blending mode to “Color Dodge” and set the opacity to 80%.

The result so far will look like this:

5 effect so far8 500x327 Create a Realistic Nebula Scene From Scratch

Optional: you can duplicate this particles layer a couple of time if you feel like add more paricles onto the cloud.

Step 6

Now we can add a bit motion into the image. Duplicate the “Nebula” layer once and put the duplicated layer above the “Nebula” layer. Go to Filter > Blur > Radial Blur and apply the following settings:

6 motion blur1 Create a Realistic Nebula Scene From Scratch

Then go to Filter > Distort > Ocean Ripple and apply the following settings:

6 ocean ripple 500x337 Create a Realistic Nebula Scene From Scratch

Change the layer blending mode of this layer to “Overlay” with an opacity of 30%. You image will now look like this:

6 effect so far6 500x324 Create a Realistic Nebula Scene From Scratch

Step 7

Create a new layer called “Star”, grab a 9px round circle brush, and apply the following brush dynamics:

Shape Dynamics

7 shape dyn Create a Realistic Nebula Scene From Scratch

Scattering

7 scattering Create a Realistic Nebula Scene From Scratch

Noise

7 noise Create a Realistic Nebula Scene From Scratch

Paint over the “Star” layer as the image shown below:

7 effect so far4 500x329 Create a Realistic Nebula Scene From Scratch

Optional: To add some light glow and softness, you can duplicate the “star” layer once, and go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian blur and apply the following settings:

8 gaussian blur Create a Realistic Nebula Scene From Scratch

Step 8

Create a layer called “Colour Overlay” and set the blending mode to “Color”, then simply grab a big round brush (300px) and choose some nice, space-feeling colour and paint!

You can also adjust the opacity and the flow of the brush for some colour depth. Hint: after painting colour, try duplicate this layer a couple of times and see what result that brings you.

Here is my result so far:

8 effect so far1 500x330 Create a Realistic Nebula Scene From Scratch

Ok that’s it for this tutorial! The rest is left upon your own creativity.

Here is my final image for this tutorial: (I simply erase some portions of the nebula cloud and add a shining planet to it!)

nebula final4 500x333 Create a Realistic Nebula Scene From Scratch

Hope you enjoy this tutorial and if you have any questions, just drop me a comment.

Thanks very much and have a wonderful and colourful new year!