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In this tutorial, I will show the steps I took to create this Create Awesome Abstract Nebula Circle Shape in Photoshop. This is an intermediate level tutorial so some steps can be a little tricky for beginners, but why not have a try!

Along the way, I will show you how you can combine the liquify filter with nebula texture and cloud to render some very interesting effect :)

Here is a preview of the final effect I have for this tutorial: (click to enlarge)

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OK let’s get started!

To complete this tutorial, you will need to the following stock:

Nebula Texture – by =Moonchilde-Stock

Step 1

Create a new document sized 800px * 1080px, filter the background with a dark grey color, and draw a base circle on a new layer:

Use Lasso Tool with around 30px feather to draw a selection, set the foreground colour to dark purple, and render some cloud into it:

Compress this cloud layer to a very thin strip, then warp it as shown below:

Apply the Twirl filter to make it look like a half circle:

Erase the unnecessary bits and attach it to the base circle:

Duplicate this layer a few times, rotate and resize them until they form a full circle shape roughly, then fill the background layer with black colour:

Step 2

Load the nebula texture into Photoshop, use Lasso Tool with 30px feather to select a portion:

Copy and paste into onto our image, warp it according to the base circle:

Bring up the liquify filter (Shift + Ctrl + X) and use the following settings:

Apply it to the position shown below:

and you will have the following effect:

Duplicate this nebula layer a few times, resize them and put them around the circle as shown below:

When you duplicate the nebula layer, make sure you adjust the layer opacity for each duplicate layer for some image depth:

and here is the effect so far:

Note: make sure you use a soft eraser to get rid of the rough edges when necessary:

Step 3

Now we’re getting into the liquify filter + cloud effect. Again we draw a selection with Lasso Tool (30px feather), render some cloud inside it, hit Ctrl + L and apply the following Levels settings to it:

Apply the liquify filter to this cloud as shown below: (you’re free to use whatever tip size you wish)

and you will have similar effect to this:

Attach this layer to the circle, also duplicate a  few times and scatter them around the canvas:

Step 4

Now we can put all those layers we made into a group, then duplicate this group twice, resize them and move them to the positions shown below.

You should also merge the layers under the duplicated group together, and lower their layer opacity:

Optionally, you can paint some stars/dots around the circle. You can find lots of star brushes around the net:

Step 5

I decided to use some alternative colour scheme for this image. So I go ahead and added the following three adjustment layers:

Black and White:


Color Balance:

and here is the effect so far:

Step 6

We’re almost done! To adjust the final effect, I flatten the image and duplicate the background, then apply the following Reduce Noise filter:

Then use the dodge and burn tool to add some highlights and shadows around the image, as shown below:

and here is the final effect: (click to enlarge)

That’s it! I hope you enjoy this tutorial and find it useful! Till next time, have a great day!

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