Create Surreal Planetary Object in Photoshop

In this Photoshop tutorial, I will show you the process of creating this awesome looking, surreal planetary object in Photoshop.

In this Photoshop tutorial, I will show you the process of creating this awesome looking, surreal planetary object in Photoshop. Along the way, we will use the 3D function in Photoshop CS6 to render the base sphere, as well as the use of clipping masks for applying the textures over the 3D render. We will use a number of selection tools and free transform tools during the process. Various layer blending modes will be applied to achieve the best result possible.

The PSD file of this tutorial is available via the PSD Vault VIP members area.

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

PSD Vault VIP Membership

You can download the PSD File for this tutorial via the VIP Members Area for only $6.95/Month (or less)! You will not only get this PSD File, but also 200+ other PSD Files + Extra Goodies + Exclusive Photoshop tutorials there. Signup now and get exclusive!

OK Let’s get started!

To complete this tutorial, you will need the following stocks:

Rock Stock 1

Rock Stock 2

Fire Stock

Nebula Brushes

3D Sphere Render (if you don’t have Photoshop CS6)

Step 1

Create a new document sized 1400px * 800px with black background. Create a new layer and use the Ellipse Tool to draw a circle with no fill colour and no border color:

1 eclipse
1 draw

If you have Photoshop CS6, you can go to 3D > New Mesh from Layer > Mesh Preset >  Sphere and create a sphere. If not, you can simply down the 3D render here:

1 sphere

You can slightly adjust the global light and the coordinates of the sphere, according to the settings below:

1 3d camera
1 coordinator
1 rotate

Once you’re happy with the sphere, right-click this layer and go to “Render” and render this 3D object:

1 right click

You can covert this layer into a smart object for future editing, and here is the effect so far:

1 render

Step 2

We can work on the texture application for this sphere in this step.

We can dig two holes for this planet to the following positions, using layer mask:

2 erase

Use the cloud filter to render some smoke into the holes:

2 cloud

Optionally, you can use a particle brush to add some dots around the planetary object to act as stars:

2 particle

Load the Rock Stock 1 image into Photoshop and grab a small piece of it, paste it over to our document and set this new layer as clipping mask to the planetary object layer:

2 clipping mask

Add the following 3 adjustment layers as clipping mask on top of the rock texture layer:

Black and White

2 bw


2 curves


2 levels

and you will have the following effect so far:

2 effect

Step 3

Load the Rock Stock 2 image into Photoshop and select the top portion of the rock as shown below:

3 select

Copy and paste the selection onto our document and position it as shown below:

Hint: you will need to use the free transform tool to adjust the shape and size of the rock.

3 rock

Use a soft eraser to carefully remove the bottom of the rock, so it blends with the planetary body:

3 rotate

Repeat the process above to add another rock piece to the right side of the planetary body:

3 rock 2

Optional: we can add some particle effect around the rock with a particle brush:

3 particle

and here is the effect so far:

3 effect

Step 4

We will add some fire effect to our planetary object. Load the fire stock into Photoshop and select the following portion:

4 select fire

Copy and paste the selection onto our document, then experiment the following 4 blending mode and see what result they bring to the image:

  1. Color Burn
  2. Color Dodge
  3. Overlay
  4. Vivid Light
4 blending

Repeat the above steps and apply fire texture to different parts of the planet as shown below:

4 effect

Step 5

We can add some small asteroids into the image. Go to the Rock Stock 2 and select a small piece as shown below:

5 rock select

Copy and paste the selection to our document and use a small eraser to fade the edge of the rock:

5 erase

Apply the following Levels adjustment to this small rock layer:

5 lvs

Repeat the above steps and add more rocks to our image, as shown below:

5 rock

We can use the Nebula brush to add some Nebula effect to our image:

5 liquify

and here is the effect so far:

5 effect

I further added some colours to the image and here is the final effect: (click to enlarge)


That’s it for this tutorial! Hope you enjoy going through it and find it useful. Drop me a comment below if you have any question.

Till next time, have a great day!

  1. Nice tut,but its kinda mean not to have put the color balance info at the end of it,i love the effect but can’t seem to get the color balance as acuurate as yours :(

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *