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In this tutorial, I will show you the processes I took to draw a realistic planet by applying waterstream texture in Photoshop. I’m sure you have seen heaps of planet drawing tutorials around, but you can still use this tutorial as a supplement to others :)

Along the way, we will be going through the use gradient tool, clipping mask, image adjustment tools, various filters and some selection techniques.

Here is a preview of the final images for this tutorial:

Ok let’s get started!

Step 1

Create a new document sized 800px * 800px, fill the background with Black Colour.

Create a new layer called “planet”, use the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M Key) to draw a circle. (Hold Down Shift Key while dragging the mouse to draw a perfect circle)

See image below for the position of the circle:

Step 2

Still on the “planet” layer, DO NOT deselect the selection, Use the Gradient Tool (G Key) andset the foreground colour to “#ffffff” and the background colour to “#282828”.

Fill the selection as shown below:

For more lighting contrast, use the Curve Image Adjustment Tool with the setting similar to this: (the setting maybe slightly different for each person, but the general idea is to increase the light from the top right corner)

Here is the effect you will want to achieve after the Curve Adjustment:

Step 3

Now we will apply some waterstream texture for our planet . Downloaded a copy of this image and load it into Photoshop, select the following portion of this image:

Copy and paste the selection to our document, resize it to the roughly size of the planet:

Name this layer as “water texture” and right-click the layer, select “create clipping mask”. Change the blending mode to “Overlay”.

Here is the effect so far:

Step 4

On the “water texture” layer, apply the following Black and White Adjustment Settings:

Then duplicate the “water texture” layer, go to Filter > Distort > Ocean Ripple and apply the following settings:

go to Filter > Distort > Glass and apply the following setting:

go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply the following settings:

Here is the effect after applying those filters:

Step 5

Create a New layer on top of the “water texture copy” layer and name it “cloud”. User the Elliptical Selection Tool with a 50px feather, draw a circle around the planet:

Go to Filter > Render > Cloud and render some cloud:

Step 6

Still on the “cloud” layer, apply the following Curve Adjustments:

Then apply the following Level Adjustment Settings:

Then Change the layer blending option to “overlay” with an opacity of 70%. Your image will now look like this:

Step 7

We will now add some motions to the cloud. Duplicate the “cloud” layer once, then go to Filter > Distort > Pinch and apply the following settings on the duplicated layer:

After pinching the cloud, apply the following level adjustments:

And your should have the following effect:

Step 8

Now we go back to the “Cloud”, grab a big soft brush and reduce to opacity and flow to 30%, choose a colour you like and simply brush over the layer:

Ok that’s it for this tutorial! The rest is left upon you own creativity. You can add some lighting effect and render some lens flare to create more dynamic light.

Below is my final image for this tutorial:

As usual, if you have any question, just drop me a comment.

Cheers and have a nice day!

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