advanced photoshop

Create Space Art: Part 2

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Tips & Tutorials, by The Advanced Photoshop Team

Enhance depth, lighting and texture to build a unique 3D scene

Create Space Art: Part 2

Thanks go out to Sebastien Hue, AKA Shue13 for this Photoshop tutorial. See more at See part 1 here!

Get all the tutorial files for this tutorial at

07: No Stars, no space

Create Space Art: Part 2

What’s a spacescape without a spread of bright stars? These are elements that will improve the authenticity of your image. To add them, begin by creating a new solid black layer and then add some white dots at varying opacity and sizes. Duplicate your new star layer, size it up or down, rotate it and reset the Opacity to 80%. Merge the layers, duplicate this new layer, rotate it again and add bigger painted dots with associated star colours. Repeat these techniques until you’ve created a believable spread of stars.

08: Focus the Lighting

Create Space Art: Part 2

Creating a definitive light source in your scene is another crucial step when producing believability. We’ll begin by importing the planet we created in Steps 2 and 3. Duplicate this and place your new planet layers in other areas of your image. If you want to vary the look of your planets, we suggest creating a file full of alternative textured globes and importing from this selection. The sunlight that’s represented here by a large white dot will define the position of your planet’s lighting.

09:Use 3D Files

Create Space Art: Part 2

Import the supplied ‘Spaceship_model_render.jpg’ and ‘Asteroids_render.jpg’ into your scene. We need to correct hard edges or pikes generated by the 3D program. Take the Lasso tool with Feather Radius set at 1px. Redefine the edges of the asteroids by erasing from your edge selection. This method is manual and offers a better degree of control when refining edges, however, you can save time using the automated Refine Edge tool. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+R to activate the tool’s option set instantly.

10: Apply Motion Blur

Create Space Art: Part 2

The elements here look a little too static, so we need to imagine how all the scene would look if animated. Picture this in your mind’s eye and try to think of the global movement of asteroids in space, for example. Select several asteroids and apply Filter>Blur>Motion Blur and simulate this movement with an applied Angle of -53 degrees and a Distance of between 4 and 6px. Try to be coherent when relating the motion of one element to the next.

11: Refine the Ship

Create Space Art: Part 2

Any spacecraft you create deserves special care. We want to draw the viewer’s eyes to it, moving towards our sunlit focal point. Add surface details with metal texture stocks, sci-fi textures, or any other royalty-free stock applicable, then warp them like we did in Step 5. Ctrl-click your layer and select Create Clipping Mask. Paint in typical sci-fi lights using a soft white brush. Just as in Step 3, add an Outer Glow with 100% Opacity, 0% Range and 12px Size set to Overlay mode.

12: Add adjustment layers

Create Space Art: Part 2

Add a Hue/Saturation layer with Saturation at +45. Add a Brightness/Contrast layer on top, with Contrast set at 45 and layer Opacity at around 60%. Paint hints of purple (#d293d2) using a soft round brush to a new layer beneath these adjustment layers. Use a soft round brush set to Color blending mode, at a low opacity around 10%. Also apply a Curves layer and set the RGB curves Output to 65, Input to 95. Set the Green curves Output to 55, Input to 80 and the Blue curves Output at 90, Input at 60.

13: Final Sharpening

Create Space Art: Part 2

Import the supplied ‘SUN FLARE.psd’ and set this new layer’s blending mode to Screen. After including a couple of red comets in the background and adjusting all the layers where necessary, we come to the sharpening stage. This will represent your final render clearly and crisply. Simply flatten your image by hitting Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+Opt/Alt+E then select Filter>Sharpen>Smart Sharpen. Set Amount to 70%, Radius to 0.6px and activate the More Accurate option. Duplicate the layer and select Other>High Pass, setting the Radius at 3px. Set this new layer’s blending mode to Overlay at 50% Opacity.

  • christain mass

    You have really created a gerat tutorial on Photoshop Online Free, thanks for sharing. Will try it today

  • you have done a great job. these means a lot to novice designers like me.