Create a cosmic scene in 20 easy steps

At the end of this tutorial you will learn how to create stars in space, shades of light (not necessarily in space) and some shapes with a “space” feeling. This tutorial wants to help you learn different techniques and encourage you to play with your settings and other techniques involved in the creative process. Here’s how to create a cosmic scene in 20 easy steps.

Final image:

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Creating the space effect

Step 1.

Create a new layer by going to File->New. I used a document of 1000×1000 px at 72 dpi (screen res), in RGB mode, you can enter whatever dimensions you like, it’s your space.


Fill the layer with black.


Duplicate the background layer by pressing CTRL+J when the background layer is selected.


Now it’s time to create the stars


Having the background copy layer selected, go to  Filter-> Noise -> Add Noise with the following settings: Amount 30%, Gaussian Distribution and with the Monochromatic box checked. Hit OK and you will get a noisy image. Don’t worry, that’s what we’re looking for.



To get our image to look like a spacey star field, we have to bring in the blacks, to cover a big part of all the white dots.


So, go to Image-> Adjustments->Levels. The leves dialogue will pop-up and there we’ll have to push the blacks in, as i mentioned earlier. Depending on your image size and the amount of noise you have added, dial the blacks just as much as your eye likes.




Soften the stars a bit by going to Filter->Blur->Blur More. The stars! There theyare!

Creating the nebulas

Download the stormy fractal brushes from brusheezy. Now load the brushes. To do this, select the brush tool (B) and go to the brush drop down menu, and select load brushes. Select the newly downloaded brush (stormy9.abr) and click Load.

Step 7.

Create a new layer (CTRL+SHIFT+N). In this layer we will paint in the nebulas, or something like that.

NOTE! Create a new layer for each shape!


Having the brushes loaded, bring up the brushes window, (F5 or Window-Brushes) then select some stormy brushes and paint a circular form, or whatever form you like best for your final image.



The color you’re using while drawing the shapes is not important, because we we color them later with layer styles.


Now that you’re finished with the nebula painting stuff, let’s give them some color. I decided to use layer styles for this, so double click the nebulas layer and applygradient overlay using vibrant colors. Now apply an outer glow with low opacity and that’s it for the coloring part.




Select the shape with more interest in the composition of the image, duplicate it (CTRL+J) and apply a radial blur. To do this go to Filter->Blur->Radial Blur

I used the Zoom blurring method, best quality and an amount of 20.


Shades of light


Create a new layer for the lights. To do this press the create new layer icon on the bottom right of your layers palette, or press CTRL+SHIFT+N.  Now move the layer on top of the stars layer.


To create the shades, we need some clouds to blur, so hold ALT and Go to Filter->Render->Clouds with the default colors inverted (foreground black, background white). You’re probably wondering why you had to hold ALT for this step. Well, by holding ALT the effect of the filter you apply is stronger than normal.



Now apply a strong motion blur. Go to Filter->Blur->Motion Blur and give it a big and strong motion blur.

I used an agle of -45 and a distance of 999 pixels (maximum)



Having the light layer selected, change the blending mode from Normal to Hard Light.



Giving color to the shades of light. There are numerous ways to do this, i chose Color Balance.

Go to Image->Adjustments->Color Balance, and dial in the settings as you preffer.


If you think there’s too much light in there (definetly s), just go ahead and brush away the excess.

Step 16.

Grab the eraser tool (E), set the hardness to 0% (right click on the image with the brush selected) and start erasing. You can use a lower opacity for better effects.


Adding text


Create a new layer for the text. CTRL+SHIFT+N or click the create new layer icon from the bottom right of the layers palette.


Grab the type tool (T) and type in some text. I used the Abstract typeface, this is available at on along with other 12 good-looking typefaces.



Set the layer blending mode from Normal to Overlay


Apply layer styles to the text. I used the following settings:



I cropped the image for final preview so it has a bit more consistency in the composition.

Final image preview:


One more thing, before we end this. I want to say that this tutorial is meant to get your hand and mouse to exercise, like every other tutorial for that matter. Probably you’ve heard or read this before, but: you can always improve your design by playing with the different settings. Do it! Don’t just stand there!  The most important part is to experiment and find new techniques that can improve your design and make it better for you, or the client…or both!


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22 Comments Create a cosmic scene in 20 easy steps

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  3. mark May 13, 2009 at 13:57

    It looks awesome. Keep them coming!

  4. Michael May 14, 2009 at 03:49

    I like it a lllloootttt. Keep up the good work.

  5. Nora Reed May 14, 2009 at 06:24

    Looks great! I am learning so much about photoshop from all the fun tutorials i find on blog sites. Thanks for adding more to the collection and expanding my knowledge.

  6. Pingback: Cómo crear una escena cósmica en 20 pasos | CofreGrafico: Diseño, tutoriales Photoshop, iconos, wallpapers y wordpress

  7. Pingback: Create A Cosmic Scene In 20 Easy Steps | Design Newz

  8. Philipp May 16, 2009 at 06:36

    Nice Tutorial. I will try it!

  9. huwaw69 May 18, 2009 at 18:10

    this really rocks! HAHAHA very good you did a great job bro! hahaha

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  13. Christopher Jun 26, 2009 at 11:39

    Wow, looks great. Can you do it without prerendered brushes?

    Yeah… I thought so…

  14. Tom Jun 27, 2009 at 07:43

    Super work, thanks for the tutorial, I will play around with it.

  15. Mean Robot Jul 22, 2009 at 17:04

    Thanks. Also tried this one and mine turned out pretty. I’m excited. Thanks again.

  16. cadu Sep 13, 2009 at 12:37

    Awesome mannn.. Keep up the good work!!!

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  19. Chelsea Jun 28, 2010 at 07:15

    The end result looks fantastic, but I was hoping to learn how to make a cosmic scene from scratch, now with someone else’s brushes.

    I like the colors you’ve used though, and I’d never even thought of using the motion blur on clouds to make those streaks…thanks for that! :D Definitely will be using that one in the future.

    Everything in this tutorial is explained really well. :)

  20. muti Aug 2, 2010 at 08:11

    wow,you make it looks so easy,but i bet it’s hard to make…

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