Posted by: keystonelemur | November 14, 2008

Space art 101

In this tutorial you will probably need photoshop Cs3. The tutorial is still possible with lesser versions, but the clone stamp or healing brush must be used to blend the layers instead of the Cs3+ autoblend.

You’ve seen space work before, you couldn’t believe how real it looks and never believed that you could ever make such a thing as that. Wrong. With a copy of photoshop you can easily learn how to make planets, it is merely the mastery that is difficult.

What we’ll be making today

Step 1 – Getting Started

We’re going to begin with how to use NASA images to create a new planet.

Before we get started we’re going to need some images to work with here. Personally my favorite place to find great images to use is the Visible Earth project from NASA. The
best Satellite I’ve found so far is the Terra > MODIS. Download all the images below. Make sure to download the highest resolution image of each, if you want to find some more,
mix and match, even add a few more images from other satellites.

http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=233

http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=241

http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=282

http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=295

http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=1412

http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=1794

http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=1912

http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=1950

http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=1958

http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=2051

Into Photoshop, create a new image with the dimensions of 3000 x 3000 at default DPI. This may seem rather large at first but in all honesty there have been ones
made at 10000 x 10000 resolution or higher by other celestial artists.

Step 2 – Creation

Open each of the images and paste each onto a new layer, feel free to transform the images to get a good size. The beauty of creating planets is that there are almost no rules
against what you can (and most likely will be tempted to) do.

The images from NASA scattered around the page, any ordering or duplication will work, in fact I encourage it, it’s no fun if people copy me.

Select all the layers and go to the Edit menu and click Auto-Blend. Merge the layers. This will take away a majority of the work you have to do here but there’s still some manual
touch-ups that need to be made.

After the Autoblend (saves hours… Miracle tool in my opinion)

Auto Blend is found in the Edit Menu and all layers the effect is to be used on must be selected.

Take out the clone stamp tool and set it to 45% Opacity and 20% Flow and begin to blend some of the rough edges left behind. If you want to feel free to play with the opacity and
flow, water tends to work best with a higher opacity and medium flow while land works best with low flow inland and high on coastlines. This should take roughly 10-15 minutes
depending on the size of the image to get right. A trick to getting the shape and ridged edge of a shoreline is to get shoreline images to start with and clone the edges onto other
areas.

After some help from our friend the clone stamp tool.

Default: Opacity 45% Flow 20%

You now have a completed texture to work with, save this, it can be extremely useful for later (who said anything about starting from scratch every time?)

Step 3 – A Planet emerges

Take out the elliptical marquee and start at one corner holding shift and select down to the opposite corner. Hit Ctrl + j and Ctrl + click the layer. Go to Filter > Distort > Spherize at 100%. Put a black layer behind it and we have ourselves a planet.

After Spherizing the texture.

Found at

Filters Distort Spherize (100%)

A couple quick tweaks before we give it atmosphere. Duplicate the planet layer and go to Filter > Other > High pass and set it to 40. Apply it and set the layer mode to soft light
and merge.

Now expand the canvas size to 3500 x 3500, fill the background layer again to get rid of any lines. Duplicate the layer twice, on the top fill it with black and set the mode to
Screen. On this layer apply an outer and inner glow with the color #c2c1ff with no choke but a high spread. Take the second, fill it with black and use transform and hold shift as
you drag a corner down to about half the original size. apply a blur at 50 and set the opacity to 90%.

Step 4 – Completion, Further reading, and Inspiration

The planet is now completed ready to go. You can stop here if you want, but in Celestial Art the possibilities are endless. Of course I added a couple tweaks to the finished version, more of secrets I keep.

Great inspiration:
http://www.taenaron.deviantart.com
http://www.joejesus.deviantart.com
http://www.baro.deviantart.com
http://www.somnicelestia.deviantart.com
http://www.gucken.deviantart.com

My work:
http://keystonelemur.deviantart.com/gallery/#Space-Art

If you enjoyed this send me what you came up with or at least a comment. Thanks. These tutorials take time to write, I’d be rather disappointed if no one said anything.

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Responses

  1. Hi there, thanks for putting up such a great and simple tutorial. There was some slight issues with the direction you where given, it kind of misleading.

    the following paragraph:

    Take out the elliptical marquee and start at one corner holding shift and select down to the opposite corner. Hit Ctrl + j and Ctrl + click the layer. Go to Filter > Distort > Spherize at 100%. Put a black layer behind it and we have ourselves a planet.

    After you have cut and added a new layer (Ctrl + j) the original layer is still selected. Under your direction of Ctrl + the layer (ie new layer) selects both. Then to apply the filter, In which for the Filter to work it has the combine both layers as a smart layer. Which i don’t think was you intention to get the user to do and as you know it is not really a need action.

    secondly your last paragraph:

    Now expand the canvas size to 3500 x 3500, fill the background layer again to get rid of any lines. Duplicate the layer twice, on the top fill it with black and set the mode to
    Screen. On this layer apply an outer and inner glow with the color #c2c1ff with no choke but a high spread. Take the second, fill it with black and use transform and hold shift as
    you drag a corner down to about half the original size. apply a blur at 50 and set the opacity to 90%.

    This is totally vage, i assuming that for the Duplicated layers that have the layer styles applied to them, is that you have to selecte via the magic wand the space around the planet, inverse the selection then fill in black on the new layers?
    Also the inner and outer glow have different variable settings. Lastly the blur filter… which one is it? i spent a good 2 hours trying to mess around to find the right one. In the end i just use a light render.

    I thought id let you know about these issues with the tutorial. I really like the tutorial thought and i’m away to mess around with the others. I quite like the website too, however the hover over info on your images drives me demented lol.

    All in all your doing this of your own back i think is amazing. It stuff like this internet is all about. Take Care and Keep up the good work. C

  2. […] Space Art 101 […]

  3. […] Space Art 101 […]


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