Space Dust

Accent any planet or space ship with space dust! This tutorial will show you a really easy way to make space dust in Photoshop.

Decide how big you’re going to want your space dust to be, and make a canvas that size. I made mine 1000px by 1000px so it is a larger image, and can always be scaled down to fit whatever I may need it for. You might need it bigger than this, so it’s up to you.

We will start by making stars!

Fill the canvas with black.

Create a new layer in the Layers window, and make it black as well.

Filter>Noise>Add Noise…

This is going to create something that looks like it is multi-colored and speckled.

Hit okay, then desaturate the layer, making all of the dots shades of grey and white. CTRL+SHIFT+U, or CTRL+U and drag the saturation slider all the way down.

CTRL+L to adjust the levels on that layer. Slide the left slider around and you’ll see how the stars become more vivid, as the black increases. The right-hand slider will adjust the white levels, play with that a little bit, as well as the middle slider.

This will produce a star field. (This image may be difficult for some of you to see the stars, but I assure you they are there).

Make another new layer and repeat these previous steps to make a second layer of stars. Once you have two layers, change both of their layer blending options to “Screen” so you can see the stars through both layers. Adjust the opacity of the layers to get the brightness that is right for you.

Onto the dust! Clouds… gas… whatever the stuff is.

Make a new layer. Select the Lasso Tool with a feather of 50px or so, and draw a random shape.

Fill this new shape with white.

Lock the transparency on this layer in the Layers window.

Now, go up to Filter>Render>Clouds

And this will produce some light clouds.

Do this again, at least twice more, all on different layers. Draw a different shape each time to give it some variety.

Now we’re going to add some color to these clouds!

Select the first cloud layer we made and adjust the Hue/Saturation on the layer CTRL+U. Check the “Colorize” box and play with the sliders until you get a color you like. This first layer I am going with a more reddish color.

The second layer I am making blue/purple.

And the last one more of a pink/magenta color.

And now we make it more “spacey” looking.

Change the bottom layer’s blending option to “Screen” in the Layers window. Change the middle layer to “Color Dodge”, and the top layer to “Color Burn”.

Lower the opacity of the layer in to somewhere around 60% (you can adjust all of this layer on).

You may find that you need some extra dust, so it doesn’t look so produced by a program. If you need more, you can either duplicate one of the layers you already have, or you can make more new dust since it’s so easy (which I recommend).

Take liberties and move your new dust around, rotating and scaling it however you like.

And make even more if you think you need it.

Final touches!

A couple layers down in the clouds we’ve made, add a new layer. Change the blending option on this layer to “Color Dodge” before we go any further. Select white as your foreground color, and choose a star-shaped brush from your collection. If you don’t have one you can play with the Brush tool with some different brushes until you get something you like.

Click in a bright spot in your picture, probably near the center of the cloud/dust mass. When you put this white color down, it’s going to displace all of the color and make it look like a bright light. This will take a couple tries to get it just how you want it to look, but it’s very easy to do.

Finished!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial! Happy universe-creating!

By Kirin Knapp

Kirin Knapp is a graphic designer for the iEntry Network, publishing company of FlashNewz. A flash animator and illustrator, she is the creator of her home site, Inkdu.com.

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