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Starscapes


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This tutorial is available as a PDF. Click here to view or download it

After giving flip some advice on starscapes, I decided to make a tut.

1. First step is pretty simple, fill the canvas with black, run add noise with 0 saturation. Then brightness contrast -25/75

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2. Open up a new canvas that is 2x your starscape canvas, fill the canvas with black, then add noise at the same settings as earlier.. Run brightness contrast at -100/50, then run median with 100 percentile and a 1-3 radius. Next run a 1-2 px gaussian blur if you want. Now copy+paste and scale it down to your starscape's size, set layer blending mode to screen. Flatten all layers together.

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3. Now add a black layer this, and just erase the stars layer randomly, with a 50-100 opacity eraser. Make sure AA is off when you use the eraser.

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4. Here's the part where you really go crazy :) Merge down with your black layer, then duplicate. Grab the clone stamp tool, then randomly clone stamp from the star layer onto a new layer. make sure AA is off when you use the clone stamp. On the new layer you can set it to normal to just cover the old stars, or set it to screen and have it add to them. Also, you can mess with the opacity of these new layers. Merge down then repeat the process until you get something you like. Try to pick some areas where there won't be many stars, and some where there will be a bunch all clumped together.

Optional: You can try clouds with a small scale, then run dents with a large scale. Select this layer and put it to color dodge, then erase any big clumps of white that stand out.

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5. Once your done with that, make sure it's all flattened then duplicate the layer. Run gaussian blur at 6-8 px then go to color tint/color filter/curves or whatever, and then color this new layer, then set blend mode to additive. If you want, you can repeat the process with a smaller guassian blur radius.

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6. Now you can add some larger stars if you would like, but I'm not going to.

7. Last and optional step, is to add some atmospheric dust. Personally I just render clouds at default settings, then dents with a large scale and a stretch of 1-2 towards your light source/planet. Then run alpha mask without a mask loaded to get rid of the black, then set to a really low opacity.

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And now your done! Comments/criticism/questions welcome :)

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Wow this is amazing. But on step 4 with the clone stamp I'm not getting any result like yours Sharp. I guess Im not doing something right :roll:

Make sure your using a fairly large brush size. Also, make sure that when you click the spot to clone from, that your on the star layer, then switch to the new layer. This step takes quite a bit of time, be patient.

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Sharp, can I make a quick suggestion?

On the 2nd step, you suggest making a new canvas twice the size of the first one, which is fine. I find that duplicating the first star layer, zooming the canvas size out by holding CTRL + Wheel mouse, select all, then scale it larger than the canvas size. Then I would go on with the rest of the tutorial. Well written and very interesting.

Thoughts?

Officially retired from this forum. Have a nice day.

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Sharp, can I make a quick suggestion?

On the 2nd step, you suggest making a new canvas twice the size of the first one, which is fine. I find that duplicating the first star layer, zooming the canvas size out by holding CTRL + Wheel mouse, select all, then scale it larger than the canvas size. Then I would go on with the rest of the tutorial. Well written and very interesting.

Thoughts?

The only main difference besides the technique would be that if you use a new canvas layer the amount of stars would be a lot higher than if you just scale the existing star layer. Really it all depends on how many stars you want I guess. Also, it would be easier to make much larger stars with median than scaling.

Thanks for the comment :)

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Good job guys, only thing I would say for minoe is more small stars, and a little less glow around the stars. And for goonfella, try adding some bigger stars.

EDIT: and for planet textures play around with height field to normal map and clouds, or clouds with dents. Also, Try making an alpha mask of the planet, then duplicate the texture layer, and run emboss. Then run alpha mask, and mess around with blend modes and opacities. :)

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