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Spacescapes: Comets


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

Greetings fellow Paint.net users, 


I'm a new member, just made an account today, but I've been working with paint.net for about a year and have just now begun to get the hang of it (my pc crashed months ago so I went about 7 months without it, finally decided to redownload it 'cause why not, right?).




I have gotten into the amazingness that is Spacescapes, or creating images of space, using Paint.net


Most of what I know now I learned from forums just yesterday (just started making these yesterday, have a lot to learn still but I'm getting there) but some I figured out from playing around. 


As I was making my most recent creation which you will see below I thought, "Hmmm, a comet would look good in this." Unfortunately I didn't know how to make one so I went on here and found a tutorial using smudging. The result wasn't what I was looking for. So then I decided to play around with it and finally figured out how to make a decent looking one. 


I don't think there's a tutorial on how to make one this way, if there is then sorry for possibly repeating, if not then I hope you like it!


Step One:


Open a new file, default settings are fine for the size. 




Step Two:


Make a star background. (If you don't know how to make one then let me know and I'll make another tutorial on how to make it. It's pretty simple, though, and you can find it easily).




Step Three:


Paste a planet in a new layer and, depending on how close or far away the comet is, size the planet down. (If you don't know how to make a planet just let me know and I'll be happy to make another tutorial on that as well. This is a bit more complicated but still pretty easy to find, however). 


(This is a blue planet that I used for the final picture, which you'll see below. It has a gradient effect which is why half of it is transparent, it just helps make it more realistic looking and aids the lighting when placed in a black background, also helps the comet which you'll see in a second).




Step Four: 


Add a new layer and set your primary color to white. If you're going for authenticity then this color needs to be white, this is going to be the wispy white aura a comet has. 


Select the pencil tool and just go to town. Scribble nonsense around the planet (comet), but don't make it a giant blob. You need to resemble a tail like image around the comet or this won't work. (Look at the picture to see what I mean).




Step Five: 


Go to Effects>Blurs>Gaussian Blur. Play around with the settings on this a bit until you get what you like. If it's too low then you'll still see the scribbles mixed in with the blur but if it's too high then the blur will vanish and the effect will be lost. The amount needed changes for every comet, it depends on how big and long you make the tail out to be. This particular one called for a setting of 32. 


You should now have something that looks like this (and you should also have three layers). 




Step Six: 


Add another layer and select a different color. This one can be any color you want, red, green, blue, brown, but I like a nice blue color for comets so I'll stick with blue. This is entirely up to you, however, it's your comet after all :) 


After you set that color to your primary repeat the steps you did for the white tail, but scribble this color significantly smaller than the white.


You should have something along these lines after you finished scribbling. 




Step Seven:


Again, go to Effects>Blurs>Gaussian Blur. Play around with the settings again until you get what you're looking for. Same as before, too little and the scribbles will bleed through, too much and it'll overwhelm the tail and look horrible. 


You should have something that looks like this.




And there's your comet!


Don't forget to flatten your image. 


This one isn't my best one, I just ran through it to give you all examples on what it would look like approximately. Once you get the hang of it you can make some really cool looking effects. 


Here's my first space picture that I made last night (I'm still working on my second xD )




(Oh that's what I did, I made the blue overshadow the white...I got that mixed up. MY BAD!) 


But, as I said, it's your comet. You can do what you want, this is just a guide to get you on the right track. 


Good luck if you decide to do this!

More space tutorials will come soon, hope you like it!



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Good outcome. Thanks for sharing.


CP, your images are oversize. Please reduce the size as per the rules :D


I know so many tutes say to flatten but I'd warn against this. If layers are left intact as much as possible then you can alter things if you need to without too much drama.

You can also reuse bits - like the rings ;) 


Best bet is to save it twice - once as a PDN file & once as a PNG (lossless format) or whatever format you wish. 


Good to see that you have posted this as a guide & have encouraged folk to experiment. Looking forward to more tutes :D


Knowledge is no burden to carry.


April Jones, 2012

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Ah true, I save them as both automatically so I just thought it was a standard "obvious" step, I forgot that tutorials help those still learning as well, my bad :L 


Also didn't know about the picture size, that is completely my fault (guess I should have read the rules/guidelines beforehand, whoops). 


I'll keep that in mind (and correct the sizes of these), thanks! :D

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