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In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create a sci-fi artwork featuring a space station. You will learn advanced blending techniques, but also some fantastic drawing, lighting and detailing techniques.
As always, this is the final image that we’ll be creating:
Create a new document and fill it with any colors you like. I get used with white canvas. You can start with the size you want but set the width larger than the height (mine is 1300×1000 px).
Hit Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+N to make a new layer. Press G to active Gradient Tool. I choose Radiant Gradient with two colors of blue as they are very easy to be edited.
Drag a line from the top left to bottom right :
We have a background with the bright part at the top left as I want it to be main light source for this picture (fit the light direction on another elements used in next steps).
Open starry sky stock. Drag it into our main document, resize and choose a part to be shown on main layer. You can choose the part you like but better not choose the brightest part at its bottom:
Name this layer “star background”.
Click the second button at the bottom of Layer Pallete to add layer mask for this star background. Now use soft black brush with different opacities to mask off unwanted parts (I clear stars on the bright part at the top left where the main light source will be set and blur another parts). You can see how I applied this brush in the screenshot shown the layer mask below:
This is result we have:
Change the mode of this layer to Lighten 100%:
You can see that most of stars disapreared or much blurrier.
Now I want to make remained stars on background more promiment and sparkle. On this star background, go to Layer-New Adjustment Layer-Levels and choose Clipping Mask option for this layer:
Open nebula stock pack. I choose this one to work with but the choice is yours. Place it on the top of layers with the part shown below:
Hit Cmd/Ctr+T to transform it until the brightest part of it set on the top left:
Use layer mask to blur some parts:
Change the mode to Soft Light 100%:
Call this layer “nebula 1″.
After changing mode to Soft Light this picture becomes bit darker. To fix it, I use a Levels layer with Clipping Mask:
Create a new layer and I use star brush, number 1148 with color #e0f5fc (light cyan) to spot on some parts over the background avoiding the top left (no need to paint much). Before painting press F5 to make settings for this brush as the image below shows:
Remember to vary brush size to get more natural result:
In this step we will add more details for the light source. Come back to nebula stock. Use Lasso Tool to make selection for this part and move into our main background, at the top left then transform it (Cmd/Ctrl+T):
Change the mode to Screen 70% then use layer mask to remove rough edges:
Name this layer “nebula 2″.
Copy another part from nebula image and place it at the top left again. You can see I always choose the section with stream of light ( as we’re creating main light source):
Press Cmd/Ctr+Shift+U to turn this part into black and white:
Then go to Edit-Transform-Flip Horizontal:
Edit-Transform-Warp and tweak the edges of this part as shown below:
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