Stars in Sixty Seconds: A Photoshop Tutorial


#1

A good starry background is the key to any space skybox, thumbnail, or just about anything relating to space. Today, we’re going to be creating a beautiful starry background in Photoshop in just a few simple steps. In this tutorial, I’m going to be using Adobe Photoshop CC 2018, but CS5, CS6, or an earlier version of CC will do just fine. Let’s get started!

What our final product will look like

First, you’re going to want to create a new document by pressing Ctrl + N on your keyboard or by navigating to “File > New”. You should be presented with a standard new document prompt that looks like this (in earlier versions of Photoshop this prompt will look a little bit different):

New Document Prompt

You can make your canvas size whatever you’d like, but for this tutorial I’m going to be making it 1024x1024 pixels. When you’re all good and ready, hit “Create.”

You should now have a blank canvas. This is where we’re going to make our star background. First, navigate to the color palette in the top-right and select black as your foreground color.
(If the color palette isn’t there, go to “Window > Workspace > Reset Essentials”)

Color Palette

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Now we’re going to select the paint bucket on the left (or press “G” on your keyboard) and turn our canvas black by clicking it. Now that we’ve got a nice black background, it’s time for the real fun to begin! Navigate to the “Filter” menu, and then to “Filter > Noise > Add Noise” like shown below.

Adding the Noise

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Upon clicking “Add Noise” you should be prompted with a window that looks like this:

Add Noise Window

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Now we’re going to change the amount to 400%, set the distribution to “Gaussian”, and then click OK. The canvas should now look like an old TV with no signal, like this:

Ye Olde TV Static

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Now we’re going to blur the noise ever so slightly so that the stars won’t look too sharp. Go to “Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur”. A window should pop up that looks like this:

Blur Window

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Set the Blur Radius to about 0.5 and then click “OK”.

Next we’re going to make it actually look like stars! Go to “Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels” and click “OK” when the window pops up. After clicking OK, the new layer should be automatically selected and a properties window should appear. We’re going to be adjusting the midtone input level to achieve the starry effect. The midtone input level is controlled by the middle slider and the box right below it which should have 1.00 as the current input. We’re going to change it to a range of 0.05 to 0.1. If you want it to be darker, set the midtone level to a number closer to zero.
(I have the midtone input level box selected in the screenshot in case you need help finding it!)

Levels Panel

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Once you’re happy with the brightness, we’re going to desaturate the stars quite a bit, because they usually aren’t that colorful. So go to “Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation”. A window should pop up, but we don’t need to change of the settings, so just click “OK”. The new layer should be automatically selected and a properties panel that looks like this should appear:

Hue/Saturation Properties

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Now, drag the saturation slider down to anywhere between -80 to -90 for good looking color. You may have to readjust your levels after this to get a look and feel that you want.

The Final Product

And that’s it! A beautiful looking star background in just a few simple steps. Time to get out there and make something amazing with it!


#2

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#3

#4

The final product looks like a bunch of random noise… Not that that’s bad, but a beginner could easily replicate this effect in Paint.NET for free:

All one needs to do is create an all black background and then go to Effects > Noise > Add Noise. From there, adjusting the values will allow you to change how your “stars” look.

However, I would personally never use such a trick for a final product, because, like I said, it’s obviously just noise. I guess I should make my own tutorial on how I would make stars…


#5

Hey there! I’m sorry if the title wasn’t more clear, but this was not intended to be an advanced tutorial. I’m sure there are many other ways to create stars that look far more convincing, but the purpose of this tutorial was for simplicity and to show that you don’t need to spend 5 hours in Photoshop to get a good looking product.

As for the final product looking like a bunch of noise, I’m not sure why that would happen. I’ve gone through this tutorial myself many times and always ended up with something that looks like stars. If you either don’t blur the noise enough or blur it too much, the end result will still look like noise. For example, here is one I just made where I did not blur the noise enough and the end result looks like a bunch of white pixels scattered about:

Screenshot

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Obviously if you don’t want to use this tutorial, you don’t have to use this tutorial and are free to find one that you think yields a better looking final product. Once again, I am well aware of the simplicity of the tutorial as it was very much intended.


#6

That’s fine, I was just saying a beginner who would use this probably doesn’t have PhotoShop installed.

I think it’s great you want to help out though


#7

I think if outerglow was added with a bit of white at about 25% opacity It would look more visible and nicer