Creating a starfield, planet, and zoomed text in Photoshop CS4

ColdFusion wallpaper thumbnail This will be the first in, what I hope will be, a long series of Photoshop tutorials. First off, let's take a sneak preview of what we'll be designing...that's it to the right there. I'm using Creative Suite version 4, but most of these steps can be duplicated in older versions of either of these applications. The steps won't have any screenshots because I'll be recording a video that you can use to follow along. Let's go ahead and get started.

Oh, one more thing...keep your eyes open for pro Photoshop tips along the way. These are tips I've collected over the years. You'll recognize them by their distinctive starburst icon.

video camera icon
  1. Open Photoshop, then create a new document with the following properties
    • width: 800 pixels
    • height: 600 pixels
    • resolution: 72 pixels
    • background: transparent
    Note that I'm working smaller to make recording the video easier. Select whatever dimensions you prefer.
  2. Name the default layer black, then fill it with black.
  3. Create a new layer, name it small stars, fill this one with black as well
    • SHIFT + CONTROL + N creates a new Photoshop layer
  4. Select Filter > Noise > Add Noise, use the following settings
    • amount: 200%
    • distribution: gaussion
    • monochromatic: checked
  5. Select Filter > Blue > Blur more
  6. Add an adjustment layer. Select Image > Adjustments > Levels, use the following settings
    • shadows (black arrow): 230
    • midtones (grey arrow): leave alone
    • highlights (white arrow): 240
  7. Duplicate the small stars layer, name it large stars
    • CONTROL + J duplicates the currently selected layer
    • CONTROL + ALT + J duplicates, and lets you name, the currently selected layer
  8. Select the large stars layer, select Edit > Transform, scale the layer to about double it's current size. You might have to zoom out to do this.
    • CONTROL + T brings up the transform selection
  9. Change the layer blending mode of the large stars layer to screen, you'll notice immediately that your starfield has more depth
    • SHIFT + ALT + S changes the current layer (or tool selection) to use the Screen layer blending mode
  10. For the planet portion of the tutorial, you'll be visiting another site. Read through that tutorial and work it into your current Photoshop file. Come back when you're ready for the next step
  11. All done? Great. Let's move along.
  12. To the right side of your planet, type out some text, select a nice futuristic looking font. In my example, I use both Akashi, and Kontrapunkt. Make the text whatever size you like.
  13. Duplicate the text layer as many times as you like, rotating each one around the planert so that it's surrounded by words.
  14. Next, highlight all of the text layers, and merge them together
    • CTRL + E merges selected layers without affecting the others
  15. Select Filter > Blur > Radial Blur, use the following settings
    • amount: to your liking
    • blur method: zoom
    • quality: good
    You might have to do, and undo, this step several times to achieve your desired look
    • CTRL + F reruns the last filter
    • CTRL + ALT + F displays the filter dialog box with the last selected filter and settings

That's pretty much it. Once you've walked through these steps, you should have something that looks like this
ColdFusion wallpaper thumbnail
If you've got any questions, or comments, let me know...I'd love to hear what you think.

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