Photoshop Tutorial: Nebula

This tutorial will show you how to design a nebula texture.

Step 1

Create a new RGB non-transparent document with the dimensions of 256x256. Note: this size is important… the dimensions must be a multiple of 128 for the texture to remain seamless.

Step 2

Set your foreground color to black and background color to white before continuing.

Step 3

To fill the image with a Fractal Cloud Pattern, use Filter » Render » Difference Clouds. In order to make the design more complex and interesting, repeat this filter several times Cmd+F (PC: Ctrl+F) until you’re satisfied with the look. Between each application of the filter, if you want a “sharper more defined” image, use Image » Adjust » Equalize.

Step 4

The next step is to add some color to the Fractal Clouds. To do this we’ll use Image » Adjust » Hue/Saturation. Once you get to the Hue/Saturation Dialogue Box, check Colorize. Move the Hue slider until you find the color you’re looking for (e.g. a nice shade of purple or your preference). If you want to tone down your colors, drag the Saturation slider down a bit. If you like what you see, hit OK.

Step 5

Now we get into the “nitty-gritty” of the tutorial. Let’s enhance the design we have even more by adding another layer of Fractal Clouds on top of this one.

Open your Layers Palette and create a new layer. Select the new layer and choose Edit » Fill (100% Black), to fill the new layer with black.

Once you have done this repeat steps 3 and 4 on the new layer. You might want to use a different level for Hue on your new pattern, so that the layers will be different colors.

Step 6

Now’s the fun part… we are going to overlay the two layers using one of the options on the Pop-up Menu on the Layers palette. This part you will have to experiment with until you get the effect you want. A few of the options for this are Screen, Overlay, Soft Light, or Hard Light, which all have various neat effects.

Step 7

Once the textures have been overlaid, we will be using an Adjustment Layer.

To create a new Adjustment Layer, click on the little “half moon” icon in the Layers Palette and choose Hus/Saturation (in older versions you may have to Cmd+click (PC: Ctrl+click) on the new layer icon in the layers palette, and then select Hue/Saturation). When the Hue/Saturation dialog pops up, click Colorize.

Next, select a hue that is the color you’d like to add into your texture. Just to add a little variation to how the Hue/Saturation will be applied, run the Difference Clouds filter on the Adjustment Layer a few times.

Step 8

Finally, flatten the three layers into one by choosing Flatten Image from the triangular shaped pop-up menu at the upper right of the Layers palette.

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