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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Create an Attractive Star Field

In this tutorial, as in most of my lessons, the emphasis is not on the product you will end up with, but on the tools, techniques, and skills you will use in completing the activity. You should feel free to experiment. Deviate from the "recipe" and see what happens if you make some changes.

Among the things you will do in this tutorial:
  • Use the Blend, Bucket Fill and Elliptical Selection Tools
  • Feather and Move a selection
  • Manipulate the Layer Mode and Opacity
  • Use special brushes and modify Brush Dynamics
  • Create new layer and a Layer Mask
  • Use the Blur Filter

Some or all of these techniques may already be familiar to you, but hopefully, you'll learn something new. So, here we go ...

The Background Layer
1) Create a new image using the default settings (640 x 400, white fill).
2) Set the FG color swatch to a rich shade of medium dark blue. I used 1f4d64 (the HTML color code).
3) Use the Bucket Fill Tool to paint this as the background color of the image.

4) Reset the FG and BG color swatches to the default black and white.

The Gradient Layer
1) Create a new layer named "Gradient".

2) Select the Blend Tool and set the Gradient to FG to Transparent. Drag down from the top of the image about 3/4 of the distance to the bottom.

The Bottom Glow Layer
1) Create a new layer named "Bottom glow".
2) Use the Elliptical Selection Tool to create a short oval the entire width of the image.

3) Select the Move Tool and apply it to the selection. Drag the oval to the bottom of the image so that only half of it is within the image boundary.

4) Feather the selection by 25 pixels. (Selection -> Feather...)
5) Set the FG color to a light medium blue. My choice is adc3dc. Fill the selection.
6) Set the Layer Mode to Burn, Opacity to 50%.

The Stars Layer
1) Create a new layer named "Stars".
2) Reset the color swatches to the defaults and swap them so the FG is white, the BG is black.
3) Select the Brush Tool: Shape Star 06, Spacing 180, Scale: 0.4
4) Expand the Brush Dynamics settings: Pressure: Opacity, Random: Opacity and Size
5) Check Apply Jitter, set the Amount to 5.00.

6) Paint stars on the upper 3/4 of the image.
7) Apply a Motion Blur to the layer: Filters -> Blur -> Motion Blur..., set the Angle to 90 and the Length to 2.

8) Highlight the "Stars" layer in the Layers palette and select Layers - Mask - Add Layer Mask..., set to White (Full Opacity).
9) Swap the color swatches back to the defaults.
10) Use the Blend Tool (FG to Transparent) to apply a gradient to the layer mask from just below the lowest star to the top.

The Blue Stars Layer
1) Create a new layer called "Stars Blue".
2) Select the Brush Tool (which should still be showing the settings used earlier) and choose a light blue for the FG color. Something like c0d9f4.
3) Paint some blue stars in the upper third of the image.
4) Apply the same Motion Blur to this layer.

If you followed the directions fairly closely, your image should look something like this:

If you want to look for more interesting star brushes go to BlendFu.com


Tonya said...

That's beautiful but it would have been nice if you had included a path to the star you used.

I've searched through the path you sent and I can't find stars named Shape Star#

Tonya said...

I should have said star brush.

Anonymous said...
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clapat said...

First of all, thanks for your tutoriel. It's just what I need at this time for my work.
Please can you tell me where I can find the said "Shape Star" brush ?
I can't find it in my gimp version.
Best Regards.

歡唱 said...
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Thomas Boito said...

I think I found the star brushes here at Blendfu.com