How to paint a Nebula From Scratch

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In this tutorial I will go over every step of making a starry galaxy scene from scratch. No brush downloads required!

The Base of The Nebula

Once you have a canvas of your desired size, right click on your paper layer to make a fill in mono layer. As shown in the below picture.

Make it a dark blue or purple.

A quick way to do this is by using New Layer > Fill(M)

Star Texture

Go to the Material palette, and open the Monochromatic pattern folder. It is located within the Texture Folder.

1. Select a grainy texture. I chose the Mortar texture. Now drag it onto the canvas.
2. Decrease the size of the material so that it appears more fine or starry.

3. Use the clip to below layer function, to clip it on top of our fill in mono layer.
4. Select the mortar layer, then open the Layer property palette and click the Texture combine icon. A texture combine strength of 30 is fine.

Result so far:

The texture is monotonous so to break it up and diversify it. Go to Filter > Render> Perlin noise.

Here are the settings I used for my perlin noise:


Clip the perlin noise layer on top of the mortar texture layer. Set the blending mode to color dodge. And set the opacity to 45%.

Result so far:

Star Painting

Make a new layer and with a low pressure use the spray air brush to paint the nebula with DARK saturated blue, pinks, and whatever colors you want.

Set this layer to Add glow.

Now select the droplet airbrush brush, and make another add glow layer. Lower the particle size and particle density in the brush's settings. I went with the lowest particle density because I didn't want the stars to be too clustered. And my particle size is only 12 because I didn't want the stars to be too big.

For bright white stars use paint with a light white-ish blue. For a colorful space use saturated blues, greens, reds, etc. To make the stars brighter, duplicate this layer.

Hard Airbrush

Now use the Hard Air Brush with bright colors, like saturated blues, purples, greens, etc. Set the blending mode to Glow Dodge. Using the hard air brush with a color close to white will create very bright spots and streaks.

For super bright stars use the droplet brush again with saturated and very white colors.

Below shows the effects before and after of the hard air brush on the glow dodge mode.

On your glow dodge layer, also use the soft air brush liberally over the canvas. Bright colors have a bigger impact in this blending mode, so use a lot of them.

Also use the droplet airbrush brush again to your liking.

Now make a new glow dodge layer and use a large sized white airbrush to brighten the entire galaxy. Paint with light pressure.

Finally we're done. Use quick strokes of the hard air brush on the glow dodge layer to make shooting stars.

Thanks for reading my tutorial.





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