How to Create an Amazing Space Battle Scene in Photoshop

How to Create an Amazing Space Battle Scene in Photoshop
In this tutorial, I'll show you how to create a sci-fi artwork with spaceship, planets and galaxy. You'll learn how to compose and manipulate some space elements together as well as blend them correctly and effectively. You can also learn to create some different kinds of lighting, work with groups, use brushes, masking and more.

Preview of Final Results

Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Create a new document and fill it with white. I make the width is a bit larger than the height. Make a new layer and press G to active Gradient Tool. I choose Radiant Gradient with color #000a18 and # 53657d:

Step 2

Open planet stock. Hide the black background and press Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+Alt/Option+E to merge all transparent layers. We will have result:
Use Move Tool ( V key to active it) and drag planet into our document, place it at the picture bottom:
Duplicate this planet twice, resize and transform it to be smaller ( use Cmd/Ctrl+T to do it) and position them at the two edges of picture:
Call big planet as "planet 1" and smaller ones as "planet 2", "planet 3". On planet 2 layer, go to Filter-Blur-Gassian Blur and set radius as 2 px:
Choose planet 3 layer, press Cmd/Ctrl+F to repeat this filter ( Gassian Blur) with it:

Step 3

Make group for all planet layers ( make them selected then press Cmd/Ctrl+G) as I want to edit them together. Change the mode of this group from Pass Through ( default mode group) to Normal 100%:
Now I use an adjustment layers to change color of these planets. On planet 1 layer, go to Layer-New Adjustment Layer-Color Balance:
Because the mode of group changed to Normal 100% so this Color Balance layer only affects the layers inside this group ( planet ones).
I want to increase a bit of contrast of planet 1 so I make a new layer above this one with Clipping Mask and use Linear Gradient with default color ( black and white):
Change the mode to Soft Light 100% and add layer mask for this layer. Use soft black brush to remove and reduce dark contrast on some parts we've just painted on. Look at the layer mask to see how I masked it:

Step 4

Open nebula stock. Drag it into our canvas and place it under planet group. I only take a part of this stock:
I copy a part from nebular image and place it on the right side :
I use layer mask to clear rough edges of it:
Call these layers as "nebula 1", "nebula 2".

Step 5

Make group for them as we did with planets and remember to change the mode of this group to Normal 100%. I add some adjustment layers to make color of nebula fit the rest of picture. Curves:
Color Balance:

Step 6

Open starry sky stock. Move it above nebula group and under planet ones, resize it to get the look below:
Change the mode to Screen 50%:
Duplicate this layer and move it to the right. Use layer mask and soft black brush to remove rough edges of this part:

Step 7

Move galaxy stock into our picture, place this layer on the top and resize it to be smaller. Situate it in the center of sky :
Change the mode to Screen 100% and erase unwanted parts with layer mask:

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34 comments on “How to Create an Amazing Space Battle Scene in Photoshop”

  1. This tutorial is absolutely terrible! It does not explain how to do most of it and just assumes that you know how to.

    1. I don't think the link is broken, it looks like the picture has been removed from that site :(

  2. I have problems with step 2... "merge all transparent layers." I can not do that!...How to remove black background photo of the planet? I mean, the planet without the black background

  3. Why i can't see whole tutorial ?
    i can't see more that step 6.
    I can't see ships, asteroids, and high light at middle.
    Help me. :P

  4. yeah, I'm stuck at Step 2, how do you hide the black background. The source file I get is a .jpg file, not .psd file.

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