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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Instant Star Field

This is one of those "create something from nothing" techniques and within just a few seconds, you've got an instant star field. This makes a great background for collage projects or you can add it to existing images. Warning: While replicating this technique, you may feel an uncontrollable urge to say things like "Make it so!" and "To the Transporter room." This will pass.

  1. Open a new document in RGB mode at 72 dpi. Press "d" to make black your Foreground color, then press Option-Delete (PC: Alt-Backspace) to fill your background with black.

  2. Figure 8.91

    Quick Tip: Hyperspace is just one filter way

    I have to tell you that this is the one tip in the book that will probably only be used by guys, because even I have to admit that it's so geeky, I almost didn't include it. You noticed I said "almost." In the tutorial on the right, if you feel at some point (like just after Step Four, perhaps) that you need to go into hyperspace (and I know you will), here's how: Go under the Filter menu, under Blur, and choose Radial Blur. For Blur Method choose Zoom, and for Amount choose something around 50, and click OK. Now it won't look quite right yet because the zoom will cause things to be too dark, so press Command-L (PC: Control-L) to bring up Levels. Then drag the top right Input Levels slider to the left until the stars come again, hurling you helplessly into the deep unknown (blah, blah, blah, etc.) You might want to leave off the Lens Flare at this point, ya know, in the interest of good taste. ;-)

  3. Go under the Filter menu, under Noise, and choose Add Noise. For Amount enter approximately 40%, for Distribution choose Gaussian, check Monochromatic, and click OK.

  4. Figure 8.92

  5. Go under the Filter menu, under Blur, and choose Gaussian Blur. For Radius enter 0.5 (half a pixel) and click OK to apply just a slight blur to your noise.

  6. Figure 8.93

  7. To bring out the starfield in your noise, go under the Image menu, under Adjustment, and choose Threshold. When the Threshold dialog box appears, drag the slider to the left until the "stars come out," then click OK. Press Command-F (PC: Control-F) to apply another 0.5-pixel Gaussian Blur to soften the stars.

  8. Figure 8.94

    Quick Tip: Color-correction shortcut

    If you're new to color-correcting images, you've probably already learned that Auto Levels and Auto Contrast are pretty limited. However, in Photoshop 7, Adobe introduced its best "color-correction one-trick pony" yet. It's called Auto Color and it can help your color images look better by analyzing the image's highlights, midtones, and shadows. It then tries to neutralize any color casts in those areas. Give it a try next time you're stuck with a yucky photo (that's a technical term).

  9. To enhance the "out in space" look, I generally add a Lens Flare effect to the starfield. Add a new layer by clicking on the New layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette. Fill it with black by pressing Option-Delete (PC: Alt-Delete). Next, go under the Filter menu, under Render, and choose Lens Flare. Use any brightness setting or Lens Type you like. (I used the defaults settings shown here.) Click OK.

  10. Figure 8.95

  11. Last, to bring the Lens Flare into your starfield, just change the Blend Mode of this layer to Screen (as shown) which completes the effect.

  12. Figure 8.96

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