Inspiration: Stars, Planets, and Galaxies


We've gathered some resources that will inspire you to look to the sky and beyond. This article will have you grabbing a telescope or heading over to NASA. Learn about the recent rage in space-style effects in design. Take a look at artists that have been working in this field long before Apple branded Leopard with such cool space imagery and lighting effects.

Digital Art

  • Greg Martin

    This artist is from the West Coast of the U.S. He is an accomplished photographer. As an illustrator, his work is focused on space scenes. He has a range of interplanetary work on display that shows a mastery of Photoshop. Check out his elegant Flash-based portfolio. Don't miss the PDF–downloadable article Capturing Heaven located on his Bio/Writings page.

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  • Hameed Nawaz

    He has a strong and popular presence on Deviantart. He has some beautiful planetary and galaxy illustrations. He also allows other members of the deviant community to use the professional stock space illustrations he has created.

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  • Mark Garlick

    This artist has professional scientific training in astrophysics and astronomy. He did three years of research on close binary stars called cataclysmic binaries. He switched careers and is now a professional illustrator and writer. Photoshop is one of his tools, and he creates both realistic and imaginary astral scenes.

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  • Gary Tonge

    This artist is fascinated with space. In his bio, he states "for as long as I can remember I have been obsessed with space and my own recurring thoughts on what is out 'there.' And the older I become the more vivid my thoughts are." This artist's portfolio is available via an HTML and a Flash gallery. He has plenty of hand-drawn Photoshop images. He also mixes in 3D art in some works.

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  • Adam Burn

    This artist creates really cool fractured planets. Some of them are emitting light beams like the planet is about to explode. Others have glowing ice shooting through them. He's also got fiery planets erupting as well. This artist creates dramatic imaginary space imagery.

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  • Leopard Starburst effect in Photoshop

    Fabio writes this tutorial on creating a Mac space style design with stardust and twirly galaxy flares. The PSD file is available for download as well.

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  • Photoshop Space and Planet Tutorial

    This tutorial starts begins by showing a finalized image with a lot of detailed work. The tutorial itself is not as detailed, but is still a good review on stars and planet-building techniques.

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  • How to Create Your Own Planet

    This tutorial uses Filters > Distort > Spherize to good effect. It applies this filter to aerial photographs. The result is a Sci-Fi style effect that makes planets look heavily populated.

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  • Urban Planet Tutorial

    This tutorial covers applying textures to planetary land masses and then posing the planet in space. There is a second follow-up tutorial on making Shadowed Planetary Clouds. Visit the first tutorial below.

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Other Cool Stuff

  • New "Out of This World" Trend in Web Design

    You the Designer showcases a handful of Web sites that are using a space theme—sites that have planets, stars, or nebula-style effects.

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  • New Design, Lost in Space!

    Fabio has created a new theme for Abduzeedo. It looks great. "Black, full of stars and lighting effects. We chose to follow the space theme, due to the relation the name has with it and that the subject gives us a lot of freedom to create crazy things."

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  • Nasa Space Images

    NASA has an enormous collection of space imagery. If you're considering working with a space theme for your next design, head over to the source.

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  • Mac OSX Leopard

    Apple, of course, is a trendsetter. They make something cool and the Web follows. Leopard uses space-style lighting effects in its branding that have some "wow" feel. Check out this wallpaper link or visit OSX site via the link below for some inspiration.

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  • Ilham Hafizovic's Photostream on Flickr

    This photostream is tagged as PSP Wallpapers. It's an inspirational collection of stars, nebulas, planets, and space-themed designs.

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  • GVRDS.O1—First Strike

    I saw this link a few days ago and wanted to share it with the Psdtuts+ community. I could only find one space photo in this Flash-based magazine, but hey, that's good enough to fit it into this article. There is some great work featured here that has some high energy Photoshop mastery on display. The online mag is put together with Issuu, which is a really smooth way to view photos or mags online.

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