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Design

How to Create a Space Illustration Using Omber

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What You'll Be Creating

If you love gazing into the depths of outer space as much as I do, then buckle in since today we're going to learn how to create a detailed space illustration with the new Omber software from Wobastic.

Compared to some of the other solutions out there, Omber gives you the possibility of using either an online version or a downloadable one—which is something that I think more developers should be doing—and it's being distributed completely free of charge.

So whether you decide to go online or local, bring up the software and let's get started! 

1. How to Set Up a New Project File

As always, let’s start by setting up a new document. Head over to Options > Page Setup and adjust it as follows:

  • Width: 800 px
  • Height: 600 px

Since we want to be able to see the actual page, be sure to check show page outline and set the Background Color to white so that we can have a better view of the shapes that we’ll be creating.

setting up a new document

2. How to Set Up a Custom Grid

When it comes to grids, the software gives you the option of setting up and using a custom one, which I really recommend you do, since we want the illustration to be based on a pixel-perfect workflow.

To do this, simply go to Options > Grid and instruct it to use a gridline every 1 pixels, making sure to enable the snap to grid option so that the shapes will move using a 1 px increment no matter the direction in which you push them.

setting up a custom grid

3. How to Enable High-Quality Rendering

When you start a new project, you should always make sure that the HQ Rendering option is turned on, otherwise you might notice that the shapes that you've just created are a little bit choppy.

shape created without hq rendering

If this happens, don’t worry and keep calm, since this is due to the rendering engine that needs to be enabled by going over to Options > HQ Rendering. Once you turn it on, all your old and new shapes will instantly become smooth, as you can see for yourself from the reference example.

enabling hq rendering

Before we move on and start working on the actual illustration, I wanted to point out that most of the options that we’ve set up until this point will automatically return to their defaults once you close the software, so remember to go over them each and every time you start working on a new project.

4. How to Create the Background

As soon as we've finished setting up our new document, we’re going to kick things off by drawing the wobbly background, so take a quick sip of that hot coffee and let's get started!

Step 1

Start by working on the larger section, by going over to Shape and then selecting Solid from the top toolbar in order to create an object with a solid fill. Set the color to purple (#82147f), and then use the Curve tool to draw a shape similar to the one from the reference image. Don’t worry if it ends up looking weird, since we're going to fine-tune it in the following moments.

drawing the main background section

Step 2

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created by going over to Edit Points and then carefully repositioning the anchor points and their handles as seen in the reference image.

Depending on the shape that you’ve drawn, you can add new anchor points using the Add tool, by simply clicking on the path, or remove the ones you don’t need by clicking on their little square using the Delete tool.

Take your time, and once you’re done, position the resulting shape in the center of the underlying page.

adjusting the main background shape

Step 3

This next step is really one of my favorites, since it demonstrates the amazing capabilities of the software’s gradient engine. If you’re used to radial or linear gradients, Omber takes things to a completely new level. It allows you to select any of its composing anchor points and assign it a different color in order to create an intricate gradient. 

In my case, I went with a couple of purple tints and shades as well as orange ones, which gave me a nice smooth, space-like background that you can see below.

adding the gradient to the main background shape

Step 4

Once you’ve finished working on the larger section, take a couple of moments and draw the smaller one using the same process as before. Adjust the resulting shape’s anchor points using the Edit Points tool, and then apply a smooth gradient using orange for its left anchor points and purple for its right ones.

drawing the smaller background shape

Step 5

Next, draw the left gas swirl using white (#FFFFFF) as your fill color, positioning the resulting shape on the left side of the larger background section.

drawing the left gas section

Step 6

Since we want the shape to be transparent and act as a background overlay, we’ll have to bring up the Info panel (Options > Info) and then, using the Edit Points tool, individually select and adjust the Transparency of each of its composing anchor points.

adjusting the transparency of the left gas section

Step 7

Once you’ve finished working on the left gas section, create the right one using the same process.

drawing the right gas section

Step 8

Start working on the little background stars by zooming in on the page using the scroll wheel, and then creating a 6 x 6 px circle with the color set to a light beige (#F8DBBB), which we will position on the left side of the larger background section.

adding the first background star

Step 9

Add the remaining stars using some copies, which we will make by selecting the circle that we’ve just created and then using the Duplicate function found within the top toolbar. Move around the page by holding down the Space Bar, and then gradually create and reposition the copies until you've populated the background, making sure to leave the center section empty. Once you’re done, make sure to select and group all of the stars together using the Group function.

adding the remaining stars to the background

Step 10

Start working on the right comet by drawing its main body (#FFFFFF) using the Straight line tool. Simply click on the page to create the start and end points, and then end the line using the End Line function.

drawing the right comet

Step 11

Adjust the line segment that we’ve just created by setting its width to 2 px from within the Info panel (Options > Info > width), setting the color of its left anchor point to white (#FFFFFF) and its right one to yellow (#FCD85C).

coloring the right comet

Step 12

Select the comet’s right anchor point using the Edit Points tool, and then lower its transparency all the way down to 100% to give it the illusion of movement.

adjusting the transparency of the right comet

Step 13

Create the left comet using a copy (Select > Duplicate) of the one that we’ve just finished adjusting, which we will vertically reflect by selecting the center-right square of its bounding box and dragging it all the way to the left side until the anchor points swap places. 

Then repeat the same process, only this time reflect it horizontally, adjusting its length and then positioning the resulting shape on the opposite side of the background.

adding the left comet

Step 14

Since we’re pretty much done working on the background, we can select all its shapes (Control-A) and group them together (Select > Group), before moving on to the next section of our illustration.

grouping the shapes of the background

5. How to Create the Main Planet

Once we’ve finished working on the background, we can move on to the center section of the illustration, where we will gradually create the larger yellow planet.

Step 1

Start by creating the larger outer glow section using a 240 x 240 px yellow circle (#FCD85C), which we will horizontally center align to the underlying page. To do this, we're going to do some simple math and remove the width of the planet from that of the document, and then divide the resulting number by 2 in order to find the X coordinate. 

So (800 px – 240 px)/2=280 px, which is the value that the X coordinate needs to show in order for the shape to be perfectly horizontally centered. When it comes to the vertical alignment, I’ve done the same math (600 px – 240 px)/2=180 px, but I’ve ended up pushing the shape to the bottom by an additional 20 px in order for it to fit inside the background.

creating the larger outer glow

Step 2

Adjust the transparency of the shape that we’ve just created, by setting its left and top anchor points to 70% and its bottom and right ones to 0%.

adjusting the transparency of the larger outer glow

Step 3

Create the smaller outer glow using a copy of the resulting shape (Select > Duplicate), which we will resize by selecting the top-right square of its bounding box and dragging it to the opposite corner, until you have a 220 x 220 px circle. Then, center align it to the larger one using the X and Y coordinates.

  • x: (800 px – 220 px)/2=290 px
  • y: (600 px – 220 px)/2=190 px (from which we will remove the additional 20 px)
adding the smaller outer glow

Step 4

Add the main shape for the actual planet using a 200 x 200 px yellow circle (#FCD85C), which we will position using the following coordinates:

  • x: (800 px – 200 px)/2=300 px
  • y: (600 px – 200 px)/2=200 px (from which we will remove the additional 20 px)
creating the main shape for the yellow planet

Step 5

Give the planet a smooth gradient by selecting its bottom and right anchor points using the Edit Points tool while holding down the Shift button to do a multiple selection, and then setting their color to a darker yellow (#F5A941).

adding the gradient to the yellow planet

Step 6

Start adding details to the planet by creating the larger crater using a 60 x 40 px ellipse made with the Oval tool, which we will color using a darker yellow (#F5A941) and then position on its lower-right side.

creating the main shape for the larger crater

Step 7

Give the crater some depth by selecting its bottom and right anchor points using the Edit Points tool, and then setting their color to a lighter yellow using the Eye Dropper tool (simply make a quick selection from the left side of the planet’s larger body).

adding a gradient to the larger crater

Step 8

Create the smaller crater using a duplicate (Select > Duplicate) of the one that we’ve just finished working on, which we will resize by dragging its bounding box until we have a 30 x 20 px oval. Once you’re done, position the shape on the lower-left side of the planet, selecting and grouping all its shapes together using the Group function (Select > Group).

adding the smaller crater

6. How to Create the Background Planet

Next on our interstellar list is the smaller background planet, which will give some balance to our composition.

Step 1

Start by creating the belt using a 94 x 40 px Oval with a 2 px line width, which we will color using a light blue (#2DA3AF) and then position on the right side of the larger planet.

creating the belt for the background planet

Step 2

Apply a gradient to the belt by selecting each of its anchor points using the Edit Points tool, and then adding darker color values as you go round its back section. Since we want the ellipse to fade towards the rear, we’ll have to add a darker anchor point and lower the Transparency of its back anchors to 50% and 34%.

adding a gradient to the belt

Step 3

Create the planet’s main body using a 48 x 48 px circle, which we will color using a light blue (#31ABB8) and then position over the belt. As long as you have the grid up and running, you should be able to do it by simply dragging the shape around.

creating the main shape for the background planet

Step 4

Finish off the planet by creating a nice smooth gradient, making the right side darker in order to give it some depth. Take your time, and once you’re done, select and group the two shapes together (Select > Group) before moving on to the next section of the illustration.

adding the gradient to the background planet

7. How to Create the Satellite

We are now down to the last section of our illustration, so without wasting more time, let’s get ready to wrap things up.

Step 1

Create the satellite’s main body using an 8 x 16 px rectangle, which we will color using a light grey (#DEF0F6) and then position on the left side of the larger crater.

creating the main body for the satellite

Step 2

Create the top and bottom sections using two 4 x 4 px squares (#62808A), which we will position as seen in the reference image.

adding the top and bottom sections to the satellite

Step 3

Add the two rectangular details to the larger body using a 4 x 8 px rectangle (#62808A) followed by a smaller 4 x 2 px one (#62808A), which we will space 2 px vertically from one another, positioning them in the center afterwards. Once you’re done, select and group all five shapes together (Select > Group), before moving on to the next section.

adding details to the body of the satellite

Step 4

Start working on the antenna assembly by creating the neck section using a 2 x 4 px rectangle (#DEF0F6), which we will position on top of the satellite’s upper section.

adding the neck section for the antenna assembly

Step 5

Add the antenna assembly using a 10 x 10 px circle (#62808A), on top of which we will add a smaller 6 x 6 px one (#DEF0F6), followed by a 2 x 2 px one (#62808A). As we did with the previous section, make sure to select and group all four shapes together using the Select > Group function.

adding the antenna to the satellite

Step 6

Start working on the left solar wing by creating the two arms using a 4 x 2 px rectangle (#62808A1 px above a thinner 4 x 1 px one (#62808A), which we will position as seen in the reference image.

adding the arms for the left solar wing

Step 7

Create the main shape for the wing using a 15 x 12 px rectangle, which we will color using a light grey (#DEF0F6) and then position on the left side of the extending arms.

adding the main shape for the left solar wing

Step 8

Add the solar cells using four 2 x 8 px rectangles, horizontally spaced 1 px from one another (#62808A), which we will position in the center of the wing. Once you’re done, select and group all of the current section’s shapes (Select > Group) before moving on to the next step.

adding the solar cells to the wing

Step 9

Finish off the satellite by adding the right wing using a copy (Select > Duplicate) of the one that we’ve just finished working on, which we will vertically reflect and then position on the opposite side of the larger body. Once you’re done, select and group all of the satellite’s shapes (Select > Group) before moving on to the last step.

adding the right solar wing

Step 10

Finish off the illustration by adding the subtle shadow cast by the satellite onto the planet, using a copy of it (Select > Duplicate), which we will color using a dark yellow (#EEA822). Adjust the transparency of the shadow’s shapes by entering their respective group using the Enter Group option, and then selecting and lowering some of their anchor points’ (Select > Edit Points).

Then, move the duplicate a few pixels towards the bottom-right corner, making sure to position it underneath the satellite using the Backward One function (Select > Backward One). Once you’re done, select and group the satellite and its shadow together (Select > Group), doing the same for the entire illustration before hitting that save button.

finishing off the illustration

It’s a Wrap!

Using some clicks here and there and a few shapes, we've managed to create a pretty detailed and vivid space illustration that you can use in any personal project. 

As always, I really hope you've managed to follow each and every step and, most importantly, learned something new and useful along the way.

finished project preview
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