Photo Effect Photoshop

How to Create a Starry Night Sky in Photoshop

In this tutorial, we will learn how to create a starry night sky in Photoshop, which means adding stars to an empty night sky.

starry night sky

You will need:

  • Adobe Photoshop CS6 or CC
  • City at night picture

Step 1

Let’s start with opening the picture.

 starry night sky original

Now, make a new layer by clicking on the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette.

 starry night sky new layer

Go to Edit > Fill and use the settings shown below.

 starry night sky fill

 starry night sky fill result

Step 2

Select the new layer, click on the small menu icon in the top-right of the Layers palette and choose Convert to Smart Object.

 starry night sky menu icon

Now, go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise and use the settings shown below.

 starry night sky noise

 starry night sky noise result

We will now blur the noise by going to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and using the values shown below. Set the Radius value to somewhere between 2 and 6, 2 for smaller images and 6 for larger ones.

 starry night sky blur

Step 3

Let’s darken the darkest areas of our noise layer and brighten the brightest areas. Firstly, press and hold Option (for Mac) / Alt (for Windows), click on the New Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette and select Levels.

 starry night sky new adjustment layer

On the New Layer dialog box, make sure that you have checked the “Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask” option and press OK.

 starry night sky levels

In the Properties panel, drag the white point slider to where the right side of the histogram begins.

 starry night sky white slider

 starry night sky white slider result

Now, drag the black slider close to the white slider to achieve the best effect.

 starry night sky black slider

 starry night sky black slider result

Step 4

We will now create a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer to add a little bit of color to the stars. Press and hold Option (for Mac) / Alt (for Windows), click on the New Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette and select Hue/Saturation. On the New Layer dialog box, make sure that you have checked the “Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask” option and press OK.

 starry night sky hue saturation

Now, select the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer, go to the Properties panel and make the following changes.

 starry night sky hue saturation options

 starry night sky hue saturation result

Step 5

The stars are now blocking the original picture, so let’s solve this problem. We will group all the layers except for the background layer. Select the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer, press and hold Shift and select Layer 1 (the noise layer).

 starry night sky select layers

Now, click on the small menu icon on the top-right of the Layers palette, select “New Group from Layers” and name the group “Stars”.

 starry night sky group

Hide the Stars group by clicking on the layer visibility icon (the eye) in the Layers palette.

starry night sky hide group

starry night sky original

Using the Lasso Tool, select the part of the image where you don’t want the stars to appear.

 starry night sky lasso tool

I also want to add the moon. To do this, select the Elliptical Marquee Tool and choose the Add to Selection option.

 starry night sky add to selection

Click on the center of the moon and drag outwards while holding down Shift+Option (for Mac) / Shift+Alt (for Windows).

 starry night sky elliptical marquee tool

Make the Stars group visible again.

 starry night sky show group

Now, press and hold Option (for Mac) / Alt (for Windows) and click on the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers palette.

 starry night sky add layer mask

 starry night sky add layer mask result

Finally, change the layer blending mode of the Stars group to Screen.

 starry night sky screen

And we’re done!

 starry night sky

About the author

Tabish Shaikh

Website designer, website developer, blogger and a writer. These are the things I like, love and live for. Having years of experience in each field. Developing sites since childhood. Getting the most complicated things done is my specialty. Providing each and everything of top most quality to each and every client.

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