View Full Version : [PS] Star Maps - How?

12-17-2009, 02:34 PM

I'm new here and have already perused a few tutorial here to create some wonderful surface/continent maps with PS (CS4).

But right now, I'd like to create star-maps and I'm stumped. I only own PS because I got it cheap via a student's license. But I'm now getting more and more into it and... Loving it. Loving the power and the capabilities.

And now I'm stepping in front of a huge blank: I want to prepare a map of a space-sector for a Warhammer 40k: Rogue Trader (the new RPG, not the old hybrid).

I want something that would allow me to place around 35 stars of different hues and sizes and their names under/besides them onto a softly-gridded 2D area, yet still look like a star-map, not a land-map. So, dark background, some nebulae and such.

I simply don't know where to start.

If someone would have a tutorial or two, or simple a tip on which existing tutorials I could use to adapt (with changes in colour, perhaps) to space-use, I would be very, very thankful.

Thanks in advance, sincerely,

12-17-2009, 09:17 PM
Welcome to the forum!

I don't have any experience with this really but I'll try to offer some advice.

First, if you have money to spare, there's the plug-in route. Flaming Pear has some plug-ins that let you create starfields with nebulae and other things (Glitterato), planets (Lunarcell), and start (Solarcell). I'm sure there are some other ones, maybe even free, that will let you do the same.

If you're going to do it by hand I'll suggest maybe using a big, soft airbrush with the opacity and flow turned down to experiment with nebulae.

For stars you're just going to have to change color, opacity, and size as you make little dots on the screen for the background starfield.

For the "focus" stars in the foreground, try using a soft brush and dab multiple times in the same spot making it harder, more opaque, and smaller with each dab. Maybe a lens flare effect could come into play?

There are some tutorials on this site for planets and such if you need those for your map.

I don't know if you were asking about the grid or not but I suggest drawing it on a layer and then using layer styles and opacity to get the look you want. Try a single-pixel brush and holding the shift key to draw horizontally and vertically. Just draw one line and then duplicate the layer and use the Offset filter to move it x pixels over or down and keep that up until you've got your grid. Then you can group all of the lines into a folder or merge the layers.

Hope some of that helps! I just got Rogue Trader from Amazon a couple of days ago...haven't been able to crack it open because the in-laws are over. Looking forward to reading it though - loved Dark Heresy.

12-17-2009, 11:48 PM
I did a tut on planets that also covers background stars so that should get you started (leave out the planet part cuz it makes a big planet). And there are some other tuts for nebulae and galaxies around here somewhere. This past month or two has seen many people doing such things so you might want to read through their work-in-progress threads.

Edit: upon re-reading my tut I don't think I cover the stars but here's the quick n dirty version that I use...fill a layer with black, fill it with 100% noise, duplicate the layer and set the blend to multiply, duplicate again and set the blend to pin light.

Steel General
12-18-2009, 06:55 AM
There are also lots of PS tutorials for doing star-fields on the web, just do a GOOGLE search on something like "Photoshop Tutorial Star field (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&hs=9FH&ei=fm0rS-2PA4iOMaenvYEJ&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&ved=0CAYQBSgA&q=photoshop+tutorial+star+field&spell=1)" and you should get some more options.