The design blog of Psychicmind


Galaxy Tutorial

(Note: This guide uses Photoshop CS3 for PC. Other versions may or may not be compatible.)

Here is what we will end up with: galaxy-16small

Start by creating a new document. Use the settings below.


Next, fill the first layer with black. Go to filter, noise, add noise. Set to 400% and make sure monochromatic is checked.


Now, go to filter, blur, gaussian blur. 1 pixel should be good enough. The bigger the number, the bigger the stars in the background will be. Then go to image, adjustments, levels (Ctrl+L). In the input levels, slide the black knob until you can see stars. I used 168. You can also slide the white knob to make the stars more intense, but that isn’t necessary.


If you feel you need more stars, copy the layer (ctrl+j). Then go to edit, free transform (ctrl+t), right click on the image, and select “rotate 180º.” Set this layer to screen.


Now’s the time to add your text. Any font or size will work. I used Neuropol (download free at and 103px. The only thing required is that it is black. After that, rasterize the layer through layer, rasterize, type. Set the blending mode to screen. This will make the layer itself disappear, but that’s what we want.
Now, create a new layer, fill it with black. Use the add noise filter again, but set it to 399%. This slight change will make enough of a difference. Apply gaussian blur, this time at .6px, and edit the levels again, using approxiamately the same values as before.


Here’s where the magic happens. Set the blending mode to screen, make sure the layer you just created is above your text layer, right click, and select “create clipping mask.” Duplicate that layer, rotate it 180º using free transform, and make it a clipping mask, as well. You should be able to see some of your text show through.


The next few steps are essentially doing the same thing, so feel free to continue if you know how or stop if you are satisfied with what you have.
Duplicate your text layer using ctrl+j. Other ways of duplicating may break the clipping masks. Drag the lower of the two text layers to the very top. Apply a guassian blur to it of 1px. Create a new layer, fill it with black, add noise at 398%, gaussian blur a bit lower than before, perhaps at 0.5px. Edit the levels, about 154 I would say. Set it to screen, make it a clipping mask, duplicate it, and make that a clipping mask.


Repeat those steps again, applying a gaussian blur of 5px to the text layer, 397% for the noise, 0.3px for the second gaussian blur, and approximately 133 for the levels.


Put all of the text layers and clipping masks into a group to organize the layer window, if you’d like, but it isn’t necessary and won’t change the appearance at all.
Press D to reset your foreground and background colors. Go to filter, render, clouds. Apply a gausian blur of something between 10 and 15. I used 12px. Go to image, adjustments, gradient map. Use the blue, red, yellow preset, and click ok. Set the blending mode to color and lower the opacity to something around 20%. This will add some color to your image.


Now what we need is a colorful texture. has ten to choose from. Download the zip file, unzip it, and choose one. I like the second one, so I’ll use that one. Open it in Photoshop, select all (ctrl+a), and paste it in your galaxy document. Mess around with it using free transform (ctrl+t) until you get something you like. I would suggest making it smaller to get more of the texture in the image (remember to HOLD SHIFT when scaling to keep the image proportional). I made mine a lot smaller.


Lower the opacity to 60-something. I used 67%.


As you can see, a lot of the text is hidden. To fix this, add a layer mask to the texture layer through layer, layer mask, reveal all. Ctrl click on the text layer that you blurred the most (the highest of the text layers, most likely) then select the inverse (ctrl+shift+i). Select the white box in the layer window that was created when we added the layer mask. Select the paintbucket tool, and switch the fill area source to pattern. Click on the arrow in the dialog box, and click on “patterns.” Use the “Rusted metal” pattern.


Click anywhere in the selection.


Now all we need to do is add some lighting. Create two guides through view, new guide. Make one of them horizontal at 50% and the other vertical and 50%. Create a new layer and select the gradient tool (click and hold the paintbucket tool for it to appear). Change to radial gradient, black and white, and click on reverse. Zoom out a bit and create a gradient, starting in the middle of the image and dragging as far as you can. A blurry white circle should appear. Set this layer to multiply.


Click on the gradient in the upper left-hand corner. Move the white box to the center of the strip.


Now, using a reflected gradient, click anywhere on the horizontal guide and drag to the top or bottom of the document, holding shift. Set this layer to multiply, as well.


And there you have it. You can use any black vector to replace the text. You aren’t limited to text.


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