How to Create an Elegant Planet Composite in Adobe Photoshop

  • 9 Read Time(minutes)
  • 4/5 Difficulty
  • Ps Application
  • 2012.07.01. Revision

In this tutorial, László Magyar ‘Lacza’ will be my guest, who’ll help us create this elegant poster design in Adobe Photoshop. We’re going to be using some stock images for this tutorial, which we’ll include of course. By reading this tutorial, we assume you have a solid knowledge of Adobe Photoshop. But hey, enough talking, let’s get started right away!

Estimated Completion Time: 30 minutes
Required Program: Adobe Photoshop
Difficulty: Intermediate

Here are the stock images you’ll need today

The final result

Step 1

Let’s open up Photoshop, and create a new document with 1400×2000 dimensions at 400dpi. Fill the background layer with black (by default, it’s Ctrl+Backspace on the PC, Cmd+Delete on the Mac).

Step 2

We’re going to use the following image that I’ve created specifically for this tutorial. Please find it in your already downloaded source files. Use Free Transform (Ctrl+T / Cmd+T)  to make it fit the size of the canvas.

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Step 3

The next thing to do is to create two circles, each onto their own layers. Pick a round brush with a size of 928px and 100% hardness, and put a circle in the center of the picture. Then, set the size to 795px while leaving the hardness level intact, and put another circle on a new layer. When done, nudge the two circles to be centered.

Step 4

Okay. Let’s create a ring from these two by deleting the smaller circle’s area from the bigger one. Use Ctrl-Click (Cmd-Click on the Mac) to select the inner circle, then click on the black circle’s layer, and hit delete. Now we have our ring. Delete the smaller circle’s layer, we won’t need it anymore.

Step 5

The next step is to grab our wooden texture image, drag in onto the stage, then Ctrl-Click (Cmd-Click on the Mac) on the ring, and while still being on the wooden layer, hit the Create Layer Mask icon in the Layers Palette.

After hitting Create Layer Mask, it should look like this.

Step 6

Now, let’s apply some Brightness-Contrast, as shown.

Step 7

Double click this layer to bring up the Layer Styles window, and set these values to achieve the final look of the wooden frame.

All right, so the frame and the background are done. Now comes the Planet. The image that we’ve pre-rendered is ready for manipulating, so let’s just paste it into Photoshop, and apply some inner shadow to it.

It should look like this.

Step 8

The next step is to create the glassy effect. For this, we’ll use a custom-rendered image of a bulb. Place it on the canvas, and use the transformation options to resize it according to the planet’s size. Set it’s blending mode to Screen.

Then use the Eraser Tool (E) to remove the bottom part, leaving the top half of the bulb visible. Like this.

Step 9

We now need to duplicate this layer, and flip it vertically. You can do this from Edit – Transform – Flip Vertically. You may need to do some repositioning after flipping, that’s perfectly okay.

Then, with a soft-edged brush, erase the middle part of both layers one-after-another.

Step 10

For the final movement of the main theme, we’ll use a sky-scape that we’ll create ourselves right away! Create a new layer, place in on top of the layer stack, and fill it with black. Now go up to Filter – Noise – Add Noise, and add a Gaussian Monochrome noise with 120% Amount. Now hit Ctrl+L (Cmd+L) to bring up the Levels dialog, and input 214 / 1.00 / 232 to the three corresponding value fields.

When done, set this layer’s Blending Mode to Screen.

Then go up to Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur, and apply a 0.3 blur to the layer.

Step 11

Now if you feel that it’s too intense, just lower the opacity a bit. Also to make it more realistic, grab a soft edged Eraser (E) brush with a bit reduced opacity, and gently swipe away some of the excess.

The main theme is now complete. We can finalize our image with some Adjustment Layers.

Step 12

Add a Curves adjustment layer on top of all layers with the following values.

And finally, a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer with these settings.

And this is it! Congratulations on completing this tutorial!

Here is our final image.


We’ve learnt a couple of professional techniques to create a cool planet composite. These techniques can be used in any of your future graphic design work.

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Please leave a comment if you are stuck, I’m glad to help out! Also, why don’t you share your results with us? Comments and sharing are also welcome. Thank you!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial with me, and I also hope that we’ll meet again soon in another tutorial.

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