Leopard Starburst effect in Photoshop

Here we are, in June, another WWDC with Steve Jobs and lots of cool stuff. This time what impressed me the most was the new Mac OS X, called Leopard. The finder has changed, finally, besides that, some cool features like the cover flow for files, quick view and time machine are great and make me really want to use it.

Well, one thing that I loved was those new Mac OS banners, like the space, stars and those dust and flares. Awesome. So I tried to do that in Photoshop, and I have to say, it’s not that difficult, and this is what I want to show here.

1- Create a new document: Fill the background with black;

2 - Create the small stars: Duplicate the layer and add a noise>15%>gaussian>monochromatic.

Step 2

3 - Adjust the Brightness/Contrast so there won’t be too many stars.

Step 3

4 - Big Stars: Duplicate the small stars layer and apply a Brightness / Contrast again.

Step 4

5 - Scale it like three times its size, we want to create bigger stars.

Step 5

6 - Apply Images>adjustments>Threshold: This will show only a few stars. Apply SCREEN as blending options

Step 6

7 - Refining the stars: Apply a mask on the layer and with the eraser with like 200px start deleting some parts of the layer. after that the stars won’t be too uniform anymore.

Step 7

8 - Create some light: Add a new layer and create Clouds. Filters>Render>Clouds. Your background color has to be white and the foreground black or vice-versa.

Step 8

Step 9

9 - Apply a Hue/Saturation in the cloud layer and COLOR DODGE as a blending option.

Step 10

10 - Now apply a Hue/Saturation in the big stars layer.

Step 11

11 - Create some flares: I did that using some free ps brushes which you can find for free at http://www.psbrushes.net/ or http://www.brusheezy.com/brushes. Change some presets like Diameter, Spacing and play with that, testing the Shape Dynamics, Scattering, Other Dynamics and etc... Don’t forget to add some glow in the stars through the Layer Styles.

Step 12

12 - Creating the Starburst Light: Create a Custom Shape, like the one I chose in white, apply a Gaussian Blur and after that a Twirl. Scale it down until it gets a perfect circle.

Step 13

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13 - Create a new Layer: Fill it in black and merge it with the Starburst layer.

Step 18

14 - Add a Radial Blur to the Starburst and after that change the Hue/Saturation. Colorize it until you get a green color.

Step 19

15 - Duplicate the first Starburst Light, reduce its size and apply again a Hue/Saturation, this time set a red/orange color to it.

Step 20

16 - Addin the Text: For the X or Z just apply a simple Bevel and Emboss plus the Contour option.

Step 21

17 - Create the reflections on the type: Create a mask and fill it with a gradient from white to black. Set SCREEN as blending options.

Step 22

Final Result:

Final Step

Download the Photoshop File

Click here to download the Photoshop file used for this tutorial

Plus, there are good sites with tutorials showing how to create a galaxy, stars and stuff like that. Bellow some that I used as reference.


Written by

Fabio Sasso

I'm a Brazilian product designer based in Oakland, California currently working for Google as a Staff Designer. I am also the founder of Abduzeedo, an award-winning digital publication about design and a personal project that has become the source of inspiration for millions of designers and enthusiasts.