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Aurora Borealis Effect in Pixelmator (Win a Pixelmator Copy)

A while ago I had the opportunity to be a Pixelmator beta tester, and let me tell you, it sure has been a fun experience. Pixelmator is now on its 1.1.2 version with new features such as the Quark Composer Filter that uses the same image system as the Mac OS Core. It’s now amazingly faster and much more stable; the blurs and filters are in real time; no preview windows, nothing. It has one of the most beautiful interfaces I’ve ever seen, and that’s no exaggeration there, folks . Pixelmator, the beautifully designed, easy-to-use, fast and powerful image editor for Mac OS X has everything you need to create, edit and enhance your images. If you’re not looking to spend a lot of money or you just simply want an easy to use application to do some image adjustments on and create very nice effects, then Pixelmator is the tool for you. No need to search far to get your hands on it though because I have a copy of Pixelmator to give away right here. To win just leave a comment below and don’t forget to leave your email too. You have until Friday, February 15th. I wrote you guys another tutorial to help you get started using Pixelmator. In this tutorial I’ll show you how easy it is to create the Aurora Borealis effect which I’ve previously created in GIMP and Photoshop. I must say, Pixelmator is by far the fastest of the three though. Step 1 Open Pixelmator and create a new document. Then select a very dark blue and fill the background layer with it. Step 2 Create a new layer and select the Gradient Tool (G). If the Gradient box is hidden go to View>Show Gradient or just (shift+command+5) to show it, select the gradient that starts with yellow and go to cyan, pink, and red. Fill the layer with that gradient. Step 3 Using the Lasso Tool (L), create a selection like I did. After that go to Edit>Inverse and delete the selection. Step 4 Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and add a blur. Then select the Eraser Tool (E) and delete some parts of our shape, like the image below. After that go to Filter>Stylize>Pointilize and apply the filter. Step 5 Go to Filter>Quartz Composer>Stylize>Zoom Blur and apply the filter. A dialog box will open with a rope and a controller. Move the rope to change the direction of the effect like the image below. After that change the Blend Mode to Hard Light. Step 6 Create a New Layer, fill it with black, and change the blend mode to Color Dodge. Then select the Brush Tool (B) and open the Brush Box. Create a new Brush with: Diameter 41px, Hardness 13px, Spacing 1px. After that select white for the color and start creating some stars, it’s not necessary to create lots of stars because we will use a filter to do that. Tip: click 2 or more times without moving the mouse to create bigger stars. Step 7 Go to Tile>Affine... and apply the filter. This filter will create more stars for us. Step 8 Now just add your logo to the image and that’s it. Conclusion You will need less than 20 minutes to create this image. As I said before the filters in Pixelmator are really fast, and there is good variety of effects you can do. Some of them you won't need to change any property to get amazing results. Even though it lacks some filters and feautures like Render Clouds, the Layer Styles, and non-destrcutive filters, Pixelmator is an excellent tool, and with the price of $59 dollars, it's much more affordable than Photoshop and definitely worth downloading and testing out.

Icon Design Explained (Quickly)

Jon and Leigh Hicks from Hicksdesign bring us a cool, quick slide show explanation of how to do design a icon. And if you don't know them, they actually designed the Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbid logos. These dudes are really good. | View | Upload your own

Creating a crazy cool logo

I’m a huge fan of typography and logo design, even though I havent worked on too many logo design projects I had the opportunity to express my love on a few, but at the same time, very pleasant ID projects. One of them was in 2005 for a company called Zagora. When they hired us to create their ID design they said that they wanted something very unique and modern. Besides of that we spent like 4 hours talking about ideas and concepts in order to know exactly what we would have to do. In this post I will show you how we created the logo. I will skip the drawing parts, yes there were tons of drawings before going to the computer, because when they stole my computer and backups in 2006 they took all my photos of the drawings. This logo is pretty much a bunch of circles, I used a circle for the module and deleted some segments in order to create the characters. Step 1 In Illustrator, using the Ellipse Tool (U) create a circle. Step 2 Select the Circle and hit the Enter Key (return) the Move dialog box will open. Now we can move the circle horizontally or vertically and create copies as well. First we will create the horizontal one, so just add the width of the circle in the horizontal field and click on the copy button. Repeat this process until you have 6 circles side by side. Step 3 Lets create a circle below the first and the third circle. Those will be the Z and the G letters. Step 4 Using the Direct Selection Tool(A), select some segments of the circles and delete them like the image below.   Step 5 Select all objects and change the Stroke Weight to 20pt, After that add 2 more elements above the Z and the R like the image below, and delete a segment of the last A. Tip: Use the Object>Transform>Move and Object>Transform>Reflect commands for more precision. Step 6 Change the stroke colors. I used green for the Z, brown for the As, red for the G and R, and blue for the O. Step 7 Select the A or the second circle and open the Move dialog box. Move it closer to the first letter, Z. Repeat that for the other letters. After that change the order of the letters so the R goes in front of the last A, but through the O. Tip: To do that you will have to create new elements in order to mask them. Use the Move command for precision. Step 8 Once you have a nice spacing and all the letters are well positioned, select all objects again and go to Object>Path>Outline Stroke. This will convert the Strokes to Fill. Step 9 Select the G and the R and apply a linear gradient. Use Orange to Red for the colors. Step 10 Duplicate the element above the Z and change its color to black. Go to Effects>Blur>Gaussian Blur and use like 3.5pt. After that place it beneath the Z and the R like the image below. Conclusion After we had an idea of what we were looking for, the design process became pretty straight forward. That means that once you know what you have to do the tool is just part of the process and you will find many ways to achieve the same result.

100 Photoshop Tutorials (for Creating Beautiful Art)

If you know the right places to look at, you can just find any kind of tutorial. Love art, painting and all that? Here are 100 tutorials you must visit. 3DTotal brings us an awesome selection of 100 photoshop art tutorials that will teach you some neat techniques of how enhance your digital painting skills. And I mean, it's a whole 100 tutorials... that's a LOT. Here are my favorites. Remember, these are just a few of them. To visit the complete set, click here! Author: Paulo Antunes | If you want to write an article and have it published here send it via email to abduzeedo[at]abduzeedo.com

Apple Air Banner in Fireworks

I’ve always been a huge Apple fanboy, I love the attention to the details and the importance Steve Jobs and his team have given to the design above all. With the new Macbook Air is not different. It’s just incredibly thin and very beautiful. Well I’ve started to save money because I will have to get one of those. Another thing that caught my attention was the banner they had placed in the Apple’s front-page, I really liked the simplicity with gradients and the new typeface, Myriad Light I think. Because of that I will show you how to create that effect in a easy and quick way using Fireworks. Step 1 New document, I used 800x600px and set the background to black. Step 2 Get the Apple’s logo from a typeface or you can get it on this link http://brandsoftheworld.com/download/brand/134868.html. After that open it in Fireworks and keep it vector. Copy it and paste it in your document. Step 3 Place the logo like the vector below and choose Gradient>Radial for the fill type. And for the colors a dark grey and a light grey. Using the Gradient Tool click between the leaf and the apple, hold the button and drag it to place and create the gradient. Use the image below for reference. Step 4 Make sure that the logo is selected and go to Modify>Alter Path>Expand Stroke. Use 3px for the width, rounded corners, and rounded caps. After that go to Modify>Combine Paths>Split. We will have 4 objects, select the 2 smaller ones go to Modify>Combine Paths>Join, rename the layer to “front”. Then select the other two and repeat the Join command. Rename the layer to “back”. Tip: the join command will allow us to apply a gradient for the objects. Step 5 Select the “back” layer and apply a gradient. This time Linear and for the colors use 4 levels: black, white, white, and black like the image below. Step 6 Using the Rectangle Tool (u), create a rectangle like the image below. After that change the fill type to Gradient>Linear. For the colors use black for the start and end, but change the opacity for the start point to 0. That will create a shadow. Step 7 Add some texts with a light font, I’m using Helvetica Neue Ultra Light. Conclusion I have to say, my favorite tool is Fireworks. I work with web design basically and it’s the most versatile tool for that. It has amazing vector tools that allow me to create and edit shapes like in Illustrator or the extinct Freehand, but at the same time I can play with bitmaps and tons of other great features.

Amazing Photoshop light effect in 10 Steps

Last year I had written a tutorial showing how to create some lighting effects in Photoshop, it was called Magic Lighting Effects. A lot of people liked it, but some people still have some questions on how to achieve that effect. When I added a “buy me a coffee” featured on my blog I decided to use an image I had done when I was showing my cousin how to do the Magic effect. Instead of using a hat I used a coffee cup and the process is basically the same, however this time I will explain it in more details. Step 1 Create a new document, apply a Layer Style on the background layer. Add a Gradient Overlay and a Pattern Overlay. Step 2 Here I've used an icon I found on a cool site, but you can use whatever you want. Step 3 Select the Ellipse Tool (U) and create a shape like I did. After that apply a Gaussian Blur (Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur) with radius of 30px. Step 4 Create a new Folder name it “Light Effects”. Change its blend mode to Color Dodge, and move the ellipse you created to this folder. Step 5 In order to create the sparks we will use the amazing brush engine. Add a new layer, inside the “Light Effects” layer, set white for the color and follow the images below. Step 6 Using the Layer Styles add a Outer Glow to the sparks Step 7 Lets add some smoke. Create a new Layer, call it “Smoke”. Change its blend mode to Color Dodge and select the Lasso Tool. Set 40px for Feather and create a selection like I did below. After that make sure that the foreground is white and the background is black and apply a Filter>Render>Clouds. Tip: Continue applying the filter until you get the best clouds. Step 8 Add some text and using the Layer Styles again lets create a nice effect. Step 9 Place your logo and you can even add more effects like I did on the Magic Lighting Effect, but then you will have to follow that tutorial ;). Conclusion I have to say, if you know a bit of Layer Styles and the Brush engine in Photoshop you will be able to create amazing effects. It will depend exclusively on your imagination and playing with the tool. Sometimes just changing a some settings and you get a totally different effect. The PSD file used in this tutorial can be downloaded here.

Stylish Clouds in Photoshop

Back from the New Year’s eve, I bit of hangover, I’d like to wish you all an excellent 2008. And celebrating the new year I created this new image that I will write a tutorial showing how to create clouds in Photoshop. They are not simply clouds, they are more a cartoon clouds, very colorful and stylish. The same I saw on another fantastic Nik Ainley’s work he did to Adobe and it’s on his website. You can get the wallpapers below. Desktop Version iPhone Version

Christmas wallpaper design in photoshop

December is here, another year is ending and nothing better than creating a Christmas desktop wallpaper using Photoshop to celebrate that right? Well, maybe not. Anyways I created this image using paths, the brush engine and layer styles in Photoshop. Besides that, I used some amazing Christmas Icons I found online at http://www.iconarchive.com/category/christmas-icons.html The step-by-step tutorial will be posted soon at psdtuts.com, but below you can see and download the wallpaper in a 1440x900 version and the iPhone version. 1440x900 version iPhone Version

Applying perspective without the Vanishing Point Filter

The last tutorial I wrote for the psdtuts.com was about how to mock up a business card using the Vanishing Point Filter in Photoshop. However some people asked me how they could do that without using that filter, or using other tools like GIMP, Pixelmator, and others. So that's exactly what I will in this tutorial. Instead of using the Vanish Point filter we will find the vanishing points and create the perspective. Step 1 First we choose something to be our background for the work, in my case, I chose a wooden table I have in my office. After that get a business card or a square piece of paper to use as reference and take a picture. Without moving the camera, get rid of the piece of paper and take another picture. Step 2 Open your photos in Photoshop and place them in 2 layers. Now lets make our Canvas Size much bigger, we do this to utilize our guides. Step 3 Here we will find the vanishing points (what is that?). They will be necessary to create a convincing perspective to our folder. Using the Line Tool (U) draw lines following the edges of our reference, like the photo below. The one from the left side and the one from the right side all the way up until they crossed each other. Repeat the same for the one on the top and on the bottom. Step 4 Now that you have the 2 vanishing points, we can place our object anywhere with the right perspective. However I first created a rectangle, with the Rectangle Tool (U), to find the best place for my folder on the grid. To do that use the Direct Selection Tool (A) and move the vertices of our rectangle. Step 5 Repeating basically the same actions for the Step 4, lets place the other side of our folder. Step 6 Here we will use the real images of our folder. Paste the images in new layers Using the Distort tool (Edit>Transform Path>Distort) just move the vertices to the same position as the rectangle we used as reference. Repeat that for the other side of the folder. Step 7 To make our folder more real we will use the Layer Styles. Lets add some Drop Shadows and a Pattern Overlay to the front side of the folder. Clicking with the right button of the mouse on the layer, copy the layer style and paste it to the other side of the folder's layer. Step 8 Select the one of our sides, duplicate the layer and convert it to Smart Objects. Add a Gaussian Blur (Filters>Blur>Gaussian Blur). If you are not using the CS3 version just forget about converting to Smart Objects. Now just change the Blending Mode to Lighten. Repeat the same steps for the other image. Step 9 Lets organize our document. Try to use layer names that you will remember and group them in folders. After that select everything, but the guides, group them again and name it "content". Duplicate the group an and convert it to Smart Objects. Step 10 Here we will add some Depth of Field (DOF) to our image. With our Content Smart Objected selected, use the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M). Change the Feather Options to 80px and Anti-alias. Create a elliptical selection like the one I did. Invert the selection (Select>Inverse). Now Apply a Gaussian Blur again. We will notice that this will create that distance focus effect, everything gets blurry the further they get from the focal point. Step 11 Add a Noise (Filter>Noise>Add Noise) to make it a bit darker. Conclusion Even though we sort of applied a perspective, I want to say that it's not a totally real perspective. The idea here is to create a better look for our images using only Photoshop. So we will have to trust in our eyes. Observe the photo we took with the reference object and try to reproduce it. The more time we spend observing the more we will learn how to make our image look more realistic. Sample PSD Download the PSD for this tutorial

Using the Vanish Point Filter tutorial

My latest Photoshop tutorial is available at psdtuts.com and it’s about using the Vanish Point Filter to mockup a business card. There are many instances when you will want to simulate or mock up how a design would look printed out and photographed. It might be for a portfolio piece, it might be for a client to help them imagine a concept design or it might just be for your own satisfaction at seeing how your work is going to look to the end user. In this technique we'll use a bit of perspective and the very useful Vanishing Point filter to achieve some great results. I will apply this technique to Collis' Sample Calling Card from a previous tutorial. The Vanish Point Filter is one of the most useful filters in Photoshop. It can be used in so many ways and it’s very hard to find good references showing how to use it. So it’s definitely worth checking it out. By the way, I will publish a tutorial showing how to achieve the same effect without using the Vanish Point filter for those who don’t use Photoshop.

Amazing fire in Photoshop

Most of you know that I have written some tutorials on how to create smoke using Photoshop. Last weekend I took sometime and tried to come up with a nice and easy way to create fire in Photoshop. There are lots of good tutorials on the internet about creating fire but the majority are creating fire for text effects. What I was looking was to reproduce an effect I saw sometime ago in a Nike Ad. It was that fire that is created when a spaceship or comet enters the earth's atmosphere. After some hours trying, I came up with a very convincing effect. I redid it several times trying to simplify the steps until it was easy enough for me to write a tutorial about how I did it. Below you can see the image. The tutorial will be published soon at psdtuts.com. Desktop Wallpaper Version iPhone Wallpaper Version

Creating a Stunning Digital Smoke Effect

My very first tutorial for the PSDTUTS.com has been published. It is, again, about how to create a digital smoke in Photoshop. However this time I’m using a bit of Illustrator. Actually some people said it does not look like a smoke at all, but what I was trying to produce was an effect like those smoke photos taken using macro, pretty abstract design, the same the image I use for the header here in my blog. The best thing is that this technique is fully customizable, that means you can create any sort of shape for your smoke. That makes this tutorials very useful, and, besides that it is a very easy and quick way to create abstract designs. The link for the tutorial is at: http://psdtuts.com/tutorials-effects/creating-a-stunning-digital-smoke-effect/ I will be writing more Photoshop tutorials for the PSDTUTS.com, however I will keep blogging here about other tools like GIMP, ILLUSTRATOR, PIXELMATOR and PHOTOSHOP as well. So let me know if you have any question or requests for tutorials.

Leopard's Aurora Borealis wallpaper in GIMP

Finally Apple will release their new OS called Leopard. One of the things I like the most with Apple, and probably everybody loves too, is that they always release tons of beautiful stuff. From the package box to the t-shirt. Yeah there is a very cool t-shirt as well. And now it’s not different. I loved the space feeling of the new wallpaper with that sort of aurora borealis effect. Besides that, this week the new version of GIMP was released. The 2.4 version has a renewed interface, with new icons, and much more stable, at least running on my mac it has not crashed yet. Anyways, what I want to show on this tutorial is how to create that Aurora Borealis effect using the new GIMP. Basically I used the Leopard’s wallpaper as my reference. I have to say it was easier than I thought. Step 1 Open GIMP 2.4 and if you don’t have it, download it and give it a try. Create a new document, in my case I used 1600x1200, and using the Bucket Fill Tool (Shit+B), fill the background layer with a very dark purple. Step 2 Using the Free Selection Tool (F), draw a shape like the one I did. That will be the source of our light, so the position here is very important. Try to place it more at the bottom of the image. After that, fill it with white. Tip you can add a blur or a feather to the selection. Step 3 Go to Filters>Render>Clouds>Difference Clouds and apply the filter. Select Randomize, Turbulent and Tileable. Step 4 Go to Filters>Blur>Motion Blur and change the settings to: Blur Type ZOOM and the length to the maximum. It will take a little bit to generate the effect. This will generate that light burst. Step 5 After that go to Colors>Colorize. Now we will add colors to our light. Change the hue, saturation and lightness settings until you get a sort of dark pink. Step 6 Now lets just duplicate layers, scale and rotate them. The shape you use will define how many times you will have to do that. In my case I had to duplicate and rotate twice. Besides that, I duplicated each layer once to make the light stronger with the Blending mode. I have in my file 6 layers and the blending mode for each in order is: Screen, Hard light, Normal, Normal, Screen, and Screen. You can use the erase to correct some issues with the layers. Step 7 Here I changed the color of the second layer to a red using the Colorize again. Step 8 Duplicate one layer, and using the Colorize again, lets create the blue light. As in the step 4, just change the hue, saturation and lightness until you get a blue color. Don’t worry if the color is not strong enough, we will duplicate the layer to make it stronger. For the blue light I duplicated the layer twice, so I have 3 layers for that light. The order of blending options is Normal, Dodge, Dodge. Step 9 Now lets add the stars. Create 2 new layers and fill them with black. One will be for the small stars; the other for the big ones. Change their blending mode to Dodge. Set white for the foreground color and select the Paintbrush Tool (P). When you select the Paintbrush the Tool Options will open. There you will change the parameters. Specially the Apply Jitter. The image below shows the values for the big and small stars. Final Result I know that it does not look exactly as the Apple's wallpaper, but it's pretty close. However the most important thing here is that the new GIMP is an excellent tool, we can create all sorts of effects with it and it's free. The only thing that bothers me is that it still needs the X11 to run on my mac. Click on the Image to to see it bigger. Download the GIMP file here

Filter and blending effects in Pixelmator

After a week on vacations, I’m back and lots of things happened while I was off. One of the coolest things was that the Pixelmator was released and everybody can get it for 59 dollars, that is a really affordable price. However the sad part of the story is, as I was fortunate to be a beta tester, I lost the beta user’s discount because I was away. As I said, I’ve been using it since the early versions. It has evolved a lot since then. The interface is one of the most beautiful I have seen, although sometimes I get lost because my background usually is dark and the interface seems to blend with it. In terms of functionalities it cannot be compared to Photoshop or even GIMP, however it’s the very first version and probably the further updates will make it more powerful. But I have to say it has some very nice features, like very fast real time preview of filter effects, the gradient editing tool, and the iPhoto library integration. Here I show a tutorial testing the Layer Blending options and some filters. 1 - Create a new document, any size, here I used 1440x900. 2 - Create a gradient: Go to Views>Show Gradients, then click on the add gradient button (+). Just drag the colors to the create the gradients. The circular controllers are for the gradient distribution. 3 - Add a new layer and fill with black, after that change the blending options to Color Dodge. 4 - Using the Ellipse Selection tool, create an ellipse and fill it with white. 5 - Apply a Gaussian Blur, a sort of glow will be created. 6 - Rotate the Layer in Edit>Transform>Rotate. 7 - Duplicate the ellipse layer, resize it in Edit>Transform>Scale and change its position to something like the second photo below. After that use the Text tool. 8 - Create another layer fill it with black, put it below the Text Layer. after that select both layers and merge them Layer>Merge Layer. 9 - Apply the gaussian blur to the merged layer, the same as the step 5. 10 - Create one more layer, fill it with black. Set the Background Color to a dark blue and the Foreground Color to black and go to Filter>Generator>Stripes. 11 - There it goes, the first effect completed. Second effect 12 - Using the same document, create a new layer and fill it with a beige. Put it in front of the others and set the blending options to Exclusion. 13 - Now it looks like a burned paper or something like that. Anyways, create a new layer and go to Filter>Halftone>Hatched Screen like the image below. 14 - Place the image to your document using the very handy Photo Browser tool ( the image used can be downloaded here). Set the blending options to Color Burn. 15 - Create another layer, go to Filter>Generator>Random to add a bit of noise to the image. Change the blending options to Color Burn 35%. 16 - Using the text tool, add the tag line. 17 - Create another layer and fill it with a gradient. Put it in front of the tag line layer and go to Layer>Create Clipping Mask. Your text will get the gradient effect. Final Result

Water drops in photoshop in 5 minutes

A couple of days ago while I was reading a magazine I saw a pretty cool soda ad where they used a lot of water drops in its design. It was excellent and I thought that I could create the same effect in Photoshop using the layer styles.The basic idea of how to create water drops is that they are a bit complex, they have highlights, shadows, transparencies, inner shadows and inner highlights. The best thing is that we can create all of those effects using the Layer Styles in Photoshop. You have shadow, inner shadow, inner glow, glow, bevel and many more.Even though there are lots of Photoshop training tutorials on the net I decided to create my own, plus it gave me an opportunity to create my first screencast. Take a look it’s only 5 minutes. If you want to see it in full resolution go to http://www.screencast.com/t/Nl8tRrfNT The final result: Download the Photoshop File Click here to download the Photoshop file

Gimp Galaxy

I’ve been using Photoshop for a long time, I think it’s the best tool for manipulating images and creating all sorts of effects. Besides that there are people that can make magic with Photoshop, like I posted before on the 10 Photoshop Masters’ article. Although I really like the Adobe’s main product, I have seen a lot of articles about GIMP, that stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program, and people creating amazing effects using this tool. So I decided to give it a try. I have to say, it’s possible to achieve very good results using GIMP. There are great variety of Filters, some of those I wish Photoshop had. However the interface is not that friendly. It lacks a lot of features like organizing layers in folders, the layer styles and running native on Mac OS X, if you compare to Photoshop. But I don’t want to compare or review software here, I just want to show my first creation using GIMP and how I did that. The idea for the image was inspired by the new Mario Galaxy game. 1- Open a New Document, I used 1440x900. 2 - Create a Gradient: Set the shape to radial, and choose black for the background and any color for the foreground. 3 - Adding some smoke: add a new layer, set the foreground to white and go to Filters>Render>Clouds>Solid Noise. Set the layer mode to Overlay 44%. Set randomize, 1 to detail, and X and Y size to 16. 4 - Creating the Beam of light: Create a new layer, choose the Create and edit paths tool (B) and draw a triangle to be the beam of light. After that create a selection clicking on the button to create selection from the path. Fill the selection using the Fill tool (shift+B) with a blue color. 6 - Create 2 copies of the Beam of light layer, and apply the Gausian Blur to them. Set Overlay to the layer that is in the back, and Dodge to the others. This will produce the lighting effect. 7 - Creating the sparks: Add a new layer. Using the Paing fuzzy brush strokes (P) to create the sparks like the picture bellow and apply Dodge to the layer mode. 8 - Add colors to the sparks: Using Filters>Colors>Colorify to change the color of the sparks. Tip: Duplicate the layers and add a little blur to create that glowing effect. 9 - Creating the light circle: Create a new layer, go to Filters>Light Effects>GFlare, choose hidden_planet in the selector tab. Try some different setting values or like the ones I used. Set the layer mode to Dodge. 11 - Resize the Layer to add the perspective. 12 - Some dust: Duplicate the light circle layer and add a Filters>Blur>Motion Blur. Type linear, and angle 90. The layer Mode is Dodge again. 13 - The Supernova: Add a new layer, fill it with black, go to Filters>Light Effects>Supernova. Again, try different values and choose the ones you like or follow the image bellow. After that apply Screen to the layer mode. 14 - More depth: In a new layer, use the Gradient but this time with a blue foreground and black background, create a radial gradient from the top left corner to the bottom right. Set the layer mode to Screen with 65%. 15 - Add some noise: Add a noise Filters>Noise>Hurl to the first layer, the background gradient of the image. 16 - The Final Result: If you want to create the stars, like in the Final Result image, just follow the photoshop tutorial about how to create the Leopard Starburst effect in Photoshop. It's exactly the same in GIMP. The GIMP file can be downloaded here (13mb), and the icons can be found at iconbase.com

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. 3 - Adjust the Brightness/Contrast so there won’t be too many stars. 4 - Big Stars: Duplicate the small stars layer and apply a Brightness / Contrast again. 5 - Scale it like three times its size, we want to create bigger stars. 6 - Apply Images>adjustments>Threshold: This will show only a few stars. Apply SCREEN as blending options 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. 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. 9 - Apply a Hue/Saturation in the cloud layer and COLOR DODGE as a blending option. 10 - Now apply a Hue/Saturation in the big stars layer. 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. 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. 13 - Create a new Layer: Fill it in black and merge it with the Starburst layer. 14 - Add a Radial Blur to the Starburst and after that change the Hue/Saturation. Colorize it until you get a green color. 15 - Duplicate the first Starburst Light, reduce its size and apply again a Hue/Saturation, this time set a red/orange color to it. 16 - Addin the Text: For the X or Z just apply a simple Bevel and Emboss plus the Contour option. 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. Final Result: 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. http://gallery.artofgregmartin.com/tuts_arts/making_a_star_field.html http://www.andreibilan.blogspot.com/2006/08/photoshop-tutorial-sparkling-stars.html