It's not usually our day to share a tutorial but why not.
In this tutorial I will show how to create curtains and other nice effects in Photoshop. When I was traveling I was always thinking about some ideas for wallpapers for Abduzeedo. Concepts that would show what the blog is about and of course, related to the Space subject. That was when I had this idea of an alien behind curtains.
Anyway, for this tutorial we will use some images from iStockphoto and Google Images, and as usual some neat lighting effects. You probably know how to create some of the effects but it's a good exercise on how to turn an idea into an image.
Open Photoshop and create a new document, I'm using 1680x1050 pixels. Fill the backgroud layer with black.
Go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise. Make sure you have black and white for the background and foreground colors. Use 10% for the Amount, Gaussian for the Distribution and set Monochromatic.
Go to Image>Adjustments>Levels change the values to 90, 1.00, 230. Repeat the Step 2 and 3 again to to create the starfield.
Create a new layer and fill it with white. Rename the layer to Curtain.
Go to Filter>Render>Fibers use 20 for the Variance and 5 for the Strength. This will be the first step to create the curtain.
Now go to Filter>Artistic>Plastic Wrap. This filter will add some nice highlights to the effect.
Continuing the Curtain effect, go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. The blur will define the curtain.
Now the last filter and the most important. Go to Filter>Blur>Motion Blur. Use 90º for the Angle and 800 pixels for the Distance.
Let's just change the levels to increase the contrast of the curtain.
Now go to Edit>Transform>Warp, move the vertices to create the effect of opening the curtain.
Let's apply some Layer Style to the curtain. Go to Layer>Layer Style>Color Overlay, use red (#c10404) for the color and Overlay for the Blend Mode. After that go to Layer>Layer Style>Gradient Overlay use black and white for the colors, Multiply for the Blend Mode, and Radial for the Style. Move the gradient to the edge of the curtain, like a spot light.
Tip: If your colors are too dark you can change the levels or even bright and contrast.
Create a layer beneath all layers and go to Filter>Render>Clouds. Make sure that you had Black and White for the colors. After that change the Blend Mode to Hard Light.
Here let's add some colors to the clouds. Go to Layer>Layer Styles>Gradient Overlay. Use the blue(#13175a) and a light brown (#874a11) for the colors. Change the Blend Mode to Multiply, use Radial for the Style and 90º for the Angle.
Create a new layer and fill it with black. Change the Blend Mode to Screen and go to Filter>Lens Flare. Use 100% Brightness and 50-300mm Zoom.
Go to Image>Adjustment>Levels and change the values to 55, 1.00 and 225.
To create an alien hand that will be open the curtain I used a photo of a frog from iStockphoto.com, you can purchase the photo here. After that in Photoshop, with the Lasso Tool (L) or the Pen Tool (P) extract the hand from the picture.
Past the hand in front of the curtain and resize it, just a bit smaller. Go to Layer>Layer Style>Drop Shadow, and add a shadow to the hand. Use Multiply for the Blend Mode, 100% Opacity, 2 pixels Distance and 10 pixels size.
Right After that go to Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation. Change the values to turn the hand to green, I used 40, -55, -16.
Tip: Duplicate the layer, clear the layer style and change the hand's Blend Mode to Multiply. This way you will increase the details of the picture.
Now we need an alien head. I searched on Goolge Images for one. The one I liked the most I found at http://nunoleitecastro.tripod.com/
Place the image in the document and extract the head from the background. Put it behind the curtain like the image below, then duplicate the layer and change the Blend Mode to Multiply. Exactly as we did for the hands that will increase the details of the head.
Go to Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation and change some values. The head has to have the same green tone as the hand. I used -50, 25. and 0
Here let's just add some details to the curtain. Select the curtain layer and go to Filter>Liquify. Select the Pucker Tool (S) and reduce the brush size. Just give a few clicks with this tool over the area that is beneath the aliens hand.
Now you can add more details, such as some noise or change some colors. One thing I did and worked really well was I duplicated all layers and merged into one. Then I applied a Gaussian Blur and changed the Blend Mode to Screen, that created a nice glow, but it's up to you. My idea was to show an alien behind a curtain with the a space scene behind that. Also you can add textures to the curtains, like patterns and apply the displace filter if you want. I hope you like the tutorial and feel free to send suggestions.