How Do You Make a Nebula in Photoshop?

How Do You Make a Nebula in Photoshop?

Creating a nebula in Photoshop can seem like a daunting task, but with the right techniques and tools, you can achieve stunning results. In this tutorial, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of creating your very own nebula using Photoshop.

Step 1: Setting up the Document

Let's start by setting up our document. Open Photoshop and create a new document by going to File > New. Set the width and height to your desired dimensions and resolution.

Step 2: Creating the Background

The background will serve as the base for our nebula. Fill the background layer with a dark color of your choice. You can do this by selecting the Paint Bucket Tool (G) from the toolbar and clicking on the background layer.

Note: It's best to choose a dark color so that our nebula stands out against it.

Step 3: Adding Clouds

To create a cloud-like texture for our nebula, go to Filter > Render > Clouds. This will generate random cloud patterns on a new layer above the background.


  • Duplicate Layer: After applying the cloud filter, duplicate the layer by right-clicking on it in the Layers panel and selecting Duplicate Layer. This will allow us to experiment with different effects while keeping a backup of our original clouds intact.
  • Blend Modes: Try experimenting with different blend modes for your clouds layer to achieve different looks. Overlay, Screen, and Soft Light are popular choices.

Step 4: Colorizing

To give our nebula some vibrant colors, we'll use the Gradient Map adjustment layer. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map. Choose a gradient that consists of colors you want your nebula to have.

Pro Tip:

Blend If: To make the colors blend more naturally with the clouds, try adjusting the Blend If settings of the Gradient Map layer. This can be done by double-clicking on the layer thumbnail and manipulating the sliders in the Layer Style window.

Step 5: Adding Stars

No nebula is complete without stars! Create a new layer above all other layers and fill it with black. Then, go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise. Play around with the settings until you achieve a desirable amount of noise.

To turn these noise pixels into stars, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Adjust the radius until you're satisfied with the star size.


  • Star Variations: Experiment with different blending modes like Screen or Overlay for your stars layer to create variations in their appearance.
  • Star Colors: To add colorful stars, create a new layer above your stars layer and use a small brush with various colors to paint dots of light.

Step 6: Final Touches

To enhance our nebula further, we can add some additional elements like dust or light rays using brushes or custom shapes. This will give our artwork more depth and realism.

Note: Remember to experiment with different blending modes, opacities, and layer masks to achieve the desired effects.


You have successfully created a beautiful nebula in Photoshop! Feel free to experiment with different techniques and effects to personalize your artwork. Don't forget to save your work and share it with others!

Note: This tutorial is just a starting point, and there are countless ways to create stunning nebulae in Photoshop. So keep exploring, experimenting, and pushing your creative boundaries!