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50 Photoshop Tutorials For Sky and Space Effects


Humans have always had an infatuation with the air above us and the space around our planet. With Adobe Photoshop we can create new images or enhance existing photos to include the sky and space as a backdrop. There is virtually no limit to what can be done with some Photoshop skills and a bit of creativity.

As you will see from the tutorials featured here, some of the most entertaining and practical Photoshop creations and manipulations deal with the sky and space. Whether you are looking to make adjustments to the sky in the background of a photo or if you want to create an exploding space scene from scratch, Photoshop can meet your needs.

From this collection of tutorials you’ll learn all kinds of tricks that can be applied to your own work. Some of them are ideal for realistic photo manipulation and others are more suited for fun and experimentation. Take some time and explore the possibilities when working with the sky and space.

You may also be interested in some of our other collections of Photoshop Tutorials:

Space and Planets Link

Really Cool Eclipse Effect in Photoshop5
Photoshop master Fabio Sasso shows you how to create this lighting effect.

Eclipse effect6

Space and Planet Tutorial7
Create a very cool look with just some simple Photoshop effects.

Space and Planet Tutorial8

Make a Real Planet9
Here you can learn how to easily create a fairly realistic planet.

Make a real planet10

Deep Space Nebula11
Create a colorful nebula space scene.

Nebula effect12

Space Lighting Effect in 10 Steps13
This tutorial shows a colorful, creative light effect ideal for space and dark backgrounds.

Space lighting14

Space Scene Design15
Create a scene of planets and lights by starting with a simple background image.

Space scene design16

Painting Planets17
Using a texture you can create a realistic planet.

Painting planets18

Planetary Masses19
Using brushes you can create a nice, textured planet.

Planetary masses20

Planetary Rings21
Give a planet an extra touch with some simple rings.

Space rings22

Creating an Awesome Space Effect23
This tutorial makes interesting use of some images for the space effect.

Awesome space effect24

The Beauty from the Outside25
A combination of images and Photoshop effects create this scene.

Beauty from outside26

Alien Invasion Photoshop Tutorial27
What is space without aliens? Learn how to add a UFO to a simple picture of the skyline.

Alien invasion28

Planet Tutorial
Create a planet pretty easily starting with a texture.

Planet tutorial

Explosions Link

Creating Fireballs and Explosions29
Learn how to turn a typical roadside photo into an apocalyptic battle scene.

Creating fireballs30

Create a Space Explosion from Scratch in Photoshop31
Using no photos and a variety of effects in Photoshop, you can create this very realistic looking explosion.

Explosion from scratch32

Fiery Explosion33
Another way to reate a realistic explosion with no images.

Fiery explosion34

Fiery Photoshop Space Explosion Tutorial35
PSDTUTS brings us more fiery goodness, this time starting with a simple downloaded image of a planet.

Fiery space explosion36

The “End of the World” Photo Manipulation37
In this tutorial you’ll learn how to turn an ordinary picture into a cool apocalyptic image.

End of the world38

Explosion Effect39
A gradient map and some simple effects are used to create this explosion.

Explosion effect40

Exploding Planet41
Not a realistic type of explosion, but still useful for some purposes.

Exploding planet42

The Sky Link

Super Slick Dusky Lighting Effects in Photoshop43
Turn a regular sunset photo into something special with this effect.

Dusk lighting effect44

Vintage Clouds45
An ordinary sky becomes a much more dramatic scene in this tutorial.

Vintage clouds46

Ray of Light47
Use rays of light with a silhouette-like photo.

Ray of Light48

Add a Realistic Rainbow to a Photo49
Sometimes you may want to add a rainbow when there simply isn’t one in the photo.

Realistic rainbow50

Basic Graduated Neutral Density Filter51
A subtle yet powerful effect for skies in photos.

Graduated neutral density52

Add Dynamic Lighting to a Flat Photograph53
The sky in your photos can be drastically improved with Photoshop to create a more striking image.

Dynamic lighting54

The Orange Sky55
This tutorial takes an image of the skyline as the starting point and gives it more character.

Orange Sky56

The Magic Night57
This tutorial uses several different images to create this sky and the reflection on the water.

Magic night58

Warm Golden Sunsets with Gradient Maps59
Turn an unspectacular sunset picture into something more special.

Golden sunsets60

Clouds from Above61
Clouds can be used for a lot of different types of work.

Clouds from above62

Mysterious Moonlit Landscape63
A combination of photos and brushes are used for this tutorial.

Moonlit Landscape64

Sleeping Sun65
This fantasy art tutorial will help you to create an interesting image of a fairy.

Sleeping sun66

Planet Integration Tutorial67
This tutorial takes an image of a planet and implements it into a landscape photo.

Planet integration68

Create a Starry Sky in Photoshop69
Adding some stars to a sky is a practical trick that could easily come in handy.

Starry sky70

Adding Fireworks to a Photo71
Fireworks can be taken from one photo and dropped right into another.

Adding fireworks72

Realistic Fog and Mist73
Create realistic fog in just a few steps.

Realistic fog74

Quick Sunsets75
Take a photo shot during the day and give it a sunset effect.

Quick sunsets76

Create a Stunning 4th of July Collage77
Using a few images you can create a festive collage.

4th of July collage78

The Soft Sea Light79
Create a planet on the horizon of the sea.

Soft sea light80

How to Break Sunlight Through the Clouds81
When working with images of the sky, adding a sunlight or ray effect can create a completely different look.

Sunlight through clouds82

The White Tree83
Create a more interesting and dramatic sky in the background of a photo.

White tree84

Mysterious Lightning85
This tutorial uses a few different photos to create the scene and some Photoshop touches for the lightning.

Mysterious lightning86

Illustrations Link

Mysterious Lighting Effect Tutorial for Photoshop87
Create a dark, cartoonish sky scene.

Mysterious lighting88

Create a City Skyline89
A fun, cartoon skyline.

City skyline90

Cartoon Sky91
Create a simple cartoon sky that could be used for many purposes.

Cartoon sky92

Creating a Fantastic Fantasy Night Sky in Photoshop93
If you’re after the fantasy look as opposed to a photo-realistic look, this tutorial is for you.

Fantasy night sky94

Nature’s Sunshine95
In this tutorial you’ll create a wallpaper of a fun sunset

Nature's sunshine96

Video Link

Creating Clouds97
This video tutorial will show you how to create realistic clouds with brushes.

Creating clouds98

Space Planet Tutorial99
Another helpful video tutorial that will show you how to create a space scene.

Space planet tutorial100

Create Stunningly Realistic Planets101
This video will show you how to get the realistic look with Photoshop.

Realistic planets102

You may also be interested in some of our other collections of Photoshop Tutorials:

Footnotes Link

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Steven Snell is a Web designer and blogger. In addition to maintaining his own blog and writing for a number of other top design blogs, he also manages an online shop that offers premium graphic design resources.

  1. 1

    Some of these are great, absolutly love the cloud one

  2. 2

    Woot! Space art is teh absolute best! Ie, I fell in love with the top part of the list. Thanks!

  3. 3

    Absolutely BEAUTIFUL… thank you very much…

  4. 4

    Thanks for mentioning our Mysterious Lighting Effect among these incredible tutorials Steven. Lots of wonderful finds here!

  5. 5

    Great Tutorials!

    Would like to see some GIMP or Inkscape tutorials once and a while though.


  6. 6

    nice collection man :D
    ill have a closer look at this after

  7. 7

    You’re welcome. Thanks for creating the tutorial!

  8. 8

    Some really good tutorials. One of the most useful tutorial posts on Smash.mag. I must admit… gj..

  9. 9

    Breathtaking! What a collection!!!

  10. 10

    Kaushik Chemburkar

    August 7, 2008 5:26 pm

    Smashing magazine, Always the best collection… Awesome.

  11. 11

    wow.. thanx.. my second tutorial on smashingmag that’s awesome.. thanx

    cool selection btw..

  12. 12

    I really love the planet ones! Thanks.

  13. 13

    try :}

  14. 14

    and great collection guys :D! i love the starry sky effect! with the proper constellations, it will look very realistic, esp when you takle skylines of cities with too much light :)!

  15. 15

    Hey! You might also like my Fantasy Night Sky tutorial too:
    Vladstudio – Rainbows tutorial

  16. 16

    Wow! Thanks!
    just what the doctor ordered!

  17. 17

    WOW that’s awesome collection Luv it

  18. 18

    The best of the Photoshop Tutorials….hats off.

  19. 19

    I’m making an illustration with clouds for a web banner, this article is coming at the perfect moment ! Thanx a lot !

  20. 20

    Pretty cool!

  21. 21

    Wow, Alot of great skies in there. Great post!

    Thanks Again smashing!


  22. 22

    smashing as usual!
    thanks for doing that


  23. 23

    Love your work Smashing, but that 4th of July collage is far from stunning…

  24. 24

    Absolutely fantastic list, there’s hours of stuff to pore over here. Looks like I won’t be getting out much this weekend!

    Thanks once again Smashing Magazine :)

    Nathan Beck

  25. 25

    nice tuts;
    another great article to point from my site…
    ( )

  26. 26

    wow. that’s what i was looking for. thanx. great stuff

  27. 27

    realistic clouds rulez here ! nice article

  28. 28

    Good work Smashing, a few low points but overall great tutorials and we are all very lucky to have you guys putting together resources like this for us :-)

  29. 29

    August 8, 2008 2:49 am

    Also, love the ND tut for skies – can we have a full-on photo-filtering / advanced image correction tutorial collection sometime please? That would be cool.

  30. 30

    Beautiful collection, Thanks


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