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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 Photoshop Link

Photoshop master Fabio Sasso shows you how to create this lighting effect.

Eclipse effect

Space and Planet Tutorial Link

Create a very cool look with just some simple Photoshop effects.

Space and Planet Tutorial

Make a Real Planet Link

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

Make a real planet

Deep Space Nebula Link

Create a colorful nebula space scene.

Nebula effect

Space Lighting Effect in 10 Steps Link

This tutorial shows a colorful, creative light effect ideal for space and dark backgrounds.

Space lighting

Space Scene Design Link

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

Space scene design

Painting Planets Link

Using a texture you can create a realistic planet.

Painting planets

Planetary Masses Link

Using brushes you can create a nice, textured planet.

Planetary masses

Planetary Rings Link

Give a planet an extra touch with some simple rings.

Space rings

Creating an Awesome Space Effect Link

This tutorial makes interesting use of some images for the space effect.

Awesome space effect

The Beauty from the Outside Link

A combination of images and Photoshop effects create this scene.

Beauty from outside

Alien Invasion Photoshop Tutorial Link

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

Alien invasion

Planet Tutorial Link

Create a planet pretty easily starting with a texture.

Planet tutorial

Explosions Link

Creating Fireballs and Explosions Link

Learn how to turn a typical roadside photo into an apocalyptic battle scene.

Creating fireballs

Create a Space Explosion from Scratch in Photoshop Link

Using no photos and a variety of effects in Photoshop, you can create this very realistic looking explosion.

Explosion from scratch

Fiery Explosion Link

Another way to reate a realistic explosion with no images.

Fiery explosion

Fiery Photoshop Space Explosion Tutorial Link

PSDTUTS brings us more fiery goodness, this time starting with a simple downloaded image of a planet.

Fiery space explosion

The “End of the World” Photo Manipulation Link

In this tutorial you’ll learn how to turn an ordinary picture into a cool apocalyptic image.

End of the world

Explosion Effect Link

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

Explosion effect

Exploding Planet Link

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

Exploding planet

The Sky Link

Super Slick Dusky Lighting Effects in Photoshop Link

Turn a regular sunset photo into something special with this effect.

Dusk lighting effect

Vintage Clouds Link

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

Vintage clouds

Ray of Light Link

Use rays of light with a silhouette-like photo.

Ray of Light

Add a Realistic Rainbow to a Photo Link

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

Realistic rainbow

Basic Graduated Neutral Density Filter Link

A subtle yet powerful effect for skies in photos.

Graduated neutral density

Add Dynamic Lighting to a Flat Photograph Link

The sky in your photos can be drastically improved with Photoshop to create a more striking image.

Dynamic lighting

The Orange Sky Link

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

Orange Sky

The Magic Night Link

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

Magic night

Warm Golden Sunsets with Gradient Maps Link

Turn an unspectacular sunset picture into something more special.

Golden sunsets

Clouds from Above Link

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

Clouds from above

Mysterious Moonlit Landscape Link

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

Moonlit Landscape

Sleeping Sun Link

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

Sleeping sun

Planet Integration Tutorial Link

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

Planet integration

Create a Starry Sky in Photoshop Link

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

Starry sky

Realistic Fog and Mist Link

Create realistic fog in just a few steps.

Realistic fog

Quick Sunsets Link

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

Quick sunsets

Create a Stunning 4th of July Collage Link

Using a few images you can create a festive collage.

4th of July collage

The Soft Sea Light Link

Create a planet on the horizon of the sea.

Soft sea light

How to Break Sunlight Through the Clouds Link

When working with images of the sky, adding a sunlight or ray effect can create a completely different look.

Sunlight through clouds

The White Tree Link

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

White tree

Mysterious Lightning Link

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

Mysterious lightning

Illustrations Link

Mysterious Lighting Effect Tutorial for Photoshop Link

Create a dark, cartoonish sky scene.

Mysterious lighting

Create a City Skyline Link

A fun, cartoon skyline.

City skyline

Cartoon Sky Link

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

Cartoon sky

Creating a Fantastic Fantasy Night Sky in Photoshop Link

If you’re after the fantasy look as opposed to a photo-realistic look, this tutorial is for you.

Fantasy night sky

Nature’s Sunshine Link

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

Nature's sunshine

Video Link

Creating Clouds Link

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

Creating clouds

Space Planet Tutorial Link

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

Space planet tutorial

Create Stunningly Realistic Planets Link

This video will show you how to get the realistic look with Photoshop.

Realistic planets

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

Smashing Book #5

Hold on tiger! Thank you for reading the article. Did you know that we also publish printed books and run friendly conferences – crafted for pros like you? For example, Smashing Book 5, packed with smart responsive design patterns and techniques.

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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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