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Space Art and the Hubble Telescope (part 2)

So, here is more as promised. This is butterfly nebula as taken by the Hubble Telescope (above), and my rendition (below), which was not meant to be a duplicate in any way. Part of the fun is to try and make the spectacular even more spectacular. The outcome is debatable, although I’m somewhat partial to the more translucent effect I obtained.

butterfly nebula 2

The process as explained in the previous nebula is similar except that I used an image I had taken of smoke to create the nebula. The process I used was to remove the smoke from an image that had a black background by using color selection, choosing black and then inverse. I then used the move tool to drag the smoke onto a transparent background and saved the image as a PSD.

Next I opened a new canvas and filled it with black, then went to one of my star field images and added the stars to my new canvas. I ended up picking a couple dozen larger stars to fill the blackness around the nebula.

The nebula itself was fairly simple although it took me a couple of hours to shape and mix the seven layers I created. The process involved adding the smoke, adjusting the color in the first layer to red orange, and warping the smoke to form the perimeter and background for the upper right. I then duplicated that and rotated it 180 degrees and moved it to the lower left. Since I didn’t want the top and bottom identical, I warped the image again. I also used the smudge tool and eraser tool to make some changes.

Next I duplicated the first layer once again and colored it white with some bluish green highlights by adjusting hue and saturation. I then positioned it and warped it into more of an arc. I duplicated that layer, rotated it 180 degrees and drug it into position. I then create another layer and added some extra white highlights. I did this so I could have the brighter highlights, which I’d loose in my two blue-white layers when I reduced their opacity.

I see numerous tutorials on creating nebula where they render difference clouds. The problem with that process is you get what you get, not that you can’t manipulate what you get, but it is very random. Using smoke in layers allows a much more artistic approach and much more control over the finished product.

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