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Space Art and the Hubble Telescope (part 3)

The Crab Nebula (Hubble image above) is a close neighbor compared to most of the objects Hubble photographs, and is also a recent event, remnants of a supernova observed and recorded in China and Japan about 1000 years ago. Small Earth bound telescopes are capable of obtaining fair shots of this phenomenon.

Not owning a telescope myself, I have never photographed anything other than the moon in the night sky, so once again I turn to Photoshop to create my own rendition. Sorry to say that my own rendition doesn’t quite come up to snuff if you compare the shots side by side, so one my ask why even try? I can only say it’s a challenge, and like everything in Photoshop, it’s a learning experience.

Crab Nebula

So, how did I even get close? First let’s just say I cheated because I used the original shot as a pattern, just as an artist might use a photograph to paint a picture. Photoshop however allows you to go one step further. In this instance I first upsized the image I obtained from the Internet to match the one I was creating, then went to Select>Color Range and selected white. I then transferred this onto my black canvas as a layer. This showed me the placement of major stars and the light ribbing within the nebula.

Why was the pattern important? This allowed me to place my own stars of similar magnitude in the proper location, and I didn’t do them all since this was quickly becoming a laborious project. I also used a paintbrush to create the general form of the nebula, using pure white for the highlights, and then slightly yellow to deep yellow as I worked away from the highlights.

The redder background was from my smoke layer, but was much altered in that I erased great amounts with a splatter brush to give it texture. The blue is simply large dots that I sprayed over the top, once again in its own layer, using a soft brush over 1000 pixels at about 50% opacity. This will allow you to concentrate color in certain areas and let them remain faint in others.

All the time I worked on this object I was trying to find brushes or techniques to simplify the process. I even went to the Internet to look for tutorials in hopes that some expert had taken the challenge, but no luck. I’m sure there are ways to actually create a better rendition. I probably won’t try anytime in the near future. If you try and have better success, I’d like to hear your method.

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