Create an easy yet breathtaking space environment by combining different images and experimenting with Pixelmator effects.
A stock images of a clock, the space aura and planets are recommended for accomplishing the tutorial, but is not required. Feel free to substitute the space images and clock with any other.
The Gradient Tool, selection tools, layers, effects, adjustment tools, and transform tools are used in the tutorial.
Create a new image in Pixelmator. To achieve a result similar to that shown in the tutorial, use a size of 1200×800 pixels; however, feel free to use any size.
Click to select the Gradient Tool in the Tools palette. In the Gradients palette (View > Show Gradients), click the Action button and choose New Gradient to create a new gradient preset. Create a radial gradient with purple and dark purple colors. Click OK.
Using the Gradient Tool, apply the recently created gradient, so that the lighter color appears in the middle.
To create a space environment, add some stars:
- Click the Add button (+) to add a new layer in the Layers palette (View > Show Layers).
- Choose Edit > Fill. In the Fill palette, set the Color to black, and click OK.
- Then, double-click the Noise thumbnail in the Effects Browser, and set the Amount to approximately 15. Make sure to select the Monochrome checkbox for the grayscale noise, and click OK.
Please note that the Noise effects looks most accurate with a 100% Zoom (View > Actual Pixels).
- In the Layers palette, change the Blending of the layer containing the Noise effect to Screen, as the Screen mode creates a bleached effect.
- In order to make the starry sky look more realistic, reduce the number of stars. Double-clicking the Brightness thumbnail in the Effects Browser to bring up the color adjustment dialog. Adjust the Brightness and Contrast values as follows: Brightness to -10, Contrast to 35 and click OK.
Once the stars are applied, add some clouds:
- Add a new layer in the Layers palette.
- In the Effects Browser, double-click the Clouds thumbnail. Set the Primary Color to black and the Secondary Color to white, and click OK.
- In the Layers palette, change the Blending of the layer that contains the clouds to Multiply, since the Multiply blending mode darkens and tones down the color of an image.
Import and position a clock image into the composition:
- In the Layers palette, double-click on the the layer with a clock image and rename it “Clock”.
- Use the Move Tool to position the picture of the clock so that it nicely fits in the composition.
- If the clock is not yet cut out from the background, use any of the selection tools to cut out the clock to get rid of the background that is around it.
- If necessary, change the size of the clock by choosing Edit > Transform and drag the handles on the bounding box.
To add some glow to the cosmic clock:
- Choose Edit > Duplicate to duplicate the clock layer. Double-click on the duplicate layer’s name in the Layers palette and rename it Glow. Move the “Glow” layer below the original planet layer.
- Then double-click the Zoom thumbnail in the Effects Browser. Place the pointer of a rope on the center of the planet. Set Amount to approximately 20 and click OK.
- In order to blend the glow effect with the composition, change the “Glow” layer’s Blending to Hard Light and reduce the Opacity to 60 in the Layers palette.
To match the clock colors with the composition:
- Duplicate the “Clock” layer by choosing Edit > Duplicate.
- Rename it “Clock Colors”.
- With a “Clock Colors” layer selected, double-click the Color Balance thumbnail in the Effects Browser. Drag the Midtones sliders closer to Red and Blue colors. Click OK.
Import an image with a space aura into the composition. Choose Edit > Transform and scale to fit the image in the composition. In the Layers palette change the space aura layer’s Blending to Screen.
Repeat the previous (8) step by importing and fitting planet images into the composition. Also, reduce the Opacity of the layers containing planets from 50 to 60%. Use the Eraser Tool to erase the remaining visible edges of the images that contain planets. Use the the image below as a reference.
And the last touch – warm filter. To make the image look warm and a little bit vintage:
- Add a new layer above the other and rename it “Warm Filter.”
- With a “Warm Filter” layer selected choose Edit > Fill and fill the layer with an orange color.
- Change “Warm Filter” layer’s Blending to Overlay and reduce the Opacity to 30%.
In order to make the illustration look like a vintage picture, add some grain:
- Add a new layer above the others.
- Choose Edit > Fill and fill the layer with black color.
- Apply the Noise effect with the Amount set to approximately 8.
- Change the layer containing noise Blending to Screen and reduce the Opacity to approximately 10%.
And the space clock picture is done! Feel free to experiment with the tutorial by using various different space objects and stars, colors or brushes to create stunning vintage space illustrations of your own!