On this video tutorial Aaron Nace from Phlearn demonstrates how to create and use a custom brush in Photoshop to make a realistic looking stars in the skies in no time.
So you have a great night shot but you feel that it might be missing some stars. Yes you can try and add the one by one but they will all look the same and it will take you forever. Using a custom brush you can do this in no time and the result looks much better.
Nace start with a new document (500×500 pixel size) with a white background and black stars (don’t worry they won’t look black at the end). Just draw to small dots at the far ends one larger and one smaller and save this document as a a brush preset (in edit>define brush preset) and give it a name. Now choose this new brush and go to window>brush to go to the brush settings.
Here we will change the shape dynamics>size jitter which will give us a much more random look. Next we will change the angle jitter – this should be good enough but you can change the scattering if you like to make them further apart. You can also change the transfer>opacity – to make some of the stars less bright. Finally don’t forget to save this new brush with all the presets.
Whan you use the brush don’t forget to add a layer mask to the stars so that they will not cover anything which doesn’t need to have stars (like buildings) and paint black.
The final step is to add some glow to the stars and you can play with it using the layer style and outer glow. You can also add a little bit blur to make it more realistic – layer>filter>motion blur.