How to add stars to an image in PhotoShop

PhotoShop CS3 Photo series

How to add stars to an image in PhotoShop

This tutorial will show you how to add stars to an image in Photoshop

This tutorial assumes you already have your picture open in Photoshop

1) First, you will need to expand the Layers palette

If desired, you can undock the Layers palette by clicking and dragging it away from the edge

For this tutorial, we’re going to decrease the brightness to enhance the illusion of dusk

2) Go to the Image menu…

3) …then Adjustments…

4) …and select Brightness/Contrast

5) Adjust the slider to the desired brightness

6) Click OK

Now, we’ll make a copy of the layer

7) Click and drag the layer down to the New Layer icon

Next, we’ll erase part of the top layer so the stars will be visible without covering the entire image

8) With the top layer selected, choose the lasso tool

9) Click and drag around an area at the top of the image where you want the stars to show through

10) Press the Delete key to remove the selected area

You probably won’t notice any difference, but this step will be important later

Now, we will create an empty layer, which will contain our stars, above the bottom layer, Background

11) To do this, select the Background layer

12) Click the New Layer icon

In order for the stars to show up correctly, we will need to turn the new layer, Layer 1, completely black

13) Right click the gradient tool

14) Select the Paint Bucket Tool

15) Click anywhere in the image

Now, we’ll add noise to the layer

16) Go to the Filter menu…

17) …then Noise

18) Click Add Noise

19) Set the amount to 10%

20) Change the distribution to Gaussian

21) Make sure the box next to Monochromatic is checked

22) Click OK

We will now change the brightness and contrast to make a few of the stars stand out from the rest

23) Go to the Image menu…

24) …then Adjustments

25) Select Brightness/Contrast

26) Set the Brightness to -30

27) Change the contrast to 75

28) Click OK

29) Copy Layer 1 by dragging it to the New Layer icon

30) Change the brightness of the new layer

31) Set the Brightness to -100

32) Set the Contrast to 50

33) Click OK

To vary the sizes of our stars, we’re going to double the size of the layer

34) Go to the Edit menu

35) Select Free Transform

36) Use the handles to scale the layer to about twice its current size

37) Press Enter to apply the changes

Now, we’ll change the levels

38) Go to Image…

39) …then Adjustments…

40) …and select Levels

41) Change the first box to 230

42) Change the last box to 250

43) Click OK

44) Right click on Layer 1 copy

45) Go to Blending Options

46) Change the Blend Mode to screen

47) Click OK

48) Do the same for Layer 1

49) Change the mode to screen

The black will now be removed from both layers allowing the white stars to shine through

We will now erase a large portion of the stars by hand to make them appear more random

50) Select the eraser tool

51) Click and drag in the image at random to erase entire lines

52) Try varying the opacity to make some stars appear farther away

53) Erase more stars

54) Now, select the other stars layer

55) Erase while varying the opacity like we did before

If you would like to have a brighter star or two, you can add a lens flare

56) Select the layer you want to add it to, in this case, Background

57) Go to the Filter menu

58) Go to Render

59) Select Lens Flare

60) Turn the brightness down to around 10%

61) Choose a lens type

62) Select where you want the flare to show up

63) Click OK

The lens flare has been added to the image

This is the end of the tutorial. You now know how to add stars to an image in Photoshop

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