The moon was conquered by man long ago. It’s about time you do the same! You can use the tools and effects in Pixelmator to create your own version of the moon.
The Gradient Tool, the Brush Tool, effects and other features of Pixelmator are used in this tutorial.
Open Pixelmator and create a new document. The image size used in this tutorial is 1000 by 700 pixels.
Start by adding some dim stars in the background. First, select the Paint Bucket Tool and fill the “Background Layer” with black. Next, open the Effects Browser by choosing View > Show Effects. Choose the Stylize group in the Effects Browser and double-click the Noise thumbnail. Set Amount to 3% and click OK. Don’t worry if you can’t see any of the changes–they’ll become visible in the following steps.
Now, add some clouds of space dust. First, create a new layer and name it “Dust.” Then, choose the Generator group in the Effects Browser and double-click the Clouds thumbnail. Click OK. Set the “Dust” layer’s Blending to Hard Light and reduce the Opacity to 10%.
Next, to make the dust clouds brighter, duplicate the “Dust” layer. Then, change the duplicate layer’s Blending to Screen and increase the Opacity to 15%.
Add some color to the composition. First, create a new layer and name it “Gradient.” Then, select the Gradient Tool and show the Gradients palette (View > Show Gradients). Fill the “Gradient” layer with the gradient that is located first from the left in the second row of the Gradients palette. The result should look similar to the image below. Finally, change the “Gradient” layer’s Blending to Hard Light and reduce the Opacity to 20%.
Now, hide the stars that are outside of the dust clouds. Create a new layer named “Black” and position it above the “Background Layer” in the Layers palette. Then, select the Brush Tool (B) and add strokes of black over the darker areas of the image. Use the image below as a reference. Next, choose the Blur group in the Effects browser and double-click the Gaussian thumbnail. Set Amount to 20px and click OK.
Add some bigger stars to make the image look more realistic. Create a new layer and name it “Stars.” Then, use the Brush Tool to scatter some stars over the dust clouds, just like in the example below. Reduce the Opacity of the “Stars” layer to 90%. Take a look at the tip to learn about the Brush Settings used in this step.
Tip: To create the brush used in Step 5, first, open the Brushes Palette (View > Show Brushes). Then, choose New Brush from the Action pop-up menu in the Brushes palette. Double-click the new brush to show Brush Settings. Use the same settings as in the example below.
Add some larger stars to complete the composition. First, create a new layer and name it “Stars 2”. Then, select the Generator group in the Effects Browser and double-click the Sunbeams thumbnail. Copy the settings in the example below and use the rope to point where you want to place the star. Repeat this step to add stars of different sizes. I recommend using 1 or 2 pixels for the Sun Radius. Finally, change the “Stars 2” layer’s Opacity to 80%.
That’s it for the first part of this tutorial! Your result should look similar to the example below. I’ll explain how to create a realistic moon in the next tutorial.