Create A Realistic Moon With Photoshop


Stock images can be great for creating quick scenes but sometimes it can be just as easy to create the object from scratch. I know it’s much more gratifying for me, so let’s find out exactly how to do this and with an object I’ve actually grabbed stock images for in the past. If I only knew! Ladies & gents…The Moon!

We are going to learn how to make a Realistic Moon using Photoshop, in an easy and quick way.

First we are going to create a new file with the following settings:

Remember, Color Mode should be on RGB (Red, Green, Blue) if you want to use your work for web. RGB mode is for screen and for printing there is CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key Black).

Now, we start with the background. Let‘s use the Gradient Tool , and then we‘re going to make a lineal gradient with black and dark blue. I used #0b1538 for dark blue.

For the gradient (see below picture), first we click over the radial gradient icon (marked with red) and then we click over the gradient editor (marked with blue).

After clicking over the gradient editor icon (don’t click over the arrow), the Gradient Editor window will pop up, and we will see a window like this:

Marked with red, on the first point, we have the first gradient color. Clicking over this icon we could change the color. Marked with blue, on the second point, we have the second gradient color. We can change it too. We will choose dark blue on the first point, and black on the second one.

After that, we paint the gradient from the center of the canvas to the exterior of it. Finally we get something like this:

Now, the moon. For making it we will use the Elipse Tool:

and set the color to white. After that, we’re going to trace the circle for the moon.

For drawing the circle, we will click over point 1 (see picture below) and draw the cursor to the point 2. Keep pressed the left mouse button while drawing and release it on point 2. While doing it, keep pressed Shift for a perfect circle.

Now, let’s center the circle. First, we have to select all (Select -> All, or Ctl + A). Now, we select the layer with the circle we just draw (Shape).

We’re ready to align. For doing this, we use the Move tool (click the move icon on left toolbar, or Shift + V).

After this, we could see the align options (see picture below)

Click over the two buttons for center alignment.

After those steps we should have a perfect circle, perfectly aligned:

Now, we have to add some effects. Let’s starts with the Outer Glow effect.

Having selected the shape layer:

We go to Layer -> Later Style -> Outer Glow


After that, Layer Style window appears on Outer Glow options:

Set color to light blue (#99ccff) and size to 15px. Don’t close that window. Now go to Drop Shadow on that same window:

Following the number on the picture:
1) Set Blend Mode to Normal
2) Change color to white (#ffffff)
3) Set Distance to 0 px
4) Set Size to 46 px
TIP: You could change those colors if you want, like an orange moon for example.

The result should look like this:

Now, we’re going to work with the Moon terrain.

First, we have to rasterize our shape layer

Right click over the circle layer on the layer tab:

And then select on Rasterize on the menu. After that, the image of the circle layer (Shape) should change.

Now we have to select our circle. For selecting it you have to go to Select -> Load Selection

After that, Load Selection window should appear. Just click OK. Now our circle is selected.

Now we have to add the terrain. For that we have to set black and white for foreground and background colors. You can set them just pressing D. You can check the colors on the left panel:

Now, for adding the terrain we go to Filter -> Render -> Clouds.

After that we should have something like this:

Now let’s make it look like an sphere. Go to Filter -> Distort -> Spherize

We could see this window:

Leave Amount on 100% and then click over the OK button

Now, our circle should look spherized:

Now we add more contrast to the moon so it could look like it’s shining. For that we got to Layer -> Layer Style -> Color Overlay. After that we change the options showed in the next picture:

1) Blend Color to Linear Dodge (Add)
2) Set color to White (#ffffff)
3) Set Opacity to 40%
4) Finally we click OK button.

Now remove selection (Control + D)

After that…. we have our MOON!

This tutorial is created by our old friend Anthony Altamirano, who is back in to graphics world. He is a graphic / web designer from Costa Rica with more than 8 years of experience.
He is co-founder of ArtkasDesign and manages ArtkasBlog for sharing resources and tutorials to web designers around the world.

Nisha is the head blogger for She loves tattoos and inspirational quotes. Check her out on google plus


  1. Cool tutorial! I wouldn't mind seeing how the moon looks against a full night sky, it's a little difficult to tell quite how realistic it is close up.

  2. I'm into the 3d graphics and animation in photoshop and I'm trying to master all the special effects you have just shown with this tutorial and it does look very realistic.

  3. I'm into the 3d graphics and animation in photoshop and I'm trying to master all the special effects you have just shown with this tutorial and it does look very realistic.

  4. This is great :)
    Really clear, with no assumptions about people’s ps knowledge.
    I found it really easy to follow and was really pleased with the result.
    I went on to experiment and made a yellow-y crescent moon as well.
    Very happy!

  5. Thanks for you all for your replies. I’m glad you liked the tutorial. I tried to make it step by step to make it easy even for people that is just starting.

    Kind regards,

    Anthony Altamirano

  6. It is appropriate time to make a few plans for the long run and it is time to be happy. I’ve learn this put up and if I may just I desire to counsel you few fascinating issues or advice. Maybe you could write subsequent articles referring to this article. I want to learn even more issues approximately it!

  7. Blend is also writable and you can use it for your own purpose and there is a really bright future for those who can really do in graphics and they are outstanding…the tutorial you have written here are i learnt before,…thanks

  8. Not that realistic. Moon has a meticulous details and It is really hard to recreate. Anyway, there’s a technique shown here and that might work in other subject. Thanks.

  9. This was exactly what I needed. It’s hard to find good tutorials that aren’t 30 pages long. Very quick, and very professional looking moon. thanks a lot.

  10. But the moon here doesn’t look like a real moon one can easily makeout thats its a fake moon as there are patches on the moon but here the moon is so clear thanks for sharing…..

  11. I love this tutorial very much i learn how to create a realistic moon with photoshop its an awesome and easy tutorial to learn.

  12. Thank you so much for the turorial. This has helped me out so much and taught me more about certain tools. My moon looks spectacular.

  13. Nice tutorials it help me a lot make a really realistic moon in my pic which make my pic looks more beautiful and add extra effect to photo i just love these tutorils.


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