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Makin' a Nebula by removing stars in Photoshop, then animating in After Effects

In this tutorial, the first of four of creating nebulas in Adobe After Effects, I start by getting an image of the Horsehead nebula from Nasa's image galleries. I run it through Photoshop to remove the stars and background, using the Select Color Range, spot removal and the background removal tool. Once cleaned, I drop it into After Effects and use CC Particle World to add dust, gases and 3D stars.

Image credit: Nasa
Expression used:
if (time < thisComp.frameDuration) {
effect("Stars Amount")("Slider")*40
} else {

Other videos referenced:
Linking CC Particle World to a 3D Null in After Effects:

Makin' Starfields:

Download project file:
(Also includes the Pillars of Creation from the Eagle Nebula as a second comp)

Makin' Starfields: Create presets for 2D, 360 and 3D stars

In this tutorial, I take a look at generating stars in Adobe After Effects. We start with a simple 2D starfield, but then use Fractal Noise to add atmospheric distortion (twinkling) and then I show how to save this effect as a preset, so it becomes really easy to reuse. Next, I take a look at wrapping those 2D stars around the inside of a Sphere to create a 360 starfield.

I use Video Copilot's free Orb plugin.

Once it's all set up, I then show how to use an expression to switch between 2D and 360. Finally, I create a 3D starfield you can fly through using CC Particle World, and another expression to make life much easier to control the amount of stars.

Project files:

(There's a BONUS composition included: Star Trek TNG style warp stars)

Here you'll find a bunch of tutorials for using After Effects (mainly). I have a YouTube channel, called ShiveringCactus (long story - not funny anymore) where I post the videos.


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