Ok so I am TOTALLY an idiot and never realized I could do this with Photoshop.
I should have known I could, but for some reason i didnt have my "aha" moment until today.
This is the Horsehead Nebula. I made it on CS3 with 2 tools and 20 seconds of time.
All I used was a rainbow gradient and a special brush that I downloaded for free HERE. (Then I loaded the brushes to my brush library.)
So for those of you who are still playing with Photoshop, here is a quick and easy tutorial...(and for those of you already past this easy stage, WHY DIDNT YOU LET ME KNOW A YEAR AGO I COULD DO THIS??)
FOR THE PHOTOSHOP CHALLENGED:
start with a new document, size of your choosing, (this is a 6x6 with 72 resolution in RGB mode )
I picked a rainbow gradient and filled the background with the gradient.
Then I opened a new layer on top of it and filled it with black.I went to my brushes and pulled up the Horsehead nebula brush, made it the size I wanted and set mode to CLEAR. So then when I positioned it to where I wanted It, I clicked and voila, the brush burned through the black, down to the rainbow gradient underneath.
I NEVER KNEW I COULD DO THIS!!! I have totally been doing everything the hard way.
How long have I had photoshop and been playing around with it?? Forever. Why did it take me this long to figure out this trick?? No idea. It isnt in any of those tutorials. I guess it is one of those things that everyone should know, so they dont bother to tell you how to do it because they think you would already know how to do it.
I spent the weekend playing with my new brushes and patterns and finding out new and fun things I could do. It is amazing!!
Here are some places you can go to download brushes, patterns and gradients. most are in zip files so you will need to extract them before loading.
those were just two other things I did. I had a super fun time playing.
So hopefully I was able to teach someone out there a new trick and save them the same frustration I had.
Really I am a smart woman, sometimes it takes me longer to figure out things that everyone else already knows.