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Painting Planets

By Cristian A.G
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Date Added: 16th June 2009
Software used:
Photoshop

We are now done with the texture, so we must go and get started on the planet.

Make a new document. Because my texture was at 4000x4000, i made a new document at 2000x2000 (1/4th of the original). Do the perfect circle move again with the marquee tool.

547_tid_planet1.jpg
Once you're done with that, duplicate the layer and make the duplicates black (you can do this by turning down the brightness under the image/adjustments menu. Call the blue layer "base,"the next one "shadow," and the next one "atmosphere".

547_tid_tablesettings.jpg
If you applied the settings properly, you should have something similar to what you see to your bottom left.

Make a new layer, link it with the atmosphere layer, and then merge the 2 together (layer menu - merge linked). Then set this new layer to screen, and rename it "atmosphere".

Once you're done with that, take the shadow layer and move it over the atmosphere and apply a gaussian blur of 100. The layer should not be selected (dotted line around) This should leave you with something that looks like what you see to your lower-right.

547_tid_planet2.jpg
Hit ctrl+T to transform the shadow layer. Now we need to decide upon a light point. To keep it simple, my light will be coming from the upper left, so we hold down the shift key, and stretch the lower right corner of the layer. Resize it until you are satisfied. You should end up with something that looks similar to this.

547_tid_planet3.jpg

That looks rather nice, however, there is a problem. If we add a background, like a star field, then the shadow will get in the way. We only want the shadow to obscure the planet.

Ctrl+click or apple+click the layer base. This should add selection marks (marquee). Now go to the shadow layer, copy (ctrl+C for pc, apple+c for macs)) and then paste (ctrl+v for pc, apple+v for macs). Then you can go ahead and delete the bigger shadow layer. Rename the new layer to "shadow." You should have something that looks like so.

547_tid_planet4.jpg
Now we have a nice texture that we can use, you may go ahead and save it, but don't close the document yet.





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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
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(ID: 264048, pid: 0) Moo on Thu, 27 March 2014 12:24pm
sort your tutorial out, my nanna could produce a better one and the closest thing she's come to a computer is her microwave.
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(ID: 239356, pid: 0) Gah on Sun, 15 December 2013 4:44pm
This tut is very confusing. Steps are not very clear.
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(ID: 200124, pid: 0) Opal on Wed, 29 May 2013 3:04pm
You don't explain if the circle should be selected or not when doing the base, shadow, and atmosphere layers...
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(ID: 174242, pid: 0) Steve on Mon, 31 December 2012 3:28pm
On which layer do you have to apply the effect settings? Because I always apply them on the base layer and i don't know how to get the "atmosphere layer" like you have it
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(ID: 168575, pid: 0) John on Sat, 24 November 2012 3:17pm
Your tutorial is far incomplete. Sorry. Got too much problems with the ctrl+c ctrl+v on that base layer part of it. You should spend a little more time explaining the process a little better.
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(ID: 161300, pid: 0) Hafa on Sat, 10 November 2012 10:17am
uhm , on page 2 i have trouble with the atmosphere, when the atmosphere layer is on , the whole circle is pitch black
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(ID: 155426, pid: 0) Yupa on Thu, 11 October 2012 10:43pm
Christian you're the man! I've tried it out myself and the planet looks even better than the actual photos taken in space :) Not that I've been there, but it's hard to even find the real photo with such excell sharpness. Thank you so much for this tutorial, and I fully agree with Erik here: "the textures really make the difference". Amazing! Once more many thanks Cristian.
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(ID: 94908, pid: 0) Erik on Wed, 14 March 2012 11:02pm
Nice, The textures really make a difference!
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