In this tutorial you will probably need photoshop Cs3. The tutorial is still possible with lesser versions, but the clone stamp or healing brush must be used to blend the layers instead of the Cs3+ autoblend.
You’ve seen space work before, you couldn’t believe how real it looks and never believed that you could ever make such a thing as that. Wrong. With a copy of photoshop you can easily learn how to make planets, it is merely the mastery that is difficult.
Step 1 – Getting Started
We’re going to begin with how to use NASA images to create a new planet.
Before we get started we’re going to need some images to work with here. Personally my favorite place to find great images to use is the Visible Earth project from NASA. The
best Satellite I’ve found so far is the Terra > MODIS. Download all the images below. Make sure to download the highest resolution image of each, if you want to find some more,
mix and match, even add a few more images from other satellites.
Into Photoshop, create a new image with the dimensions of 3000 x 3000 at default DPI. This may seem rather large at first but in all honesty there have been ones
made at 10000 x 10000 resolution or higher by other celestial artists.
Step 2 – Creation
Open each of the images and paste each onto a new layer, feel free to transform the images to get a good size. The beauty of creating planets is that there are almost no rules
against what you can (and most likely will be tempted to) do.
Select all the layers and go to the Edit menu and click Auto-Blend. Merge the layers. This will take away a majority of the work you have to do here but there’s still some manual
touch-ups that need to be made.
Take out the clone stamp tool and set it to 45% Opacity and 20% Flow and begin to blend some of the rough edges left behind. If you want to feel free to play with the opacity and
flow, water tends to work best with a higher opacity and medium flow while land works best with low flow inland and high on coastlines. This should take roughly 10-15 minutes
depending on the size of the image to get right. A trick to getting the shape and ridged edge of a shoreline is to get shoreline images to start with and clone the edges onto other
You now have a completed texture to work with, save this, it can be extremely useful for later (who said anything about starting from scratch every time?)
Step 3 – A Planet emerges
Take out the elliptical marquee and start at one corner holding shift and select down to the opposite corner. Hit Ctrl + j and Ctrl + click the layer. Go to Filter > Distort > Spherize at 100%. Put a black layer behind it and we have ourselves a planet.
A couple quick tweaks before we give it atmosphere. Duplicate the planet layer and go to Filter > Other > High pass and set it to 40. Apply it and set the layer mode to soft light
Now expand the canvas size to 3500 x 3500, fill the background layer again to get rid of any lines. Duplicate the layer twice, on the top fill it with black and set the mode to
Screen. On this layer apply an outer and inner glow with the color #c2c1ff with no choke but a high spread. Take the second, fill it with black and use transform and hold shift as
you drag a corner down to about half the original size. apply a blur at 50 and set the opacity to 90%.
Step 4 – Completion, Further reading, and Inspiration
The planet is now completed ready to go. You can stop here if you want, but in Celestial Art the possibilities are endless. Of course I added a couple tweaks to the finished version, more of secrets I keep.
If you enjoyed this send me what you came up with or at least a comment. Thanks. These tutorials take time to write, I’d be rather disappointed if no one said anything.