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Making Planets (using procedurals)

by JediKnight12/2/07

Step 1: Creating the Geometry
We will need three objects (or three layers) for the planet: the surface, the clouds and the atmosphere glow. Create a sphere with 1km diameter (that's the base size we will use, you can easily resize the planet later but for now, a 1km diameter is a good size to calculate with). I use a teselation sphere with subdivision surfaces so I can create the detail in Layout... Give your sphere the surface with the name "planet surface".

Copy your geometry into another layer and use the resize tool to make it a bit bigger (100.1% would suffice). Give this object the surface name "planet clouds". Copy the clouds layer into another layer, resize it again a bit more and give it the surface name "planet atmosphere".

That was our work in Modeler. Save your object(s) and open them in Layout. You may close Modeler now.

Step 2: Surfacing the Planet Surface
We will use some dark green colour as 'base-colour' for our surface, I used [R:56 / G:67 / B:35]. I changed Diffuse to 75% (no object is really 100% diffuse), the Glossiness value to 10% (for the sea), checked Smoothing and used 25% Diffuse Sharpness to get a sharper edge between the day/night-zone. Now press the [T] next to the Color field and change the map type to 'Procedural'. The Turbulence procedural is already selected, change the colour to a lighter green ([R:44 / G:95 / B:49]), the 'Frequencies' to 7 or something like that, 'Contrast' to 50% and 'Small Power' to 0.7. The higher Frequency values brings more detail, the Contrast makes the procedural produce a pattern with more defined areas and not only some half transparent noise over the planet; the Small Power gives the surface more smaller areas so there aren't only big areas. I use a size of 500m on all axis'.

Add another procedural texture layer above our first one and change the type to "Smoky1", give it a light yellow-orange color ([R:255 / G:239 / B:185]). This will give us some mountains and/or desert areas. Again I change the Frequencies to 7, use a Contrast of 50% and a Small Power value of 0.65, the values make the same things to the Smoky-texture as in the Turbulence texture. The Turbulence value I leave at zero because I don't want the mountains to move across the surface ;). I used a texture size of 1km in all directions here.

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