Remember that planets aren’t perfectly round. So when you make your circle, you have to flatten it less than a quarter-inch down, at the top, just so it’s not perfectly round.
Most of this is contrived. I used a “star Background plugin for Photoshop I got for free, probably at Adobe Exchange… They have free everything; brushes, styles, contours, everything…
The ring shadow is just a thick, black line I filled in with black a layer above the planet’s surface and dropped the opacity to 30% You should drop your ring’s opacity to 30% as well.
It’s the same idea for the moon and its shadow. The sun at the bottom right, is a simple lens flare.
You don’t necessarily have to stick to convention making ringed planet. You can make a cloudy planet, without all the fancy swirls if you wish and still achieve good results, if you make a refined ring system…
How do you make the rings? I thought you’d never ask… Make a BIG ellipse, almost the size of your page. Don’t try to make it thin, make a GREAT BIG one. Now fill it with a banded gradient, like the planet, about 6 or 7 bands of similarly matching colors.
Now, using your swirl filter, having selected the ellipse, click it 3 or 4 times at 100%.
Grabbing the top handle of the ellipse pull it down until the ellipse is very thin, using your own eye for judgement as to when it looks like a ring system.
Then, place it on a layer on top of the planet, centering it so the bottom line of the ellipse is just a little lower than where the equator would be on the planet.
Now, setting your eraser to 50 pixels or larger, rub out the top line of the ellipse. Magnify to 300 times when you get near the edge so you don’t over clip it… Presto! A ringed planet!
Conventional moons and planets are so much easier to make; requiring only to show dimension, shadow and a little imagination. With this particular planet, I used nothing more than a pattern I made up, and Photoshop’s embossing, and lighting tools. Nothing more!
I did however, find a moon and a planet making plugin over The Internet, for free, then. I’m not so sure, now.
I did add the atmosphere using an outer glow, and an inner glow as well. For realism, make your outer glow a lighter color blue than your inner glow. White works well too. The little, green moon’s a nice touch.