Planets and Moons

R2Imagine if  you could make a scene like this!  It’s easier to do than you might think…  You can Google search:  tutorials,ringed,planets,pdf.  Or go to “Adobe Exchange” and look for it there.

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…

R7For the cloud work, I used straight lines of color, (clearly defined gradient bands) and then used the “swirl Filter” in Photoshop, to mix things up.

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.

Planet and Ring Screen SizedYou 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…

R3How 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%. 

B1_filteredNow make a big, “circular” hole about half the size of the ellipse itself, maybe a little bigger, right in the very center.

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!

Processed with MaxIm DLConventional 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. 

5aI 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.

5Here’s a system with a brand new planet… 


4Purple water?  It could be an entirely different form of algae, a different ozone layer, anything…



3cMoons can be imaginative too, resized and dropped into any picture.  It’s just a circular selection…

Hot Star









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