Creating Planets and Moons

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GIMP Sphere Designer
In exploring the idea of adding a better sky background to the scene graph demo, I stumbled upon GIMP‘s Sphere Designer script.  In short, among other uses, it’s a incredibly easy way to create interesting (but not entirely realistic) looking 2D planet images, such as the below.  This took about 30 seconds to create:

I imagine such images could be useful for creating a skydome populated with surreal planets and moons.  If nothing else, it sets a good goal to strive for in creating nice looking in-engine procedurals.

How to…
How do you create an image like this?

  1. Launch GIMP
  2. Create a new image (any size will do)
  3. Choose Filters > Render > Sphere Designer
  4. Play with the various textures, colors, and scaling parameters
  5. Use the magic wand select to select and delete (i.e. convert to alpha) the area outside the sphere
  6. Open the Windows > Dockable Dialogs > Layers dialog
  7. Add a new layer and repeat steps 3-5 to create a couple unique layers
  8. From the layer dialog choose different opacities and blend modes for the various layers to create a composite image
  9. Done.

Note regarding step 7: the Sphere Designer allows multiple layers within a single invocation of the script itself via the “Amount” opacity control.  However, it seems more flexible to create true Layers in the image as different blending modes (such as Dodge and Burn) can be used and also allows different combinations of those layers to be experimented with more easily.

Written by arthur

May 25th, 2010 at 11:39 am

Posted in lxengine

Tagged with , , ,


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  1. [...] I added support for cube maps to the rasterizer as I’ve always been anxious to go back to these and dynamically generate them in 3D (i.e. rotating spherical model of procedurally generated [...]

    Cube Maps

    6 Aug 11 at 17:53

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