View Full Version : Help with planet orbit map: Photoshop

03-14-2010, 03:57 PM
I'm giving it a shot and just trying to figure out how I can do it on my own, but I'm sure I'm going to run into trouble.
So I thought I'd as those of you who may have done this before, for some tips on how to.

Basically I just want to make sort of a template file that I can open and render some planets and a star.. or just put points for where the are.
I was hoping for a stroked elipse for every planet, to show it's orbit. What is the best way to accomplish this and keep everything centered?

What I did so far:
Ring Layer>blending options>general blending>blend mode: screen, opacity: 46%
Ring Layer>drop shadow: 90*, opacity 100%
Ring Layer>Inner glow&outer glow: size 4px, opacity 100%
Ring Layer>stroke: center 2px
Then on that layer:
Elipse tool set to no fill.

Looks pretty nice so far, but I may change the colors. I just need a hint or two about positioning the rings and possibly drawing an asteroid belt.. no idea how to do that. Maybe using a brush of some kind.

Anyway, if anyone has any ideas I'm all ears :D

EDIT: Here's my progress so far. I'm making it into a template that can be changed for different star systems.

03-14-2010, 05:45 PM
I'm not entirely sure if I understand what you mean. Is the map a "top-down" view of a solar system like this (http://www.gcsescience.com/Solar-System.gif) or do you want a 3D perspective on it, like this (http://cosmicdiary.org/blogs/arif_solmaz/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/solar_system1.jpg)?

If you mean the simple top-down version, you could just make a layer with all the settings you want (stroke/glow/bevel/opacity) and then paint into a layer mask by stroking a selection you make with the elliptical tool. That would be a kind of template. If you want the more advanced 3D map, then you will probably need to do things a bit differently, to get the perspective you want (thickness of ring according to distance/shading on the ring itself, etc.), and then it might be impossible to make quick "template" that you can just whip a set of orbits out of.

03-14-2010, 05:58 PM
Top down is what I'm looking for.. it's the easiest to edit.
I'm just looking for guidance in the right direction. I think I've got the orbits figured out. I just need to know how to make rings of debris or asteroids.

03-14-2010, 06:47 PM
Wow, that's actually a bit of a coincidence. I'm going to look into that same exact problem right now, with my own project (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?9594-WIP-Empire-of-Humankind), like literally right before I read your post... Scary.
Anyway, if you just want a really simple representation of an asteroid field, you could try the "spatter" brushes in PS. Or maybe use a plain circle brush and then play around with the brush settings, like spacing, scatter and size jitter.
But I'll probably try something a little more advanced that fits better with my planets.

03-14-2010, 07:30 PM

Hey I found a solution for mine and possibly yours. There was a tutorial here http://www.biorust.com/tutorials/detail/54/en/
and instead of doing the scaling, I just erased all but a very fine edge of the swirl and then applied the effects the rest of the tutorial said, then added some really faint glow of about 8% inside and outside (dust particles) and changed the blending levels of the asteroid layer so that you can see the starfield behind them.

Here is what I came up with.. not perfect, eh, but it's a learning experience.

03-14-2010, 07:34 PM
Oh yeah, I was checking your project. I was reading about it the other day. Looks pretty sweet! What did you use to do the planets? Can't wait to see it finished.
Me.. I've got 28 star systems to map... so it will be a while before I get done. That's why I'm doing a template haha

03-14-2010, 07:48 PM
How did I do the planets? Well, the once I did myself, is probably 2-3 hours a pop, done with every trick in the book. The others are "borrowed" from the net and other people here, with their permission, of course: :D

Al. I. Cuza
03-14-2010, 08:02 PM
Maybe try to make the orbits a little more elliptic?

03-14-2010, 08:14 PM
I was just going to mention slightly more eliptic orbits. As well, the background star texture, I think, has the right level/number of stars, but needs to be less evenly distributed, and have a bit more variety in colour and a few clusters.

I like the look and feel of this!

Al. I. Cuza
03-15-2010, 08:43 AM
I agree. I just saw, that there are stars in the background. Didn't notice them before. If you want to print these maps out, than you'll get a simple black background.