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Thread: Rookies Guide to Planets in Gimp

  1. #1

    Post Rookies Guide to Planets in Gimp

    Planet tutorials blow your mind?

    Just want a simple planet to put on a system map?

    Want a quick and dirty planet guide?

    Well, here you go. A 330kb Word doc.


    Edit: And yes, I did draw heavily on Ascension's Photoshop Tut for inspiration - thanks Ascension.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by icosahedron; 10-30-2009 at 07:22 PM.
    Mapping a Traveller ATU.

    See my (fantasy-based) apprenticeship blog at:

    Look for Chit Chat, Sandmann's blog. Enjoy.

  2. #2
    Community Leader Gandwarf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008


    Looks good icosahedron, I think even I can manage it now
    Have some rep.
    Check out my City Designer 3 tutorials. See my fantasy (city) maps in this thread.

    Gandwarf has fallen into shadow...

  3. #3


    I had an hour to spare today and decided to have another look at this. I wasn't really happy with the cloud layer, the clouds were too vague and transparent.

    This image is the same basic planet pattern as before, but since I was concentrating on the cloud layer, I didn't bother putting any texture on the land and sea, and painted the land area purple to give a better contrast for the clouds.

    ie go from the black and white cow and simply paint the land purple and the sea dark blue.

    Now, I made a new layer and put clouds on it as before, but this time I ran Filters->Clouds->Difference clouds about ten times in succession. This made the clouds 'wispier' and gave the appearance of bands. The bands ran vertically, but a simple rotation of the layer had them running horizontally.

    Then I played with brightness and contrast to make cloud cover quite white over much of the surface, then instead of making the layer transparent, I did Colours->Colour to Alpha and chose black (000000) to be transparent.

    Colour to alpha makes much better-defined clouds than reducing layer opacity (which washes everything out) because only the non-white areas become transparent.

    Now, knowing which part of the planet would be visible after mapping to sphere (cos I've done it before) I zoomed into my flat map until only this part was visible, then selected one ninth of the area with rectangle select and performed Filters->Distort->Whirl and Pinch. I then repeated this for each of the other ninths. This gave characteristic swirl patterns to the clouds, but over small areas, rather than one big, unrealistic swirl.

    Once the cloud layer was complete, I mapped to sphere as before.

    As this is simply an exercise in clouds, I haven't finished this drawing with shadows and highlights.

    Have fun with your clouds and feel free to post any results from this planet tutorial.

    PS. Thanks to the people who gave me some grey rep for this tutorial. I usually send a thank-you PM, but when I tried to cc everyone, I found that apparently you can't receive PMs until you've made a number of posts.
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    Last edited by icosahedron; 11-08-2009 at 12:07 PM.
    Mapping a Traveller ATU.

    See my (fantasy-based) apprenticeship blog at:

    Look for Chit Chat, Sandmann's blog. Enjoy.

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