How do you texture planets?

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  09 September 2012
How do you texture planets?

I'm curious what software you guys/gals use to texture your planets and render them with the camera using an orbit view?
  09 September 2012
I'd use 3DS Max and Photoshop, add a space backdrop for the camera and render.
One mistake beginners make is using the sphere geometry. You get better texture results using the geosphere. There are ways to play around with shaders in 3DS Max to give your planet the atmosphere effect as well.
  09 September 2012
There are lots of ways to texture planets. If you're recreating a "real" planet, as in one from our solar system, then a traditional sphere would work just fine, as any hi-res textures you find are going to work with a standard sphere's UVs generally. Image textures work pretty well, and as Mhofever said layer 'em up with some cloud spheres and perhaps even try some displacement in there too.

If you're making a conceptual planet (as nobody's ever seen on outside our solar system), it's even easier. Anything goes, but generally the more detail the better and more realistic it will look. If it's like Earth or say, Mars, try using displacement methods to get a bit more elevational detail. If it's like Jupiter or Saturn, a gas giant, then you get a bit more freedom as there's not a lot of visual relief, but instead a lot of fluid-like coloration and activity.

You could likely even make a decent gas giant using Fluids themselves to drive the texturing. This might be helpful for animation, as opposed to trying to animate image-file textures.

Just some ideas.
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  09 September 2012
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