If you don’t get the option to “Make surroundings transparent” when you use Apply Lens, you first need to add an alpha channel to the image. To do that simply click on Layer->Transparency->Add Alpha Channel.
The most important thing to remember when creating planets is to experiment! Experiment with textures, colors, brightness and contrast, layer modes, and the opacity of the “shadow” layer.
Especially layers and layer modes are worth experimenting with, as these can easily change the appearance of your planet, look at these examples:
In this one the “texture” layer has been duplicated, and the “clouds” layer is invisible:
Here the “texture” layer has been duplicated and the opacity set to 50, the opacity of the “emboss” layer is set to 60, there is no layer with Grain extract in this one:
Here the layer with the Grain extract layer mode has been duplicated, the “clouds” layer is invisible, and the “shadow” layer has been duplicated to make the shadow larger:
Note that not all textures are suited for making clouds, if you for example create a very rocky planet texture it may look very good on the planet, but not necessarily that good if you try to make clouds out of it. What you can do is to make a separate texture for clouds.
Also remember that you have to practice, it takes some practice to create a texture you like, and it takes some practice knowing how it will turn out when you’re done. While you are in the middle of building the texture you could merge the layers and Apply Lens to see what it would look like and what you need to improve. (take a backup of your texture first though, and save as xcf not jpg ).
This one is more like the moon than a planet, it’s made using a ground texture from Texturez.com.
I used the Clone tool to remove some of the rocks, other than that I didn’t do anything special with the texture. (only the regular desaturate, crop the image, Apply Lens and scale the image just like we did in the tutorial.)
The planet colors are a bit different in this one though, the Outer atmosphere color is white, and the planet color is 828282, the “line large” and “line small” layers are also white.
Here are the layer modes and opacity settings:
This is the same planet we made in the tutorial only I used brown/red colors in part1, and I didn’t use any clouds.
Just use some yellow/orange colors when you create the planet in part1.
This time the texture wasn’t desaturated because I wanted to keep those colors, the only special thing I did with it was to motion blur it and rotate it.
So to create that planet texture first download it and open it in Gimp.
If Gimp asks you if you want to rotate the image when you open it just choose “Keep orientation”.
Next, go to Filters->Blur->Motion Blur
Set the angle to 20, and the Length to 200.
Also, rotate the layer 180 degrees. (Layer->Transform->Rotate 180).
It turns out like this afterwards:
Put that texture on the planet (remember to crop, apply lens and scale first of course).
After you put it on the planet all that is left is to adjust Brightness and Contrast, set brightness to -80 and contrast to 15.
The layer modes on this one are really simple, in fact, it’s just one layer with layer mode Normal (and opacity is 100%):
Alright, that’s it, the end of the tutorial, tell me what you think in the comments.