Tutorial: Creating a Planet Sprite
Today I’m going to take you through the basic process of making a planet sprite. This will come in useful for background images, scenery, or icons.
Adobe Photoshop (or similar graphics program)
1. Basic Shapes
First, I made a plain coloured circle. It’s worth making this nice and big, bigger than your final sprite will require, as then it will be suitable for any purpose. It may sound obvious, but scaling down is not a problem, but scaling up to a larger size will result in pixellation, so make sure it’s larger than it has to be.
2. Surface Chaos
I then created a new layer, selected my foreground and background colours, selected only the circle, and used Filter > Render > Clouds. It’s important to only select the circle here, or you will get clouds everywhere!
Then, I inverted the image. Note that it will take some playing around with colours to get the effect you’re after. Next, I applied Mac’s Remove White Filter (available from http://morepunkinstuff.tripod.com/filters/Mac/mac.html). Then , I inverted the image again, so now the blue below showed through.
Then, I merged the blue and ‘cloudy’ layers , and inverted the resulting layer again. Again, experimentation is key here.
3. Shadows and Shapes
A bit of tweaking using Image > Adjustments > Levels and I had a shade and colour I was happy with. Next, I selected the circle only and applied Filter > Distort > Spherize, set to 100%. This gave the effect of the planet’s curvature.
At this point I applied an Unsharp Mask of 500% to the image, to give it a little more texture.
Then, I used the Dodge and Burn tools to apply highlight and shadow to the planet. Both were set to 25% percent exposure and range: highlight, but a huge range of effects is possible.
A temporary black background helps show up the final step much better.
Finally, to give it that extra effect, I applied a white Outer Glow to the planet, lowering the opacity of the glow slightly.
Then, I blurred the edge of the planet slightly to give it a slightly hazy look, and that was it! One rather smooth desert planet.