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Local TutorialInteractive planet-creation tutorial

135

Posts

  • aszazerothaszazeroth176 Posts: 209Member
    Alright... this was a blast from the past... I guess I lost this thread there before xmas. Time to pick it up I guess and finish both the tutorial and the planet.

    About them cloud maps... There are several ways of doing them. A rule of thumb is to have the cloudmap twice the resolution of the landmap, ie 8k land => 16k cloud. I know it can be damn depressive to paint 16k maps, but it's only greyscale, so it should be less taxing on your PSDs and only one layer too. 16k or 32k landmaps are the worst :devil: . Now what to use for a cloudmap, sort of depends on the planet you are playing around with. In my case here I guess I will go with Earth-like. Other revenues are gasgiants, venuslike planets, volcanic worlds and so on. In this particular case I used clouds from weather satellite pictures, water-vapor or reflected IR is good. A new path of mine is to use Maya Fluids to get some nice custom clouds that follow continents, exoplanet derived coriolis patterns and jetstreams... damn exciting really and best of all... in the end it can be animated, showing fast forward of an exoplanet with moving cloud systems.

    Anyways, I guess it's time to finish of the landmap and tweak the ocean and head on to the cloudmap here in the tutorial, before we try out some 3D program and their techniques. I had planned for 3DSM, Maya and Blender for the finale.

    Wow, massive post... sorry about all that reading.

    Cheers all, and keep asking questions !

    //Dr. Asz
  • TinukedayaTinukedaya182 Posts: 271Member
    Hmhm... again I have not get that that much. I guess your explaining techniques are somehow too complicated for me. hehe. nah j/k

    What I wanted to ask thoough is, if there is any particular reason for the cloud map to be 2x the res of land map?

    And thanks for the link Backstep ...
    "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke
    Cruiser - SFS Suricata --- Freighter - SFS "Crate"
  • ZardozZardoz0 Posts: 0Member
    Wow! Amazing tutorial. It's the thing that i was needing, because, in some point of near future, i will need to begin make planets for STO, and i not had idea of how doing the planetary textures from scratch !

    Good Work guy!
  • aszazerothaszazeroth176 Posts: 209Member
    OK, time for some weather(tm)-systems

    Here's how I envision the major currents in the ocean (based upon Earth-ish patterns). These currents will be the basis for the weather system I am gonna paint for this planet.

    Off to cloud-making then.

    Cheers
    //Dr. Asz
  • aszazerothaszazeroth176 Posts: 209Member
    First pass at clouds systems, using some Maya fluids. Not sure I am able to fluid all the way, but I always wanted to try out the technique/theory so that I might animate stuff in the future. Similar static pattern can be easily done in PS.

    Details and cloud banks next.

    Cheers
    //Dr. Asz
  • TovetteTovette5 Posts: 13Member
    @Aszazeroth- when you refer to 8k,16k maps are you refering to their size or pixel width?
  • aszazerothaszazeroth176 Posts: 209Member
    Opps, my bad Tovette, guess I should have defined those numbers earlier on. In this tutorial I use cylindrical maps projections with a scale factor 2:1 (width:height). So to confuse a bit I usually just refer to the rounded width measured in k:s (really abhorring and not mathematically correct)... So.

    8k => 8192 x 4096 px
    16k => 16384 x 8192 px

    Note, that several programs will bugg out on such large textures and thus will require all sorts of funky work-arounds and fixes =)
  • TinukedayaTinukedaya182 Posts: 271Member
    Finnaly got to post this!

    Whoa! You sure go far with your planets Asz, huh? I mean, envisioning main currents and from that the weather system :confused: ?? :D

    I think I have asked earlier... But is there any particullar reason for the cloud maps being 2x higher res then the land map?

    <points to the other thread> I just put an old earth cloudmap on my planet.

    And one more question... cylindrical map? Not spherical? <- hmm. thats interesting...

    On and now really last one. How are you dealing with teh map defrmations at the poles?
    "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke
    Cruiser - SFS Suricata --- Freighter - SFS "Crate"
  • aszazerothaszazeroth176 Posts: 209Member
    Opps, more definition problems... I paint in what could be a perceived as cylindrical projection in Photoshop, but the final result is spherically mapped in 3D.

    As for the weather systems, I guess when some of my planets end up at friends at NASA they are sure to pick on me for not sticking to principal physics...and besides that, I really like to envision far away worlds in all their chaotic weather system glory.

    Ah, the famous polar pinch problem. I have a small *NIX program that (after some editing) convert between any projection I want, cylindrical->mercator->spherical and so on. I run that and the set the corresponding in the 3D program.

    Sorry about forgetting about the cloud map. The reason I use a 2x rez is that I mainly use it as an alpha to control a white-ish shader. Small details and small clouds then are really crucial to get that photorealistic look. It can only be achieved by higher rez... The land details are more forgiving to a "slight" blur. I'll demonstrate some examples later on when we add the land and cloud up for some render in some 3D program, possibly Blender for the sake of accessibility within the community.
  • aszazerothaszazeroth176 Posts: 209Member
    Back to the planets for a while, trying to device a quick-n-dirty way of doing city lights. How about this ?! If you all like it I will add this technique to the tutorial. And... it's very quick, without masking out earth maps =)

    Cheers
    //Dr. Asz
  • aszazerothaszazeroth176 Posts: 209Member
    Alright... uploaded a more final version in the 3D gallery. Anyways. Here is a run down how I did the city map. First I went online and grabbed me a "real" street map from a driving-direction map site. One can use maps.google.com for instance. After a quick posterize in Photoshop I ended up with a nice 4 color map. Select the colors one like to be city roads. Discard the rest, perhaps paint some funky patterns and then blur it slightly. Convert it into a black white "alpha" map. Do a cloud + some inverted cloud renders on a new layer. Blend the new layer into alpha for variation/noise. There, now you have a white, noisy city map that you can slap into the self-illumination slot of your shader later on.

    Quick-n-dirty... should not take long time and experiments to get something nice looking.

    Cheers
    //Dr. Asz
  • TinukedayaTinukedaya182 Posts: 271Member
    That really sounds like fast way to do that. Will check it once I'm finished with my current thing and when I return to the planet cretion tests.
    "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke
    Cruiser - SFS Suricata --- Freighter - SFS "Crate"
  • aszazerothaszazeroth176 Posts: 209Member
    Another quickie, and I tried to green-ify my tutorial map some in order to cheat me a nice and lush planet. Screen-capping some of the bump map generation stuff, so I will get back to the tutorial and finish of the land/ocean map creation with some words about specular and such... then we go skyhigh and to the clouds.

    Cheers
    //Dr. Asz
  • OzylotOzylot171 Posts: 0Member
    Now thats cool! :thumb:
  • TinukedayaTinukedaya182 Posts: 271Member
    Ozylot wrote: »
    Now thats cool! :thumb:


    Uhm... What he said..
    "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke
    Cruiser - SFS Suricata --- Freighter - SFS "Crate"
  • aszazerothaszazeroth176 Posts: 209Member
    Alright... back to the bump map. In order to create a aussie (south coast) like shore effect I dropped a inner glow on the alpha channel selection. Quick notes are that I changed the default warm yellow to white, the "technique" to precise and I choose a different "contour". None really fitted the shore-slope so I made my own with the curve-editor.

    layer_opt.jpg
    Figure #something. The layer options dialog... learn how to use the force.

    layer_2.jpg
    Figure #something+1. There are a few contours and you can make your own.

    Right... now we have a default coastal slope. Time to paint some more bumps. The quick and dirty route... Grey scale your nice color map. Try trace edges on a duplicated layer, slap a nice blend on it (overlay maybe), then grab yer tablet pen and start tweaking around. I use soft brushes to start and then some brushes with fibers to the end. Apply with low pressure <= 10% and rather build up detail, than try to rely on a brush-patter "cloning" if you are not a master of such. If you paint outside... do not fear.. you can always clip that away with the ever so useful alpha channel.

    bump_example.jpg
    Figure #something+2. Example of bumped island. Note that most of it are in the same-ish grey tones, as I wanted no real mountains and more of a flat landscape, sort of like Helgoland island for this corroded planet.

    Alrighty folks... start bumping away. I think after this tutorial I'll show how I cheated and altered this planet to a lush green world, added mountains and rivers/lakes. But n ext on the meny are them .... daemons ... not quite... but clouds !

    Cheers

    //Dr Asz
  • aszazerothaszazeroth176 Posts: 209Member
    How's this for a tutorial PDF template ?!
  • MartocticvsMartocticvs215 Posts: 486Member
    I think it works pretty well. Are you planning on continuing this? This was definitely one I was watching quite closely.
  • aszazerothaszazeroth176 Posts: 209Member
    Dammit... I should have posted something here some while ago... Well ladies and gentlemen. For the next part, go here Real Time Cloud Map and grab yourself a bunch of cloud maps. If that source is not enough try get some water vapor (usually in IR and no color information = good for later). There are a few NASA satellites (if my buddies have not got re-assigned to moon base yet) and some French and ESA ones, Meteosat comes to my mind. Watch out for artificially induced coastal / continental white borders. The geophysics guys tend to like those borders. They can of course be removed with the price of time and effort and preferably a tablet with a a pentagram in-graved and a lamb sacrificed.

    After this we will paint some clouds using them maps as templates and clone-bases. In larger projects I start with painting a cloud-alpha to have for cutting away things just like the surface color alpha. It's neat and handy but not a must.

    Now I will paint my map and I shall post it and some progress pictures as soon as possible =)

    Keep up the good works folks

    Dr. Asz, over and out
  • aszazerothaszazeroth176 Posts: 209Member
    .... and here we have a snapshot of my map, with respect to major weather patterns laid out before. This is the "static" map, since the dynamic Maya fluids map will require a small farm / frame and I am currently fresh out of farming-time.

    figure_clouds.jpg
    figure 15. Sample of cloud map with weather pattern. 256 Greyscale.

    Now I guess it's time to swoop though all the maps once more... add some details and perhaps some more nightlights. Then we should be ready to fire up our favorite 3D program and do some renders...

    Cheers
    //Dr.Asz
  • RamielRamiel5 Posts: 0Member
    Like I've said before... YOU ARE THE PLANET MASTER!:D
  • aszazerothaszazeroth176 Posts: 209Member
    Thanks Ramiel, a good word warms and fuels the inspiration !
  • aszazerothaszazeroth176 Posts: 209Member
    Time to head into the 3D part for some real renders.

    First off you should by now have a few texture maps.

    1. Colormap : The color of land and ocean with all the gritty little details.

    2. Alphamap : The B/W control mask that will separate the the land and the ocean.

    3. Specmap : The specular highlight level control map. A grey scale map that depending on your 3D program will either entire white or entire black at the ocean and have grey scale features (you could easily just throw in a dimmed version of the colormap) for the landspecular. Remember to add atleast some landspecular, especially for deserts and such, otherwise they will look bland in renders to come.

    Note: Another important thing is to really make sure you include rivers and small lakes in the specular and alpha control maps

    4. Bumpmap : Controls the bump, an effect mostly visible towards the terminus. You can successfully omit this one if you are doing full disc shots as any kind of overused bump will take away sense of planetary scale. Use very carefully and always in low numbers.

    5. Cloudmap : The devil among sheep. Not only is it harder to make and takes more time, but it's also a nasty thing to handle. I prefer it to be atleast twice the resolution compared to the rest of the maps, it with 8k landmaps => 16k clouds. This is where you can run into memory problems. Maya does not like to load 16k maps at all unless you chop them up (I used Mental Ray memory map files). Max is not fond of them either (try trim down all unnecessary colors and use low samples where possible). Blender did not really care, but the resulting files can reach spectacular file sizes. Anyways there are ways around these limitations, you just need to know the tricks.

    Additional maps that can be useful are,

    1b. Nightlightsmap : Citylights and perhaps some very faint shine on desert and ice parts. Also use this map with caution. I tend to overbright the nightlights on my renders so I usually have to tone down it on later renders.

    1c. Disastermap : Natural catastrophe map with volcanos , roid impacts, lightning, nukes or what-have-yous. Let your imagination be the guide.

    1d. Irradiancemap : For gasgiants, I use an irradiance map to mimic the excess radiation released from potential gravitational energy conversion (Slightly glowing)

    5b. Cloudbump : For closeups and for gasgiants.

    All these maps can be divided into smaller parts, like for instance I might have a separate ocean specular than land specular and then join them in the 3D program. Consult your manual on how to do that or ask away in the Q&A forums.

    So it's time to make the actual model then. I prefer using NURBS spheres whenever it's possible due to auto-tesselating at render time. With sizes I work usually with program-units and convert manually sort of like one program-unit = 100 km or so, producing a sphere with roughly 600 units radii for an earthlike planet. The actual model setup is then pretty easy.

    Sphere 1 : Surface sphere. (Nightlights get blended in, in my setup (Deks' version differs)
    Sphere 2b: SFX sphere (lightning mostly) , ridicusly close to surface in size. Usually not cast shadows, only receive on this one as it only "adds" light effects.
    Sphere 2 : Cloud sphere. 1.02 times the surface sphere (depends a bit on planet)
    Sphere 3 : Atmosphere sphere. 1.05 times the surface sphere (depends a bit on planet). Turn of cast shadows but keep receive shadows on this one

    Now that we have the scene geometry setup I usually add a light so I can do some feeling / test renders.

    I pick a nice basic shader, like blinn or phong (or more advanced if you feel the need to play around, for instance oren-nayar is good for gasgiants). <max talk> I setup the colormap in the diffuse slot, the mixed specularmap in the specular level, bumpmap in the bump slot. I usually keep the bump at about 3 to 5. If needed be, I also mask out the ocean/land parts with the alphamap to make sure I get only bump on the land and to add some noisebump waves to the ocean if I am going Low Planet orbit. I tend to like to keep the glossiness pretty tight, perhaps a good value of a few tens, like 30-60 depending again how it looks in the render. </max talk> This first surface part should be really straight forward in most 3D programs and there are only a handful parameters that need to be tweaked to your liking.

    3D_1.jpg
    Fig 3D.1. Resulting shader for the surface sphere, part 1.

    Now tweak the h3ll out of every parameter to learn their effects, render tests and play around. When we come back we will tackle the cloud sphere.

    Have fun

    //Dr.Asz
  • Northern_MindNorthern_Mind0 Posts: 0Member
    now i'm just blown away by this tutorial but are you coming back to this one ? :D:D:D
  • aszazerothaszazeroth176 Posts: 209Member
    Hey there Northern_Mind. Thanks. I will come back to the tutorial sometime, just have to deal with a few real-life related issues. I have the next post written on my PDA that I borrowed out to my sister (bad move, since I haven't gotten it back in about two months). Stay tuned ... If anyone have any questions or suggestions then feel free to discuss them here on the forum.
  • Aszazeroth, and everyone in general, I have a dumb question :D

    *I have Vue, not MAX, so that limits my options, hence this question*
    Say you wish to show a VERY close planetary approach or the like, but, as you note, the texture sizes and work involved are a LOT for whole world map. Could I use instead, a sphere sliced to obtain a square, UV Map it. Then use that to give proper planet curvature and more reasonable texture sizes?

    ie, for example, say it's Earth, and your scene is say 50 mile sor so up. Why not cut out for example, a square of the Eastern US seaboard and Atlantic?

    And, in reverse of your work, boolean (or whatever) the main planet, so you could switch from high orbit, to low, and use large texture as guide/original for close up one?

    If that makes sense! :)
  • aszazerothaszazeroth176 Posts: 209Member
    Aszazeroth, and everyone in general, I have a dumb question :D

    *I have Vue, not MAX, so that limits my options, hence this question*
    Say you wish to show a VERY close planetary approach or the like, but, as you note, the texture sizes and work involved are a LOT for whole world map. Could I use instead, a sphere sliced to obtain a square, UV Map it. Then use that to give proper planet curvature and more reasonable texture sizes?

    I don't see any trouble at all in that approach. In fact I have used it myself on several occasions. My techniques are not really specific to any particular 3D package either. I have successfully made cool planets using other software than max too, although never Vue (yet).
    ie, for example, say it's Earth, and your scene is say 50 mile sor so up. Why not cut out for example, a square of the Eastern US seaboard and Atlantic?

    Just remember that you will have to "upgrade" the resolution of that piece and the bump/normal map that can be omitted in orbital shots, must often be applied here.

    And, in reverse of your work, boolean (or whatever) the main planet, so you could switch from high orbit, to low, and use large texture as guide/original for close up one?
    If that makes sense! :)

    Last part did not actually make sense to me... But feel free to ask, experiment in a WIP thread, and explain

    Cheers
    //Aszazeroth
  • No worries, and thanks mate, awesome work you've done :)
    And, in reverse of your work, boolean (or whatever) the main planet, so you could switch from high orbit, to low, and use large texture as guide/original for close up one?
    If that makes sense!

    I mean, to save texture sizes on close approaches, have two set ups or two scenes, copy 1st scene into second scene, then just use a split (or booleaned whatver your package uses) part of the original planet sphere, as talked about, for very close approach. So original uses large spherical texure map for planet, then transitions to next scene using square texture map on split part of sphere.
    Yes I know, I'm a noob ;)
  • aszazerothaszazeroth176 Posts: 209Member
    I think it might be time to round up this tutorial and transfer the goods to a PDF. Finally I decided to do the 3D part in Blender so that it will be fair use for all of you =)

    This is what the result may look like (still tweaking and learning Blender myself). The textures use here are the ClubSFM textures that are available in the mesh download section.

    Stay tuned... I'll post a small blender pre-setup soon.
  • aszazerothaszazeroth176 Posts: 209Member
    Sorry about the lack of pictures... the off-site hosting server is defunct and needs to be repaired... Trying to fast track the PDF document instead.

    Here is a preview of what I have got sofar

    [edit] attaching the first pages too [/edit]

    [edit to edit] had to convert the screenshots to jpg... was not allowed to upload large .bmp:s =) [/edit to edit]
    45834.jpg45835.jpg45836.jpg45837.jpg
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