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Creating your custom planets in Poser

Author: Shakeno

Tools Needed

* Poser


Are you tired of those pixel restricted space backgrounds? Don't worry, in this tutorial, you will learn how to create a planet in just some minutes, and you can create a planet with all the specifications you want. This tutorial is not only for background creation, you can look directly to your planet, and you can rotate it if you want to make an animation.


Step 1: Space knowledge

Ok, you want to create your own planet, but you have to know first some things about planets and have some ideas about them.

First, you have to know planets are not just simple spheres. They are flattened by their poles.

Also you must know there are some types of planets. The main ones are solid rocks (for example, the Moon and Mars are solid rocks), solid rocks with atmosphere (the Earth is one of them), gas spheres (Jupiter is only a gas ball). Some of them have liquids, like liquid methane' etc.

Second, solid planets are more near of its star than gas planets, and gas planets often are bigger than rock planets, because their particles have got more distance between them. Remember: OFTEN are bigger, but not always

Third, you must know if a solar system is only a star and a gas planet, the gas planet can modify its star gravity, so if you want to make an animation, not always is planet-to-star-around rotation, for situations like the one I mentioned before, think on a common center, and both planet and star rotate over it.

Fourth, planets which are a mix between rocks and atmosphere, not always the atmosphere rotates in the same direction, sometimes they turn in opposite direction.

Fifth, many planets haven't got any moon, while other planets have got a lot. Think about it for your planet.

Step 2: Main ideas about your planet

Now, you know the basics, let's ask you some question to give you ideas about your planet:

What kind of planet will be?

What's the planet temperature? (If you want a temperature of -120'C, you can't have liquid water)

What will be the planet theme? (For example, a grass paradise, a desert, a water world, a lava land, ice')

Which color are you going to paint your planet with?

Will have got live things? Is it at least able to live here? (Humans can't live in a world which is about 230'C)

Always make questions to yourself, so you will get the idea. Not all questions you can ask yourself are shown here, I just asked the minimum things, imagination is near infinite.

Step 3: Basic Sphere

Assuming you have selected your theme, you can start. I selected this time a green rock with white clouds floating over it and blue liquids.

Start by creating the rock layer. We are going to use this prop: Props > Primitives > Ball Hi-Res. Double click on it and it should appear.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You have to choose a location for all the balls we are going to create, so copy your X, Y and Z values, because you must use EXACTLY the same, or your planet will be strange.

Now, you've placed your giant rock, you must give it the flattened sphere style by poles.

Set the xRotate, yRotate and zRotate to 0', then set the xScale to 100%, zScale to 100% and yScale to 97%. It should look like this:



~But that's too shiny. We are not making marbles for children games, so go to the material section and set the specular value to 0.1 or 0.0.



Step 4: Bevel in your sphere

'Hey, I've got a plain white sphere! That's useless! I don't want a flat world' ← If you feel this, please be patient, and you will be able to create nice mountains in your planet.

It's time to add some displacement. You can select any texture, but I recommend to use the fractal_sum 3D texture (right click with the mouse, New Node > 3D Textures > fractal_sum). You can also use a real image to add the displacement.


Now play and experiment with its values, to get your desired effects. I used these values:


If you want more valleys and mountains, use smaller scales. If you want smoother differences between valleys and mountains, use lower octave and bias values and higher gain values, and if you want more valleys, use higher bottom values, but if you want more mountains, use lower bottom values.

Connect the fractal_sum (or any shader you created) we've created to 'displacement'


I recommend don't use very high values on displacement. That can be really unrealistic. I recommend values lower than 2.

Let's test what we have created. Click on 'Render settings', select FireFly and activate these boxes:

Texture Filtering


Smooth Polygons (Optional, but recommended)

Use displacement maps (IMPORTANT)

And I got this rocky thing:


Step 5: Add some fake bevel in your sphere to add detail

That rock keeps looking plain. We have to do something!

Go again to the MATERIAL section, and choose 'New Node > 3D Textures > Clouds'.

Those are the settings I used:


Required is that you select black and white values in colors. We are going to use this for bumping our sphere!

Next, connect 'Clouds' to 'Bump' and set the value you want.


Let's see what we have got now, let's make a render:


Step 6: Paint the ball!

I'm sure you know we need something beautiful to paint your planet.

You can use another shader or a texture. I will use a shader.

I used again the 'Clouds' shader (New Node > 3D Textures > clouds), and I used these values:


Remember, play and experiment with values, this is just an example. I used these because I want a beauty green and dirty terrain. I recommend smoothing a lot the differences between Sky and Cloud with the Gain value.


But there's something that we need' and here left'

Step 7: Water (or liquids, oceans)

If you want to add water, just create another sphere, with the same scales, and set the general scale just a bit more than the default (this is something you must find by yourself, experiment with the 3 axes scale value).Don't worry, Z-Buffer will prevent the water to mess your terrain. You only need to set up the correct Scale. Remember that if you add water, it will need to have a bit more specularity than the terrain one. You have to remember too water isn't fully opaque, you will have to give it some transparency, unless it's not H2O. Opacity and specularity depends of the substances the water is composed of.

After making a clone of the rock sphere, I scaled it to 101%.

Now, paint your oceans. Go to 'materials' and use a texture or shader. I used again the 'Clouds' shader (New Node > 3D Textures > Clouds)

After adding it, you shouldn't give different colors or it will look really bad. You should give the same color with different hue, luminosity and saturation. Here are the values I have used:


And here, the values in the main shader options (Remember to set up your specular and transparency values!):


Now connect your blue 'Clouds' shader to Diffuse_Color and Specular_Color. You should have something like this:


If you want to extreme details in your planet adding a moon, remember this: The moon attracts the planet's water, so if you want that extreme detail, use a very smooth magnet here. That's not really needed because people won't be able to notice your changes.

Step 8: Clouds

Yeah! Finally! A sky! We can breathe!

Add another Props > Primitives > Ball Hi-Res to your scene. Next, scale it a lot' a lot' a lot' well' this depends of what amount of terrain you want your planet look like, or how many altitude you want in the last sky layer'

Let's begin. I used 110% of scale.

Now the materials again, and yes, let's use a shader.

First remember clouds have got volume, so we have to add some displacement and bump. Also, unless you want to have chewing gum instead of clouds, set the 'specular_value' to 0.2 or less. I used 0.2.

Add the fractal_sum shader (New Node > 3D Textures > fractal_sum). Set up that shader. I used these values:


I recommend small scale values, but experiment with the values you want, enough to get happy with them. Please note, you must use the same scaling value for x, y and z. You will see in the next shader why.

Now connect it to bump and displacement. Please! Do not put very high values on bump and displacement or it will look really weird!

I used for bump 0.25 and for displacement 0.5.

Now add another shader. I highly recommend 'clouds' (New Node > 3D Textures > clouds). The scale values must be the same as the 'fractal_Sum' shader we added before. Experiment with the other values until you get your desired effect. I used these values as another example:


Sorry about that name. I added this shader after the shader you will use in the next step, but that doesn't make any matter. Don't worry about that.

Connect that shader to 'Transparency' and 'Transparency_edge'.

The value for 'Transparency' must be 1.0, and 'Transparency_edge' 0.6 (or just a little more) if you want a color atmosphere (for example, the earth has it blue, but I don't recommend that for atmosphere because it will be deformed by the displacement. If you want an atmosphere, I recommend a lot more that you create another sphere with the atmosphere color, and use the same scale as the cloud layer), this will happen when you add the shader in the next step. The 'Sky_color' in the next shader would be the atmosphere color.

If you want just clouds only and no atmosphere, set it to 1.0.

Now add the same shader you added before. I said I recommend 'clouds'

For clouds color, I recommend a bright color, like, for example, white, for 'Cloud_color'. Now, the 'Sky_color' it's the atmosphere color I told you before. I used a natural sky blue. Scale here should be lower than the transparency cloud shader.

Here is the example of my values:


Now, connect it to the 'Diffuse_color' value of the main shader.

After a render, you should have got something like this:


You can try adding more cloud layers if you want, but I don't recommend this, you may mess your scene if you add more. I recommend doing that only when it's a gas-only type planet.

Step 9: Setting up the scene

Ok. I think you don't want a brown like background solid color. You maybe want a 'realistic' space background. You can create one in Poser. Also you must set up a correct lighting.

Go to the Materials section, and pick the background. Add the shaders 'noise' and 'clouds' (New Node > 3D Textures > Noise/New Node > 3D Textures > clouds)

Select your values around these:


Connect “Cloud_color” to “noise”

Now the lights. How many stars does the solar system have? 1' 2' (more would be VERY SCI-FI)

You must place “infinite” style lights, with the angle where the sun is supposed to be. My solar system will have got one light. I'll use 2 lights for this. After locating lights, I used a yellow-white color. My star has these colors:

R= 0.493416

G= 0.458671

B= 0.367593

Where R is red, G is green and B is blue.

I changed the intensity to 226% and at the properties window, I selected Raytrace shadows.

Also, this optional step may be useful to give the planet some weight:

Change the camera scale to 20%, change the focal length to 90 mm. and adjust its position to catch what you want of your planet.

Now, let's test the render:


Step 10: Post-work

Finally we finished this! At last! This optional step can help you to get some cool effects or just fun on your images. I'll show you some examples to give you ideas:


Sun power


Nice UT Aimbot (gamers will know what I'm talking about)

I want to thank:

DAZ 3D, for being a high-quality community with high-quality freebies… …and allowing me to upload my tutorial here in an easy step-by-step format.

E-Frontier, for creating Poser 6.

You, for reading this tutorial.

I hope my bad English didn't kill you… also I hope too I helped you with this tutorial.

If you want, you can contact me to show me your results or if you have got any problem while following this tutorial.

Good luck creating planets!