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Creating a planet and moon in Poser

Author: xalthorn

Tools Needed

  • Poser

Introduction

If you've ever wanted to create a planetary system or otherwise have objects orbiting other objects, then this tutorial is for you.

In this tutorial I demonstrate how to create a planet, add some cloud cover, and also add a moon or two that will orbit the planet.

Step 1 - Put the planet in the scene

To start off with, we'll need a planet. Add a basic ball prop to the scene and rename it to 'Planet' by selecting 'Properties' from the 'Object' menu and changing the name in the window that appears.

Now change the Scale value of the planet to 200% to make it generally bigger.

Because the origin of the planet is at its base, display the origin (Object menu, Properties, Display Origin) and change the OriginY value to 0.050 to put the origin in the centre of the planet.

Now change the yTran to -0.050 to put the planet in the very centre of the scene.

Whilst we're at it, we'll change the main camera settings so that we can see what we're doing. I've set the camera to the following values.

Focal 38mm

hither 0.000

DollyZ 0.000

DollyY 0.000

DollyX 0.000

zScale 100

yScale 100

xScale 100

zOrbit 0

xOrbit -30

yOrbit -30

You should have something looking like the following

400-02ab1.jpg

It doesn't look much like a planet yet, but if you go to the following web address:

http://www.oera.net/How2/TextureMaps2.htm

Download the 'Earth Texture Natural Colors' and 'Earth Elevation/Bump' textures.

Now we have those textures we can make the planet look a little prettier. So, off we go into the 'Render' menu, selecting the 'Materials…' option.

Make sure that the 'Planet' is the selected Object so that we apply the changes to the right object.

Load the 'Earth Texture Natural Colors' texture that you saved into the Texture Map option and the 'Earth Elevation/Bump' into the Bump Map option. When you load the jpg file into the Bump Map option you may get a prompt to allow Poser to convert the bump map to a .bum file, click Ok and let it do the conversion for you.

Whilst we're setting the materials up, set the 'Highlight Size' slider to 0%, we're not creating a marble here.

If you render your scene or go to texture shaded view, you should have something looking like the following.

400-02ac1.jpg

Step 2 - Add some cloud cover if needed

Depending on what sort of planet you are creating, you may or may not want to bother with cloud cover. To show how it's done, I'm going to add the cover.

Add another ball to the scene and rename it to 'Planet Cloud' and display the origin. Scale the 'Planet Cloud' to 210%, change the OriginY to 0.050 and the yTran to -0.050.

Go back to the planet texture website and download the 'Earth Clouds' texture.

Now into the Render - > Materials… menu option again, making sure that we have the 'Planet Cloud' object selected.

This time, we don't want to change the texture or bump map, we want to load the 'Earth Clouds' texture into the Transparency Map option.

To finish off the clouds, set the Highlight size to 0%, the Transparency Min to 100% and the Transparency Max to 100%.

Once we're done there, we want to go to the 'Object' menu and select the 'Change Parent' option. Select the 'Planet' object from the list and click OK. This will ensure that the clouds will follow the planet should we move it around.

Now we'll try another render. You should hopefully have something looking like the following.

400-02ad1.jpg

Step 3 - Add a moon

Now for the moon. If you want multiple moons you can simply follow the instructions in this step until you have enough moons.

Add yet another ball prop into the scene, rename it to 'Moon' and display its origin. Scale the 'Moon' to 50%, change the OriginY to 0.050 and the yTran to -0.050.

Go back to the planet texture website and download one of the 'Moon' textures.

Now that we have a texture for the moon, go into the 'Render' menu, selecting the 'Materials…' option again.

Make sure that the 'Moon' is the selected Object so that we apply the changes to the right object.

Load the Moon texture that you saved into both the Texture Map option and the Bump Map option. We can get away with this because the texture is already a grayscale image. When you load the jpg file into the Bump Map option you may get a prompt to allow Poser to convert the bump map to a .bum file, click Ok and let it do the conversion for you.

Set the 'Highlight Size' slider to 0%, just like we did with the Planet.

Back to the scene, and we can't see the moon because it's essentially inside the planet. So change the Moon's xTran to 0.600 and it's OriginX to -0.600 and it should pop outside of the planet.

We do this because we want to make sure that the origin is at the centre of the planet.

To see what's happening with the moon and it's origin, turn the origin off for the Planet and the Planet Cloud objects and change the view to outline. You should see a green origin at the centre of the planet about the same size as the moon, like in the screen below.

400-02ae.jpg

A final tweak for the moon is to parent it to the Planet, so with the Moon selected, go to the 'Object' menu and select the 'Change Parent' option. Select the Planet object from the list and click on OK. This will make the moon follow the planet if you move it around, just like the clouds.

Now let's look at a render of the scene.

400-02af1.jpg

Step 4 - Try some rotations

The good thing about putting the origin of the moon in the centre of the planet is that if we want to make the moon orbit the planet we just have to change one of the Rotate values. Here are a couple of renders, the first with a yRotate of 45 and the second with a yRotate of 200.

400-02b01.jpg

400-02b11.jpg

Step 5 - A few final words

There we are, a complete little set up with a planet, it's cloud cover and a moon (or more if you got carried away).

The good thing about parenting things to the planet is that if you move, scale, rotate or otherwise mess around with the planet, the child objects will be affected in the same way.

If you wanted to make the cloud cover rotate around the planet, just change its rotate values.

If you want the moon to rotate or spin around as it orbits the planet, you'll need to place another object in the scene. What you would do is set up an object called 'moon placer' which is smaller than the moon and set it up in exactly the same way as you would the moon, basically setting its origin to the centre of the planet and also parenting it to the planet. You then create the moon object but place it's origin in the centre of itself as you do the planet (OriginY=0.050), but position the moon in exactly the same place as the 'moon placer'. You then parent the moon to the moon placer. The moon will now spin around its own origin and follow the moon placer as the moon placer orbits the planet.

If you'really want to get carried away, you could create the whole solar system revolving around a central sun instead of a planet.