Today I will show you how to make psychedelic planets. I've been making a bunch of art based on these recently and I think I've got the technique down.
A. Self-Negation (it looks like the post got removed so get it here: Self-Negation.zip)
B. Shape 3D
1. I like to start with a black layer of stars just so I can get the feel of the outcome.
2. Pick two colors about 1/4 around the color wheel from each other. I like using blue and pink most of the time, but this time I'm using orange and green.
3. Create a diagonal gradient of the two colors. I like working with a 3200x2400 canvas, but you'll have your own preferences.
4. Add some mild dents. In this case you want something barely visible, just enough to add a little texture. I usually do a high scale, low refraction and medium roughness.
5. Use my nice Self-Negation plugin set to 2 repetitions to get a nice blend of textured color.
6. Run a twist at maximum Size settings (I leave the amount at the default here).
7. Run a Shape 3D. Go ahead and set the ambient lighting up to something more visible (0.45 is what I use).
8. Use the "Object Rotation" settings to align the twist at a good spot. The controls aren't exactly intuitive here, and you don't want the clamped part of the image to show (where all the points come together basically, you'll see what I mean).
9. Lastly, set the anti-alias of the shape 3D to 5 (you don't want any nasty jagged edges showing up at later points). Go ahead and render the Shape 3D.
10. Zoom into whatever the 100% is (as I said I tend to run with larger canvases).
11. Duplicate the layer, set the top layer to "Lighten".
12. Run a gaussian blur on the top layer so there's just a slight halo around the planet.
13. Merge these layers down.
14. Duplicate the planet, set the top layer to lighten again and run Zoom blur.
15. Shift the hue of the top layer slightly (not too much, or you'll run into granularity issues later!). Don't worry if it seems to ruin the colors (it won't usually, but sometimes), your goal is just to add some extra color and texture into the mix.
16. Merge the top layer down.
17. *now* use Hue/Saturation to make a more interesting color set.
18. Repeat steps 11-13 (new layer, lighten, gaussian blur, merge).
19. Do #18 again, except instead of doing a gaussian blur, do a glow.
20. Do #18 again, except on the bottom layer and at full gaussian blur settings to add a bit of an outline. You might need to feather the top layer too.
Here's my final result:
Here are some samples (out of context) of other psychedelic planets I've done:
I experiment a lot with the different settings. You should too!