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Wither

Making Polished Spacescapes

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This tutorial is available as a PDF. Click here to view or download it

 

Required Plugins

Shape3D

Outline Object

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The point of this tutorial is to make something similar to this.

1

I would also like to encourage you to find other uses for this besides just a signature. There are a myriad of other uses for this, so be sure to experiment. Don't just pass it off as another signature you'll never use, use it as a learning tool to further your understanding and possible uses of Paint.NET's effects and plugins! :D

Ok, so first off make a black background and add stars. Click here if you don't know how to add stars quickly and easily.

Then make a new layer and fill it with any color. I prefer blue, just because I like the color blue. :P

2

Run Shape3D on this layer. I encourage you to play with the size and position. Lowering the 'Z' (forward/back) value of the Light will tell S3d that the light is very far behind the object, giving it this eclipsed look. Remember to adjust the light to relate to your lightsource. In this case, the 'sun' is going to be above and behind the planet.

One last thing, the strength of my Light here is 5.20. Strength of just 1 would have worked, but I found it far too dim for my taste.

3

Now let's make a moon, because it looks better than having no moon. 😉

Make a new layer and use Clouds. The default settings will do fine. For best results, use black and white for your colors.

Run Shape3D on the cloud layer. Remember that the moon should be much smaller than the planet. If you'll notice, I changed the "X" (left/right) value of the Light. The sun will be slightly off to the side of the moon. It would look weird if it was perfectly straight up like the planet. Always remember that sometimes, it's the most infinitely subtle of details that really pull a picture together.

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Now let's add some atmosphere to the planet itself.

Make another new layer and add clouds again. Once more, default settings are perfect.

Shape3D once more. Use the same settings you did for the original planet.

Now you should move the planet layer up and set it to Overlay.

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Next we'll make the sun. Go to Render -> Mandelbrot Fractal.

Default settings all around, except for the angle. I set that to 180. You'll notice that there's a little tip that's pointing down now.

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After that's done rendering, move the fractal so that the tip is just over the planet. (or wherever else it is you'd like your sun to be.)

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Now, Motion Blur the fractal in the direction you want the sun to shine. (In this case, down.) Do it at a low setting and repeat a few times. It looks better than using a really large distance all at once in my opinion.

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Now, use 'feathered brushes' to get a soft selection and copy over only the part of the sun you want. (in my case the very tip)

Setting the sun layer to Additive will remove all the extra black parts.

Do any other minor tweaks you want to your sun.

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Now for all that atmospheric dust! I'll direct you to the 'feathered brushes' tutorial again for this section, because it makes everything look A TON better.

Make a new layer and fill it with clouds at default settings. Your color choice should be Black and a light shade of any color. Lower your primary opacity and make a new layer. Clone some of the clouds into the new layer, make sure you don't color over the planet or anything.

Alternatively, you could use Clouds on the entire layer. That works great for covering the entire scene with 'atmo dust'. However I prefer the method mentioned above because of the softness of the edges.... Your mileage may vary.

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Set the new clone layer to Glow and lower the opacity.

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Repeat that step with a bunch of different cloud colors.

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Do some final adjustments for your atmospheric dust. Lower/raise the opacity of the different layers... whatever looks good to you.

Go back to the sun layer, and use zoom blur. set the focal point around the middle of the sun. Blur to preference.

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Go back to the base planet layer (the solid color one you started with). Select everything outside the planet and invert selection. Make a new layer under the planet layer, then fill your selection with white. Zoom blur with the focal point in the middle of the white dot. Lower the opacity of the layer to make it a bit more subtle.

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Finally, the text. I used Space Age because it fit well with the theme, but please use whatever font you wish.

Write your text (in white) on a new layer. Duplicate that layer and invert the colors (so it's black). On the newly black layer, use Outline Object to outline the text in white. A width of 4 and softness of 255 is what I used here.

Now, go back to your top (white) layer, and make a radial gradient from the center out in Transparency mode.

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You're done!

Again, you can use this technique for far more than signatures and you could expand on this even farther to make some really cool spacescapes...

For example, I used the same atmospheric dust and white eclipse (the zoom blurred "white dot") technique here.

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Have fun! I intentionally left out one or two of the little details (like desaturating the planet a little... Oops, just gave that away, didn't I? >_>) that I did after it was done. That way I can be sure you've learned something. 😉

 

Edited by Woodsy
Rehosted to Postimage. Added PDF

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Personally, I would've just used "clouds" for the clouds, would be much faster.

But this is a pretty good tut, mixing with your other tuts/methods.

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Hmm you're very right. I prefer feathering them in because it gives me control over where they appear and makes very soft edges that come into the picture without a defined edge. I'll edit that into the first post. No reason for my preference to be misrepresented as the only way to do something like this. >_>

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Hmm you're very right. I prefer feathering them in because it gives me control over where they appear and makes very soft edges that come into the picture without a defined edge. I'll edit that into the first post. No reason for my preference to be misrepresented as the only way to do something like this. >_>

Clouds + :LinearGradient: in :AlphaChannel: can give soft edges and control over where they appear.

That's how I usually do it, But like you said "people should know there are many methods to reach the same thing"

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Hmm you're very right. I prefer feathering them in because it gives me control over where they appear and makes very soft edges that come into the picture without a defined edge. I'll edit that into the first post. No reason for my preference to be misrepresented as the only way to do something like this. >_>

Clouds + :LinearGradient: in :AlphaChannel: can give soft edges and control over where they appear.

That's how I usually do it, But like you said "people should know there are many methods to reach the same thing"

Or better yet...

Render your clouds. Lasso select the part you want to "feather". Invert your selection and use the Transparency adjustment plugin to change the transparency to 0. The Channel Blur the alpha channel desired amount; 10px to 15px is pretty good. :D

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Clouds + :LinearGradient: in :AlphaChannel: can give soft edges and control over where they appear.

That's how I usually do it, But like you said "people should know there are many methods to reach the same thing"

Or better yet...

Render your clouds. Lasso select the part you want to "feather". Invert your selection and use the Transparency adjustment plugin to change the transparency to 0. The Channel Blur the alpha channel desired amount; 10px to 15px is pretty good. :D

Hey, cool to learn some new methods :)

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Nice work! You always write great tutorials. In fact, you posted this one when I was halfway done trying to replicate the amount of detail you had put into your own sig. :D

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Very good tutorial Wither, many people have attempted similar but you have taken yours to a new level using your "soft brushes" technique. Anyway very good effort and here is my first attempt:

SpaceScape.jpg

(I prefer having only one colour of "atmospheric dust".)

Geoff

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Aha! Now we can make BarkBark00's space capsule sig!

I don't know...he got one of my few perfect 10's... :P

You mean 11/10, don't you?

Subject: Rate the sig of the poster above you!

@Enormator: Solid 7/10. I like the fading color across it and the gradient top-down.

@Helio: 10/10. That's hot.

@barkbark00: If any sig is an perfect 11, it's yours. How are you people so good?!?

Too much awesomeness...on one page...errrrr...whoops, now I've got slobber on my keyboard. :?

P.S. Don't know if I ever said "thank you" for that...

Thanks T_Lh! :D

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@iKid: nope.

------------

*sighs in utter contentment remembering bb00 capsule*

You know, In-My-Honest-Opinion, your "Time Capsule" is the best and most beautiful signature ever made with PDN. No joke. :shock:

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Aha! Now we can make BarkBark00's space capsule sig!

I don't know...he got one of my few perfect 10's... :P

You mean 11/10, don't you?

P.S. Don't know if I ever said "thank you" for that...

Thanks T_Lh! :D

I stand corrected. It was a pretty awesome picture. :D

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Hi Wither! I came up with this following most steps from your tutorial :mrgreen: :

th_ColorfulSpacedone.jpg

(Clicky for full size)

(Yes, I applied Glow at the end :P )

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