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Planet rings


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

Hey guys. It's been a while since I've been posting, I dunno', leisurely, and I've decided to make up for it by writing a tutorial. I came up with this technique back when the SAC #1 was active, and I've found it quite effective. What we'll be doing is making planet rings from a gradient. Specifically, the gradient you choose. I won't be including a planet tutorial in here; maybe I'll make one in the future. I would definitely recommend this one though:100% PDN plnet tutorial v2. It's quite clever.


Alright, you'll need these plugins:

multicolor gradient

radial blur deluxe

Align object


This is your goal:



Let's begin.

1. Create a planet. Once again, I will not be including this; please refer to the above paragraph for a tutorial:)

An example:



2. Add a new layer above your planet layer. You can name it whatever you want, but for the sake of newbs, we'll call it "outline"



3. Next, select a bright, vivid color that you can pick out from the stars as your primary color. I usually use bright purple. Select the rectangle tool and adjust the menu to "draw filled shape".



4. Now hold shift to constrain a proportional shape, and draw a circle with about an inch worth of space between the top and bottom edges of the circle and the canvas border. I won't explain this in actual pixel values, because it can vary quite a bit depending on the resolution of the whole picture.



5. Go to effects>align object


In the both box, press the center circle. Some text at the bottom of this window should say "middle center". click OK.



6. Create a new layer above the "outline" layer. We'll call it "rings". Now what you're gonna want to do is click the square select tool from the toolbox, and draw a small square selection above the giant bright circle (which should be centered in the screen). Now, you're gonna want to do it the right way or the whole thing will get thrown off center.

you're not going to want much more than a few pixels between the selection and the circle.


You also won't want the two to overlap.


You also won't want it too wide (sorry I didn't add the slash watermark).


You'll want something along these lines:


Now, depending on whether you want thick rings or thin ones, you may want to change the height of the selection. Use the move selection tool for this(the white arrow).



7. Now for the actual gradient. Go to effects>render>multicolor gradient. Set the angle to 90, and play around with the settings. Change the nobs, the color count, and the actual colors to your desire. If you're too lazy to change every color, the random colors button may be appealing to you. This is what your rings will look like, so take time on this step. When you're done, click OK. If you don't see the gradient in your square selection, hit ctrl+F a few times until it appears. Once is usually enough.


An outline of what you should get:



8. Now duplicate the "rings" layer and go to layers>rotate/zoom. Use the following settings. Hit OK, and merge your new rings layer down to your old one.



9. Repeat step 8, but use the following settings instead(90 in the angle box if you can't see):



10. Do step 8 again with the angle set to 45:



11. Repeat step 8. This time around, drag the notch in the roll/rotate ball freely so more space between the "ringlets" is filled.



12. Repeat step 8 once more freehandedly. If you've done this right, there should be no free space between the gradient blocks. You should also end up with only one "rings" layer (don't forget step 8 ends with merging layers down).



13. With the rings layer selected, go to effects>blurs>radial blur deluxe (normal radial blur doesn't work too well).


Now adjust the settings to fit your creation. Use the following settings as a guideline, but don't forget to experiment. Also, keep X and Y centered to get an accurate effect (that's why we used align object to center before; so we wouldn't have to worry about this step later). You should get this:


Now delete the "outline" layer.



Your rings are done.


14. These last steps are optional; they are meant to deal with the "ring behind the planet" issue. It works pretty good unless you're adding invisible gradients and other stuff to your rings, in which case you gotta take time. I used invisible gradients in my SAC entry, and it took me days to get it right (i was new to the technique at the time). If you have you own technique for this, I encourage you to use it instead.

Now use layer rotate/zoom to arrange you rings around you planet in a way that looks artistic. This is an intuitive step.



15. Now select the portion of the rings layer with the lasso select tool that will appear behind the planet. If you're not really going to move the planet, this would be decent:


On the other hand, if you're going to adjust the planet's position, select almost the entire backside of the rings like so:





16. Create a new layer under the planet layer.


The finished product.



Space...The Final Frontier. -James Tiberius Kirk; circa 2260s


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This is just an outline of the technique; much clearer and crisper outcomes are quite possible. If you don't believe me, check out my original SAC entry in the archives. I also didn't want to eat up all my photobucket bandwidth with 30 hq tutorial steps.

Space...The Final Frontier. -James Tiberius Kirk; circa 2260s


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An easier way is to just draw random lines with a brush in a slightly circular form, use radial blur, duplicate the layer for thickness, and viola! You have a nicely done ring! There is a more in-depth tutorial on pdnfans using the same technique I just stated.

Also, for getting the ring behind the planet, there's an easier way:

Copy the section of the planet that would appear to be in front of the ring and paste it on a layer above the ring layer :)

Edited by Weylin
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