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Making Psychedelic Planets


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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.

Plugins Required

A. Self-Negation (it looks like the post got removed so get it here: Self-Negation.zip)

B. Shape 3D

C. Glow


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!

Edited by Xhin
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The Self-Negation thread is here http://forums.getpaint.net/index.php?/topic/25083-color-self-negation-now-v11/


Nice tutorial! (except for the size of the images which you'll be fixing asap - right? ;) )


Can I ask for a PDF version to be added as a download?  Please?

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Hi Xhin - Thank you SO much for this tutorial.  It has taught me a lot about layer mode choices and I love your plugin :D .


May I suggest at Step 18, you make a small correction.  It says 'Repeat steps 11 - 13 (New layer, lighten, GB, merge) New layer should be 'Duplicate layer' instead.


Here is my attempt and I'd like to mention that whilst I couldn't get onto the forum, I played with your plugin and made a piece of jewelry which I will dedicate to you and put into my Gallery :) .



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How I made Jennifer & Halle in Paint.net

My Gallery | My Deviant Art

"Rescuing one animal may not change the world, but for that animal their world is changed forever!" anon.

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Nice tutorial! (except for the size of the images which you'll be fixing asap - right? ;) )


Forum Rules #29

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  • 4 weeks later...

Xhin - You've had more than enough time to resize these images. Beautiful as they are, they are far too large.


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