Earth from space

Hello all,

OK. First of all, I am not an expert in Blender. I got into 3D modelling and animation because I wanted to make realistic looking images of different objects in space, such as the Earth, nebulae, etc…and animating them. Now, Blender gives plenty of possibilities in this subject, but the matter is that I can’t fully get a grip on them.

After a week or so of tutorial-reading and trying things out, I finally managed to come up with a rotating earth with stars in the background and a quite neat looking Sun. However, I have encountered several problems. If you could give me a hint or help me out I would be grateful. Here they are :

  1. Even though I have a 16MB resolution image of the Earth’s surface (yes, 16MB), when rendered, the Earth looks like a big bunch of pixels. The texture is mapped onto a high resolution UVSphere with ‘set smooth’ turned on. Why can’t I get a decent looking Earth with a 16MB resolution texture? From far away, it looks OK, but that isn’t my aim. Every time I wonder how you guys end up with excellent close-ups of the Earth with lesser resolution textures…
  2. When animated (ie. camera rotating around the Earth), the starry background (created with the ‘stars’ option) changes drastically : the stars seem to be very close to the Earth! How can I avoid this and have stars only in the background, not in 3D?
  3. Any other hint would be useful on this subject, such as how do you create gas-clouds (nebulae), comets, etc…everything space-related that could help me out. Just point me in the right direction, I don’t want 30 pages of text explaining where you should click.

If you need, I can post images of my renders showing the pixelation that is going on.

Thank you in advance

ok, first of the texture, i use 8mb textures and its pretty decent (8mb jpeg), what kind of texture is it? how do you apply it? .blend file?

second, the star bg you will have to dl or make an own texture, and map it as a world texture to have basically “fixed stars”.
this could work: http://thebrb.com/stockpile/files/starfieldimage/starfield.png

nebulae i dont know, didnt make any in blender, i did some asteroids and comets with the particle system, you will need to play with that.

nebulae, scroll down on this page:
http://www.cogfilms.com/tutorials.html

there is actually a pretty good tutorial on a flaming asteroid fireball here: http://www.blendernation.com/2006/12/01/tutorial-fake-volumetrics/

Thank you for all those tutorials!! The image I used is this one :

http://www.truecg.com/images/stories/blender/earth/textures/earth_surface.png

I was wondering : if one only wants to render a part of a planet, shouldn’t it be better to create a sphere and then cut out the parts which won’t be rendered and only then map the texture on the planet? Maybe this way, the texture will look more realistic…

You may want to check out this thread as well.

http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?t=112416&highlight=Earth+Zoom