I have created a VERY simple model… A sphere. BUT! This is no ordinary sphere, for the material is set up with all the textures available here! That’s right… Cloud map, bump map, specular map, everything…

Also, I tried my hardest to make it as photorealistic as possible. Atmospheric effects using ramp shaders and nodes, stars in the background (although, these are not so realistic considering true photographs from space don’t show many stars), and other nice touches.

So, go ahead. Comment, critique, and do whatever you want. I love criticism… If you see anything not realistic, tell me! Show me in my face what I did wrong. Otherwise, I’ll never know to fix it.

With no further ado, here is the rendered image:

And, the .blend:

Earth.blend (107 KB)

Put the texture files from the link in my first paragraph into a ‘textures’ folder, the textures folder held in the same folder as the .blend. So, in the folder you download it to you will see:


textures being a folder with the images from that website.

And, enjoy! And comment!

looks very nice, i like the atmospheric glow…

The glow was done with nodes, but the bluish tint around the edges of the planet were done with a ramp shader with nor value input.

Typing that got me to thinking if I could make it brighter on the edges as well, so I looked in Blender and changed the colorband ‘method’ from ‘Mix’ to ‘Add’. Here’s the modified render:

And the new .blend:

Earth.blend (107 KB)

Note: you still have to put the textures in a ‘textures’ folder, as stated in my first post.

In real photos you wouldn’t see the stars behind such a bright object as the Earth. And your image could use some curve adjustments, the earth seems too dim. Try googling for some reference photos, like this:
Otherwise it looks nice. Perhaps a more dynamic composition though, right now it’s right smack dab in the middle and looks too symmetrical.

The sun appears to be at the wrong angle to the rotation of the earth.


Ok, how about this:

And the .blend (same organization as stated in first post):

Earth.blend (107 KB)

Instead of messing with curves, I simply made my sun lamp brighter.Hope that works for ya. Next, I need to add the city lights for the night side, and somehow blend them into the main material.

Now I think its too bright.

Well if we use this as a reference, yours is too bright and has way too much “glow”. Also your clouds look kinda weird…wrong color.

Nice Earth. Make it Rotate, Very nice texture.

Borgleader, the discoloration is due to the textures I had available to me. My glow color is also influenced. For it to be photorealistic, it should be more blue and less green. However, for the sake of the texture, let’s say that this Universe’s atmosphere has certain chemicals that make it that color.

Earth.blend (107 KB)

More critique, though!

There are two basic approaches you can take towards rendering Earth: you can either try for a photorealistic look, or a more classic, bluish look. The colors of the maps you’re using are not ideal for either of those approaches. Take a look at NASA’s Blue Marble collection; there are some great maps there. Otherwise, I think the main thing that could be improved is the atmosphere. You might want to read through my Earth tutorial to get some ideas. I’ve put together a Blue Marble model which outdates that tutorial, but I’m hoping to update the tutorial soon. I can send you the .blend for the Blue Marble model if you like.

By the way, it looks to me like your globe is transparent; is that intentional?

The globe is not transparent. It is just the lighting.

It started as a demonstration to a friend on how you could make something look more complex than it actually is. It is only a single sphere, not multiple spheres like your method. The material does not use nodes or anything new like that, simply a bunch of layered textures. The clouds even cast shadows, through using the cloud alpha mask as a bump map as well.

I had heard of Blue Marble, but forgot about it when I was doing this test. I’ll download the textures from NASA, and use those. They’re probably better anyway :slight_smile:

Though, looking at the Blue Marble collection, there is no specular map.

It shouldn’t be too hard to make a specular map from the color map, in Photoshop or GIMP just select the blue water, fill it with pure white, and then invert the selection and fill it with pure black.

I forgot about the specular mask. NASA has various versions of that in this directory. They should line up perfectly with their other maps.