planet atmosphere

(goneflyin) #1

I’m working on a space animation and I want my planet to have that glow around it created by the atmosphere. I haven’t found a good way to do it and searching the knowledge database just turned up a bunch of broken links.

I’m also wanting to have the sun in the animation create lens flares.

Can anyone help?


(S68) #2

Place a SINGLE vertex mesh in planet’s center

Give it a Halo Material

The halo size must be bigger than the planet

Play with Alpha & Hardness (Here must be low <10)

Good luck


(goneflyin) #3

ok this may sound like a stupid question but what do I select to place a single vertex mesh in the scene? Is that the same as placing an empty? Or are you selecting grid under the mesh menu, and then just selecting the number of vertices?


(0ptikz) #4

Ok, this is really simple to do: Simply add a plane then delete three of the vertices. Grab the single remaining vert and Place it in the planets centre then give it a halo material.

You can use the same single vert principal to create lens flares too.

I made a .Blend file for space newbies a while back that you can download from here: (It has all that stuff in it)

As well as all this there is another even better method for creating atmospheres which looks like this:

This one was thought up by Env (Great Artist :smiley: ) the principal is this:

1.) Add a nurbs circle
2.) Alt+C to convert it to a mesh
3.) Use the constraint buttons to have the Circle track the camera (Making sure that the Circle is pointing Directly at the camera)
4.) Give it a new material with a spherical blend texture. Give the texture a colourband Making sure to get the alpha right. (In the above case I had the first colour of the colourband set to Black with the alpha turned right down and a second orange colour with the alpha turned up. )
5.)Set the material to “Shadeless”

Now, because of the constraints, the circle will always track the camera which creates the illusion of a proper atmosphere.

Hope that helped.

(goneflyin) #5

I sure appreciate all the help from you folks. I’ve only been using blender for about 3 to 4 weeks now and I’m totally addicted. I’ve been doing 3d modeling and animation for a couple of years but just recently decided to go blender all the way. I was using cinema 4d wich was ok but I only had the basic program which didn’t have squat for features, not compared to blender. Now if I can just figure out how to post pictures on here I’d like to get some feedback.


(SKPjason) #6

Just thought I’d add a note here concerning one of the blender “bugs” you will find if you use the “single vertice halo” trick to create a planet atmosphere…

If the vertice is NOT in the camera frame… (i.e. perhaps you are panning the stars to the planet) - the halo is not visible… suddenly when the vertice comes into camera frame the halo will suddenly appear - from out of nowhere… this is quite bothersome if you are doing an animation… it’s like the atmosphere simply “winks” into existance…

To avoid this I usually just duplicate the planet sphere mesh… size it down slightly… and use a halo material… adjusting the settings are a little trickier… but the end result is a planet atmosphere that will continue to be there if you go in for a real “close up” shot and the “single vertice” is not in the frame…

Hope this helps…

Jason Saville/SKPjason
Auburn, New York USA Good Ol’ Earth

(acasto) #7

Depending on what style you are going for, using a halo, unless done just right will not give you the most realistic looking atmosphere. The thing it gives you is the taper, but in real life there is few times you can see a good taper. The way the atmosphere at a given time looks is dependant upon multiple things, such as: what the light is reflecting UP off of, what angle the light is hitting, what angle the light is coming back up at after hitting the ground, etc… Since blender can not do this automatically based on camera posistion, I find it best to keep the atmosphere simple. I use just a shpere with the color I want, then set transparency, then adjust alpha, emit, etc… Then based on my camera angle, I can easily addjust the color or such so that it best fits the moment. When you use more complex measure such as some above, it can be difficult to control and adjust constantly. However, if you are going for a more animated/Final Fantasy look, using a halo would probably give you a better effect.

Here is a couple planets I have done in Blender:

(adyus) #8

[email protected], sorry to bother you again but i’ve got a problem with your suggestion: the circle doesn’t show! How did you set the lights for it? And how did you make those beautiful rings around the planet?

<edit>solved it, silly me…got the colors on the colorband inverted…solved it now. But i still don’t know how you made those rings…or that cool planet texture…are the objects close to the camera or did you tweak the lens?</edit>

(KC0GRN) #9

BTW Acasto, that was the best earth render I’ve seen yet in blender :slight_smile:

Most times I think the hardest part of doing a planet is to have a good texture map. And applying the clouds, bump map, getting the specularity right.

Any possible way I could look at the blend file for that one of the earth? I promise I won’t copy it or anything, I’m just curious about looking at the settings you used.

BTW, I had played around with doing saturn’s rings for a long time, couldn’t figure out how to get the texturing to work. Basically you have an image file of a cross section of the rings, then, make a tube (yes, a tube) and apply the ring texture to it (make sure to apply the texture before you make any mesh changes to the tube, I found this out by hours of trying to figure out why my texture didn’t apply correctly). then, go into edit mode, select all the vertices on one end of the tube, scale them out a bit, then grab and move them so they’re flat with the other vertices. This will give you a disc, with the proper texture applied to it.

Now if you apply a white and black banded ring, you can adjust the alpha so the white bands are the seperate rings.

Hope that helps.

(goneflyin) #10


that is definately the best earth I’ve seen yet. How do you do the clouds? Do you use an alpha map to create them and do you do that on another sphere slightly bigger than the one with the planet map? I’m still having some trouble doing alpha maps. I have some cloud textures that I would like to use but haven’t been able to get it right yet.

Here is a link that shows some pictures of my first blender project. I’ve only been using blender for about 3 or 4 weeks but I’ve been doing 3D modeling for about 3 years.

(acasto) #11

Hey, thanks for the compliments. I don’t quite remember how I did it, but I would be happy to post the .blend as soon as I get a chance. I’ll try and do it tonight if possible. But I do think I remember using a different sphere for each major layer. One trick I did that turned out nice, was I took the image I used for the clouds, and applied it to the ground. Then inversed one of the settings (perhaps emit or ref, you’ll have to look at it). Then shifted it a bit with the x,y thingy, and it made shadows. You can adjust the position and intensity of the shadow easily to match where in the in image the sun is shining from and at what angle and intensity.

I’ll post the link once I get the .blend posted :wink:

(A2597) #12


I have been trying to figure out planet rings for over a year, every time I’d ask people just replied “UVmap”
(Never could figure out UV mapping)

your solution is VERY easy, and yeilds PERFECT results!!! thanks!

now, as for planetary glows, there are three ways to do them:

1: Huge halo at planets core

2: halo texture on extruded circle
(Those were posted above)

or a third, and my personall favorite. :slight_smile:

add a circle will 100 vertexes at the center of the planet, scale it to the EXACT or SLIGHTLY smaller size then the planet.

give it a halo material, adjust halos to a good size, you MAY have to subdevide a few times if you ahve alarge planet. :slight_smile:

now, get your scene setup, and rotate so the circle is facing the camera (Use only top, left, front views) render, now, delete vertexes on dark side of planet, and taper the ones near the light/dark area of the planet.

voila, glow. :slight_smile:

(goneflyin) #13

I wanted to thank everyone for all the good suggestions on how to do an atmospheric glow around my planet. It sure makes the image a lot more realistic.