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Screen Saver (1) Planets
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Creating Planets
Created by: ZuAtHome @2000

The first three (3) Tutorials are able to be used as stand-alone space images. The fourth (4) tutorial creates a .jpg comet image for animation. The series is created so that in the fifth (5) tutorial, using a Screen Saver Program, one is able to use these images to create a Screen Saver for use on their computers.

The first tutorial in a series used to create graphics for a space screen saver:

Two additional enhancements are provided to show other Planet results by using different color schemes and values for textures and shadowing effects. There are an unlimited number of possible images with these techniques. Enjoy :o)

Note: For the Screen Saver Tutorial, save the Stary Background as a separate JPEG file. And, Save the Planet as a GIF file using a transparent background.


OVERVIEW: Creating Planets uses techniques to:

  • Create a Background of a Star Field
  • Create a Circle for the Planet
  • Enhance the Circle with Color and Texture
  • Shadow the Circle for a 3-D Effect
  • Blur it to look like a Planet in Night Sky

Begin with a New Canvas: 300x300 pixels, black background, 16 million colors


Create a 'Starfield Background'

  • Create a Star Field background using NOISE:
      Noise = 10%, Random = Checked
  • To change the density of the Starfield, increase Noise percentage for more and decrease Noise percentage for less stars.

TIP: Adding Brilliance to the Star Field.

  • In the LAYER PALETTE, right click on the layer.
  • Select: New Adjustment Layer || Brightness/Contrast
      Set Brightness = 60
      Set Contrast = 80
  • Click on OK
  • Use LAYERS || MERGE || MERGE ALL to create a single layer.

The stars seemed a bit too colorful to be realistic. To tone them down, use the following steps, OR, skip this step for a more dramatic effect.

  • In the Layer Palette, Highlight LAYER 1
  • Hue = 185, Saturation = 30
  • Click on OK

Create a New Layer for the Planet.

  • Click on the New Layer button.
  • Name it "planet"
  • Click OK.

Create Planet - Step 1 - Use the SELECTION TOOL.


Create a circular selection in the middle of your image. Size may vary, but don't make it too tiny or fill up the entire canvas.

  • Highlight the Planet Layer
      Selection Type = Circle
      Feather = 0
      Antialias = Checked

Create Planet - Step 2 - Setting Color Palette.

Note: In setting the Colors and Textures, use the Color Palette and set the STYLES and TEXTURE palette accordingly. In each Palette box, at the right is a Right Arrow. Click in the Box for the Color Wheel to select colors. Click on the Right Arrow for options in displaying the colors.

In the STYLES palette, click on the Right Arrow. Of the four choices, click on the Icon wanted. From Left to Right, the choices are: Paint Brush (Solid), White to Black Square (Gradient), Nine Dot Square (Pattern), Circle with Slash (Null).

In the TEXTURES palette, click on the Right Arrow. Of the two choices, click on the Icon wanted. From Left to Right, the choices are: Sponge (Texture), Circle with Slash (Null).


    • Foreground Style = SOLID
    • Color = Wedgewood blue (R86, G116, B146)
    • Background Style = SOLID
    • Color = White (R255, G255, B255)
    • Foreground Texture = TEXTURE
    • Selection = TERRAIN
      Click on the Foreground Texture Box for the Texture Selections Window. Scroll to the TERRAIN Texture and highlight. Click on OK.
    • Background Texture = NULL

Create Planet - Step 3 - FLOOD FILL With a Texture.


Use the FLOOD FILL TOOL to create the Planet Effect

  • Settings:
    • Blend Mode = Normal
    • Match Mode = None
    • Tolerance = n/a
    • Opacity = 100
    • Sample Merged = Unchecked
  • Fill Selection with Solid White
    • Put Cursor in middle of Circle Selection
    • Right Click
  • Fill Selection with Blue Texture
    • Put Cursor in middle of Circle Selection
    • Left Click

Create a Shadow Effect on Planet

  • First, Increase the Selection by 2 pixels:
       Value = 2
       Click on OK
  • Next, Set the Shadow using CUTOUT:
         Fill Interior with Color = Unchecked
         Interior Color = n/a
         Shadow Color = Black
         Opacity = 100
         Blur = 25
         Vertical = -15
         Horizontal = 15
         Click OK
TIP: To increase the 3D shadow effect increase the Blur Value.

Final Step: BLUR the Image



Deselect the Selection: (CTRL + D)


For Variation, try different colors, textures and cutout settings. There are unlimited options for creating a 'planet' in the night sky.


Create a "Moon" using these settings:

  • Texture = Sponge
  • Foreground Color = (R170, G146, B124)
  • Background Color = Black (R0, G0, B0)
  • Cutout Vertical & Horizontal = 30
  • All other steps are the same

Create a "Red/Orange Planet" using these settings:

  • Texture = Tree Bark
  • Foreground Color = (R251, G162, B67)
  • Background Color = (R128, G0, B0)
  • Rotate the Selection 90 degrees before applying the Cutout Effect: IMAGE || ROTATE , Direction = Left or Right , Degrees = 90
  • All other steps are the same

Next in the series is to add RINGS to a planet.