|The nicest thing about creating your own planets from
scratch is the fact that you can choose the colors and textures you think
your planet should have. The hardest part is getting those colors and
textures to work in a realistic way. To create this image, I started with
the cover of the September, 1997 issue of Sky and Telescope, which
has an image of Mars taken from the Hubble Space Telescope in the upper
right corner. Using that image as a guide for the colors, I created a
sphere in Bryce 3D and gave it a standard materials setting that would
produce polar ice caps. I then went into the Deep Texture Editor, where
all the real power of Bryce is found and after about 2 hours of experimenting
I was able to come up with a combination of color maps, alpha channels
and bump maps which created the planet you see above.
A second sphere was then created and sized just slightly larger than the first. This sphere was used to create the atmosphere and the very thin, icy blue clouds hovering just above the surface of the planet.
At this point, I debated adding a starfield background, but decided instead to render the image and bring it into Photoshop. There I used the Lens Flair filter to mimic the effect the sun would have if this image were taken photographically. With the sun in the image like this, no stars would be visible.
Some people might argue that this image is more an illustration that a photoillustration since no true photographic elements were used in its creation, but I'm not going to argue this with myself on my own web page. By the way, the hi-resolution render for this image took 42 hours to complete. I really, really need a newer computer.