Sunday, January 18, 2015

Customize a Wrapping Planet Texture - Part 1 - Surface


In this post we'll create a wrapping planet surface texture for a toxic planet using Textures for Planets, a free tool to generate planet textures. In part 2 we add the cloud layer.

Here's a rendering of our goal toxic planet:

Create a Colour Palette

Textures for planets doesn't come with colours for toxic planets so we'll make our own. Using your favourite graphics editor (Gimp, Corel PhotoPaint, PhotoShop, etc.) create a 200 x 200 pixel image. This image will provide a palette for Textures for Planets to colour your world. At the top of the image is the colouring for the highest altitudes, at the bottom of the image is the colouring for the lowest altitudes. To the right is the poles, and the left is the equator.

You can get creative with your colours. In the above I've created toxic seas of yellowed water and green sludge above. I've painted with broad strokes, blurred, then added noise. I used two layers to keep a clean shoreline. Export your image to a PNG file.


Create a Colourizer

To use in Textures for Planets some more information is required. You'll need to create three files:
  • colours.png
  • sample.png
  • colourizer.txt
Please note that the file names are case sensitive so use lower case letters.

For now, use your 200x200 pixel PNG image for both colours.png and samples.png by saving it twice.

The colourizer.txt file tells Textures for Planets some information about your Colourizer. It is a set of properties and looks like this:
author=Textures for Planets
These will be explained later but for now just enter or copy the above verbatim. Zip the three files into a file called "".

Copy the zip file into the "Colourizers" folder of your "Textures for Planets" home folder. The program asks you to select this when you first start it up. On Windows 8 it defaults to something like C:\Users\<your name>\TexturesForPlanets\Colourizers.


Test it Out

Launch Textures for Planets and you should see the Toxic option in the start screen's gallery of worlds.
If you don't see it, double check that you followed all the steps and that the colourizer.txt file is filled in correctly and that the filenames are all lower case.

If you like, you can download the completed zip here.

Select the Toxic option and your preview world will appear:

That's it. You're now free to add tools and other effects and customize the output for your toxic planets. When you're happy click the Run button in the toolbar to generate as many unique textures as you want.

Here are two example outputs:

Add Some Clouds

Continue to part 2 to add a cloud layer.

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