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Peltzi's space tutorial for graphic artists

Space... that's some interesting place, but visiting it ain't a cheap thing to do. Now you can do it on your computer, and you can even edit it as you like. Yes, The GIMP makes everything cheaper.

Let's start with a nice bluish background filled with stars.
  1. Create a new image. Pick the size, fill with black.
  2. Add noise.
    Filter -> Noise -> Scatter HSV
    Adjustments as shown. We'll create the stars from this.

  3. Desaturate.
    Layer -> Colours -> Desaturate
  4. Adjust curves. This filters off extra noise..
    Layer -> Colours -> Curves
    Set the curve type to "Freehand", and drag the whole curve to the lower edge of the grid excluding its very right end. Leave it up. This is done by clicking the mouse buttom down in the start of the red arrow in the image, dragging it along the arrow and releasing it in the end of the arrow.
    Move the pointer like this: The curve now looks like this:
    The image looks now like this:

  5. Remove black from this layer.
    Layer -> Transparency -> Color to alpha

  6. Duplicate layer.
  7. Create Alien glow to the lower layer.
    Script-FU -> Alpha to logo-> Alien glow
    You can certainly use your own judgement with the colour. The most pleasant size for the glow you'll find by testing.
  8. Finishing.
    You may find it necessary to adjust the opacity of the upper star layer. You can also delete the lower layer, since you have its duplicate, and the Script-FU altered this layer.
    You can also add various light effects into your space.
    Filters -> Light effects
    Supernova and GFlare suit this case.

As they say, it is no use to reinvent a wheel." That's why I won't write how a planet is made. A gimpressionist named Marvin X has written an outstanding planet tutorial which can be found here.

Hoops of the planet
I saw a tutorial about creating hoops of a planet by Speed. It was written for Photoshop, and it inspired me. I found my own way to create them with The GIMP. Well, that inspired me to write this whole tutorial.

  1. Create a new document. Square-shaped would be good, but not necessary. Fill with black.
  2. Paste (don't anchor) some planet render. Place it in the middle of the document. Make sure that enough space is left around the planet for the hoops.
  3. Create a new layer on the planet. Drag a radial gradient on it from black to white (or vise versa), from the very center of the document to the edge of the document. Try to increase enough offset to make the gradient start from the edge of the planet.

  4. Now we'll adjust curves. First, drag the whole curve down. Then set the curve type to 'Freehand', and make small bars to the curve. Make sure that the beginning and the end of the curve is as down as possible. Keep your eye on the thickness of the hoop, so that it won't go too close to the planet and looks nice.

  5. The hoops look a bit too sharp now. Blur them.
    Filters -> Blur -> Gaussian blur
    Adjust the settings according to the result. I set the size to 10 pixels.

  6. Remove black.
    Layer -> Transparency -> Color to alpha
    If you want to make the hoops lighter, you can duplicate this layer until it looks nice. Then merge the layers.
  7. Rotate the hoops. Nice 3D effect can be acquired by mapping the hoops into a plane.
    Filters -> Map -> Map to object
    Choose 'Plane' as the object, transparent background (important!) and tick 'Show preview wireframe'.
    Then open the Orientation tab. Adjust the two lowest sliders. Position should not be changed. And the highest rotation slider affects the result in no way, practically.

  8. Move the hoops layer on the top of the stack.
  9. Select the planet layer, right-click it and select Alpha to selection. Then select the hoop layer again and exclude the area that you want to be in front of the planet from the selection. I used the elliptical selection to do this.
  10. Right-click on the selected area -> Edit -> Clear
    Now the part of the hoop vanishes, which should be begind the planet.
  11. Colourize the hoops if you want.
    Layer -> Colors -> Colourize
    See what looks good.

Like this:

What do you think? Let me know! (Tutorials are rated as 10 being the best)


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