Near Star, Far Stars, Planet.

Deep Space.  

A Bryce 3D tutorial:

Begin with a new image.

Put something out there to see, like a sphere. It'll make a nice planet later.

add a sphere

Using the Edit screen, reposition the sphere into the ground plane, so that it is partially obscured.

dark half

Select the ground plane and then delete it.

delete ground plane But, the sphere is still partially obscured!

Using the Display Palette on the Right side, turn on Underground Visibility, so that the wireframe will look correct.

visible underground

Using the Sky&Fog page, set the "Haze" numeric value to ZERO. Note the dramatic difference in the preview.

set haze to zero

Double click sun controlthen, either: double click the "Sun Control"

or: use the pull down menu to "Edit SkyFog"

Edit Sky Fogand then select the "Sun & Moon" tab.

get stars and comets Select the Starfield and Comets.

"Disable Sunlight" and/or "Link Sun to View" according to your own needs (I set them this way so that the sun becomes a real, useable object). Click on the check mark.

Look through the camera

select camera view

Trackball the sun

Using the "Sun Control" as a trackball, move the sun so that the camera is looking (more or less) directly at the sun. With the default (current) camera location, the sun will be very near the horizon.

Select custom sky From the "Sky Options" pull-down menu, select "Custom Sky"

Then, set the colors for the first two parts of the sky color. Set them to identical shades of black ("Solar Halo" and "Sky Color", remember that we turned off "Haze Shift" earlier).

Solar Halo is black "Solar Halo" set to Black

sky color is black "Sky Color" set to black.

To get an exact match, use the eyedropper to directly sample the Solar Halo color.

If you render the picture now, you will have both the sun and the stars in the image at the same time.

Sun and Stars

Of course, this image still has errors in it. For one thing, we can SEE the dark face of the planet. Not likely in the real experience.

Apply a texture to the planet. I used Psychedelic JerryGarcia, as shown in the Materials lab (Don't forget to set the material to "Object Space" like I frequently do).

Planet Texture


max  reflection Set the reflection very high. Objects in space are lit very brightly.

A rendering now clearly shows the features on the dark side of the planet:

Dark side visible

still = Not Very Realistic, because the dark side is still visible. - What to do?

Set shadows to black Set the colors of the shadows to the very same black as the sky colors.

Now, a render of the planet shows the expected arc:

Planetary arc But, what's this surprise? Are stars visible through the planet's body?

Or, are they cities on the planet's surface? I think they're specular highlights, but that's a subject for a different tutorial.

By the way: you may be having problems: such as blurry/fuzzy parts in the image. Like astronomical observatories, these generally come from atmospheric interference. You're luckier than an astronomer.

You can clean it up.

Remove the clouds Eliminate the earthly clouds by setting the cloud frequency and amplitude to "0 500"

similarly, set the fog values to "0 0"

Set cloud height to "0"

Set cloud cover to "0"

But, you say, "Where's the Comets? I wanna see COMETS! We SET the comets, by golly!" And I assure you they are there. But, how to find them?

Edit Current Camera

use the "Control Camera Options" pull-down menu, and select "Edit Current Camera"

Change the Field Of View (FOV) from 60 degrees to 130 degrees.

Field of view to 130

Look what happens to the preview.

Wide Angle preview


Render the whole image at fine resolution.

And there it is, a comet in the lower edge of the picture, in line with the illuminated planet and their star.

Planet with comet

Now some camera changes can be made (alter the angle and field of view, ...) to emphasize the planet.

tutorial finalVoila!

All images and material on this page Copyright 1998, Martin Hongsermeier.
1998 06 11: