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In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a planet in Affinity Photo. This technique uses different blending modes, the spherical filter, and textured images to create realistic-looking planets. You can use this technique to create replicas of planets in our solar system or to create a fantasy planet of your own.
Before you learn how to create a planet, go to the following links to download the images used in this tutorial.
First, go to File > Open and select the solar system picture.
Next, grab the Elliptical Marquee Tool from the Tools Panel. Press and hold CTRL + Shift, then drag the tool outward to form a perfect circle.
Once you’ve made the circle, press CTRL + J to place a copy of the selection onto a new layer. Then, press CTRL + D to deselect.
Now, grab the Eye Dropper Tool from the Swatches Panel. Take the tool and drag it onto the image and select a dark area from the upper right part of the picture. The color should be a bluish shade.
In the Swatches Panel, click the circle by the eye dropper. Make sure the new layer we created is selected. Press the CTRL key and select the thumbnail of the new layer to activate the selection. After that, go to the Edit menu and select Fill with Primary Color. Press CTRL + D to deselect.
With the filled layer selected, press CTRL + J to duplicate the layer in the Layers Panel, label the original layer Blur.
Grab the Move Tool from the Tools Panel. Select the Blur layer. Press CTRL + Shift. Then, resize the circle to make it slightly bigger than the duplicated circle.
After that, double click on the fill color in the Swatches Panel to bring up the Color Chooser. Go to Lightness. Next, take the slider and slide it to the right to use a lighter shade of the blue color. The exact hex code I used is #479Ad4.
Now, press CTRL and click the thumbnail of the Blur layer to activate the selection. Then, go to the Edit menu and click Fill with Primary Color. Press CTRL + D to deselect.
With the Blur layer selected, go to the Filters menu. Select Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the Radius to 50 px. Lower the Opacity of the layer to about 75 %.
Next, select the duplicated layer. Click the fx layers effect icon in the Layers Panel. Go to Outer Glow and check the box. Set the Opacity to 32 % and the Radius to 31 px. By default, the Blend Mode should be set to Screen, and the Intensity should be 50 %.
Now, you’ll see how to create a planet by adding texture to it for a more realistic look.
Go to File > Open and select the concrete texture image. Copy the texture and paste it onto the planet document.
After that, go to the Transform Panel and turn on the Lock Aspect Ratio. Then, resize the textured image so that it’s slightly bigger than the planet.
Make sure the textured layer is still selected. Next, press CTRL and click the thumbnail of the circle layer with the layer effect to activate the selection. Then, press CTRL + J. In the Layers Panel, turn the original texture layer off. Label the new layer Texture 1. Press CTRL + D to deselect. Also set the Blend Mode of the Texture 1 layer to Soft Light.
Now, select the Texture 1 layer. Go to the Filters menu. Then, go to Distort > Spherical. Set the Intensity to 100 % and Radius to 415 px.
Go to File > Open and select the image of the body of water. Copy the picture and paste it onto the planet document. Resize the image so that it’s slightly bigger than the planet.
With the new textured image selected, press CTRL and click the thumbnail of the dark bluish circle layer to activate the selection. Then, press CTRL + J to place a copy of the selection onto a new layer. Press CTRL + D to deselect and turn the original textured image off in the Layers Panel. Label the new layer Texture 2.
With the Texture 2 layer selected, go to the Filters menu. Select Distort > Spherical. Set the Intensity to 100 % and the Radius to 429 px.
Grab the Flood Fill Tool from the Tools Panel. Make sure the Texture 2 layer is selected. In the Context Toolbar, set the Mode to Add. Select the gray lined areas on the image.
After you’ve selected the gray areas. Press CTRL + C to copy the selection. Then, press CTRL + V to paste the selection onto a new layer. Press CTRL + D to deselect. In the Layers Panel, label this layer Gray Area. Turn this layer off for now.
In the Layers Panel, select the Texture 2 layer. Set the Blend Mode of this layer to Overlay.
Click the Add Pixel Layer in the Layers Panel to add a new layer.
Now, grab the Paint Brush Tool from the Tools Panel. Go to the Brushes Panel and click on the Basic brushes. Select the 64 px Round Light Brush. In the Context Toolbar, set the Opacity to 30 %, Flow to 75 %, and the Hardness to 25 %.
In the Swatches Panel, grab the Eye Dropper Tool and select a dark blue shade from the space image. Then, click the circle beside the eye dropper icon to set the fill color to that color.
Make sure the new pixel layer is selected. Then, take the Paint Brush Tool and paint on the right side of the planet to darken his side. Go over the left side lightly with the brush once. Label this layer Shadows.
Now, click the Add Pixel Layer again to add another pixel layer. Label this layer Highlights.
Grab the Paintbrush Tool. In the Swatches Panel, set the fill color to white. In the Context Toolbar, set the Opacity to 30 %, Flow to 25 %, and Hardness to 0 %. Set the Blend Mode of this Layer to Overlay. Take the brush and paint over the left side to add light to it.
Next, turn the Gray Area layer back on. Set the Blend Mode of this layer to Color Dodge. Lower the Opacity of the layer to about 80 %.
In the Layers Panel, select all the planet elements. Press CTRL + G to group the elements together. Label the group Planet.
Congratulations, this tutorial is complete! This is how to create a planet in Affinity Photo. For more Affinity Photo tutorials, check out this article on how to turn yourself to stone.