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hoevelkamp's avatar

3ds Max Planet Tutorial

Hi @ all!

No new art from me. Just a Tutorial. :)

Planet Creation in 3ds Max. You should know the basics in 3ds Max, because I'm not explaining every little step in it. But I think that most people will get it right. ;)

Created as a gift for a friend, but what the heck! I'm sharing it with everyone.

If requested, I might even be tempted to throw in the "3ds Max Planet Rings" and the "3ds Max Gas Giant" Tutorials as well. (not created yet, but why not?)

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.


P.S. Download for full view.

The 3ds Max Planet Creation Tutorial Series:

1. Planet Creation -> you're looking at it
2. Planet Rings -> [link]
3. Gas Giants -> [link]
4. Planet Map Creation -> [link]
5. The extra Mile -> [link]
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© 2009 - 2021 hoevelkamp
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cdmonte's avatar
Thank you very much for yours tutorials!!!
Awesome tutorial! What kind of app or program do we use to make planets?
digital-fluids's avatar
Thanks for the tutorial :)
Metalhawk1993's avatar
Greetings, I'm just wondering if you know how to unwraping a planet in 3ds max, Its been driving me nuts for 4 years, I've tried mapping my planet materials to my planet but the materials never seem to render out right, do you have any suggestions
hoevelkamp's avatar
Can you sent me an example please. It's really hard to tell from the given information only.
Metalhawk1993's avatar
well, say I placed a material of some made up planet I created with continents,seas, that sort of thing on, say a sphere for example, it looks sorta god from the equator, but when i look at my planet fro say the poles, all the continents look sorta pulled into the vertice, like being sucked into a vacuum
hoevelkamp's avatar
Yeah that's a common problem with mapping a planet. The poles look like a tied sack. You can avoid that by making sure you have uniform colors at the top and bottom of your map. For example white poles or simply empty ocean. If you have landmasses at the poles you have to squish them in the right way. If you read here: [link] , you might get an idea about what I'm talking. I don't bother with that. I just cheat my way around it by choosing my viewing angle so that the poles don't become a problem or if I can't avoid the poles I make them white or water filled. With gas giants there is no problem, the map fits. There might be a technique to unwrap a planet perfectly in 3ds max, but that is not known to me. I'll try to figure it out in the next few days and let you know. Just got curious myself and hate unsolved problems like this. :)
Metalhawk1993's avatar
there is one way to unwarp a planet, but I've never tryied it's the link to the tutorial if it might help.

Planet Creation, go here ->
darth-biomech's avatar
sorry to jam in, but I think I have an solution. Max can support multiple mapping channels. So, you got your planet. By default sphere has it's unwrapping in 1 channel. now add UVW Map modifier ontop, set it to planar and set map channel to 2. Orient UVW map so it would aligned perpendicular with poles. Well, that's basically it. Next you just use mix-map in your material where you merge two textures by mask. Texture for 1 mapping channel is your default map, for 2nd channel is mixmap with texture of poles. This second mixmap mixes your north pole and south pole images, again by mask that tells which hemisphere is which. you can even generate mask for them right in max itself, if continent and icecaps shapes allows it.
Metalhawk1993's avatar
thnx for the info man
DmitryEp18's avatar
Hi, please tell how you make clouds on your planets? And what renderer you use, default skyline or Vray?
hoevelkamp's avatar
Sorry for the late reply. I work with one very famous cloudmap that is available on the net. Just google search for cloudmap, you'll find it. 8k resolution. What the hell, did it for you here's the link: [link] I work with that map quite a lot and many others do too. Just make it your own, cloning, erasing and so on. I'm using Vray as renderer these days. Final Render is also a very good renderer.
DmitryEp18's avatar
Thanks for help very much)
bloknayrb's avatar
That was me figuring it out :P
bloknayrb's avatar
How did you apply the spectral map to the base texture of the planet? I'm a serious n00b at 3DS Max :P

I spent two hours yesterday until I finally figured out how to apply a material to an object in my scene. Argh. This had better be worth it, because the Photoshop version of the same planet looks damn good.
hoevelkamp's avatar
Hey Bryan,

by spectral map you are talking about the specular map I guess?
hoevelkamp's avatar
Sorry for the late reply, I'm just not that often on DA than I used to be. You can always mail me if you think I can help. :nod: address is on my frontpage.
bloknayrb's avatar
I can't find it. Just like I couldn't find anything in Max.
hoevelkamp's avatar
Sorry man, you're right its gone. I guess till the redesign of DA. Damn. I'll note it to you.
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