I have had this problem for years now. I know what I want for my fictional planet or moon, and yet when it comes to creating an image of it, I continue to fail.
How can I break down the task of creating a realistic-looking planet or moon?
Assume I don't have any kind of artistic talent at all, so I need this task to be broken down into steps.
What I'm looking for in an answer:
- Break the task down into steps.
- Provide tips and strategies for executing its design
- Answers should demonstrate some experience designing planets or moon or other environmental or astronomical art
- Please be detailed
The problems I continue to have:
- Sometimes I think it's too colorful, but then I reference real-life moons with even more color, so I know that color is not my problem
- Sometimes I have a pretty good map for my world, but it looks flat because I haven't added surface detail
- I have problems making realistic-looking craters, valleys, mountains, and just topology in general
- I've tried using different filters in Photoshop and GIMP; I've tried using lighting and shadow effects to make realistic-looking gashes or scratches in a moon's surface; I've tried using the blur tool or smudge tool to make a realistic-looking gas giant; I've tried using layers upon layers to make the features look like they have history; etc. Nothing I do seems to get the job done right, though.