Why am I HERE?

I want to ask very much specific question about a problem I faced while making a realistic earth model in Cinema 4D. There are dozens of tutorials available on this topic in youtube and other sites. But all of them neither satisfied me nor solved my problem. I think you guys can help me.

What is the problem?

In the real images of earth taken from the space, the edge of the earth appears to be very much diffused and one cannot find any sharp boundary (may be it depends upon exposure of the camera). See the image below.

enter image description here

Now in all the tutorials (I have seen) they failed to make such a diffused edge having no boundary between earth's land and the atmospheric glow. So ,how their earth looks like, is the following:

enter image description here

Next I tried hard to make the edge diffused but I failed and this is my problem. So, where I have ended is as following:

enter image description here

What do I want?

I want somebody to help me to make the edge diffused as real. Please tell me how to do that?

Note: I have used three materials as texture for earth, cloud and atmosphere on three different sphere of increasing radius. Then "object glow", "glow" and "color correction" is also used. Any other technique will also be appreciated. More, my version of Cinema 4D is R 16 studio.

Caution: I have asked this question before to some other people. They have suggested me to use photo-shop to make the diffusion. But I am creating a 3D model and wish to animate it. Therefore, photoshopping will not help me!

  • 1
    Hello and wellcome to GD.SE. Unfortunately this question has little to do with design. Further the 3d competency on this site is a bit poor so your likelyhood of getting an answer here. Anyway, what you do is you take the facing ratio of the sphere to drive transparency of the edge. I am not terribly familiar with Cinema4d but that term might get you further ( that is how id do it in maya, max and houdini). Anyway the diffuse edge in the picture is atleast 50% caused by camera DOF.
    – joojaa
    May 8, 2015 at 6:07
  • Also about your last comment. Video compositioning is often done on top of animation so yes photoshoping is a alternative. But usually they use apps geared for this. But basically they do just this in real animation studios all the time. No it does not slow you down. Oh and the last comment is missing a "Is low" at the end of second sentence.
    – joojaa
    May 8, 2015 at 6:17
  • @joojaa Hi, okay now I got it... this question has really little to do with design. It would be better for me if you can suggest me any other sites which answer such questions. Actually I am quite new in these things. Actually I am already using transparency of the sphere (may be not in the way you are suggesting, actually I couldn't understand your suggestion) and I am also using DOF. Next I said "will not help me", because I don't have enough technology. I know that those techniques are used in real studios. But if anyone ready to teach me those techniques, I am OK with that. May 8, 2015 at 7:36
  • @joojaa And you deleted Peace from my question, suggesting that you have already plenty of peace in your possession. If you have then distribute peace maan. peace and trust Batman! (don't mind) May 8, 2015 at 7:40
  • 1
    Are you using a sphere outside of your earth sphere, as an atmosphere material? Have you tried adding a glow to the atmosphere sphere's material? That may soften the edge a bit.
    – Manly
    May 8, 2015 at 15:05

4 Answers 4


(Old question but ill still try to help)

I would suggest that you apply the Glow Options in C4Ds Material Option this should give you what you want. If the Glow effect is too minimal increase the "Radius". Should look like this then:

enter image description here


I faced i similar problem with getting the edge diffused edge you are looking for. You have the right idea with building your globe with separate layers, ie the ground, the clouds and an atmosphere layer. What I had to do was render the animation to after effects. When rendering the animation render a separate alpha channel. When you get into after effects create a new comp with the animated frames and use your alpha channel to create a sharp mask around the globe.

Create another comp and import the comp you have just created twice, it is important to include this twice. Use the layer behind and add blur, you will have to tweak this to you needs, but this will give you an animated globe with a diffused edge that you can render out of after effects.


It's really difficult to achieve a realistic planet. The glow of the atmosphere is not the only parameter that makes it possible to obtain a good result. Also, the best way is to export alpha layers to rework the effect of glow and chroma in After Effects (you can also work with sequences in Photoshop). Getting a satisfactory result directly with the rendering is almost impossible. You may lose a lot of time without ever being satisfied. Learn how to create a working process with chromium correction and compositing. What matters is the final image!


While this is not your specified 3D program, from my memory, Blender Guru has a tutorial that gives you a result that is sort of what you wanted, and though you might not be able to follow step by step because it is not your preferred software, the techniques he used should be able to be replicated in C4D.

Edit: I was informed that this was a bit vague, so I'll provide the link to the tutorial that I mentioned. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q8PwcDzb8Y

  • 1
    Hi Samuel, welcome to GDSE and thanks for your answer. Would you be so kind as to edit your answer to make it a bit less vague? While we don't mind answers from memory or recollection, the onus is now on the reader to go out and try to find the tutorial and hope they have the correct one. Thanks! Don't hesitate to keep contributing: leave more answers, add comments, or maybe even ask a question of your own.
    – PieBie
    Jul 16, 2020 at 6:25

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