Creating On A Limited Budget Part 3 of 5

Welcome back to “Creating On A Limited Budget”; a guide to using low-cost and free software that can help you to create professional quality art without breaking the bank.

In this 3rd installment of the series, I’ll demonstrate how I use Bryce, Lunar Cell, Glitterato, Universe Image Creator Plug-in and Corel PhotoPaint in my creative process.


Recently I posted a short fiction piece titled MEMORY OF EARTH and I thought it would be interesting to share its development with you. Click on the thumbnails for a larger image of each step.

First I rendered a rocky landscape with an astronaut standing on a ridge in Bryce (figure 1). I made a render of the scene with a black background.  I also made a mask render for layering the scene in PhotoPaint.

Memory Of Earth-Bryce terrain render

Figure 1: Memory Of Earth
Bryce Render

Next I imported the scene to Corel PhotoPaint and added a layer titled “Nebula”.  Using the Glitterato plug-in I created a neutral color layer of interstellar gas and setting the layer to “screen” applied the effect (figure 2). You’ll notice that the nebula layer appears on top of the terrain layer but we’ll fix that later in the process.

Memory of Earth 02_base_nebula

Figure 2: Memory Of Earth
Nebula Layer Applied

Creating three new layers (all set to screen) I use Universe Image Creator  to render some textured stars (figure 3), a star cluster (figure 4) and a star field (figure 5) to complete the space elements.

Memory Of Earth_textured stars

Figure 3: Memory Of Earth
Textured stars added.

Memory of Earth 04_star cluster

Figure 4: Memory Of Earth
Star Cluster

Memory of Earth 05_starfield

Figure 5: Memory Of Earth
Star Field

Now, I use the mask image from my original Bryce render to overlay the effects added with Glitterato and Universe Image Creator. (figure 6)

Figure 6: Memory Of Earth Overlay Layer

Figure 6: Memory Of Earth
Overlay Layer

To complete the image, I use Lunar Cell to render an Earth-like planet to place in the sky above the terrain (figure 7). This part is tricky because the planet’s dark side must match the lighting effects set up in the original Bryce render. The planet is rendered on a new layer using Lunar Cell’s composite setting which creates a solid masked object with no background.

Memory of Earth 07_planet

Figure 7: Memory Of Earth
Planet Layer

In the final step, the text is added on a separate layer within PhotoPaint and the project is complete. (figure 8)

Memory of Earth 08_text

Figure 8: Memory Of Earth
Text Added


One of my favorite space art images is Red Sunrise.  This was a milestone for me in that it featured a sun object, created within Bryce using advanced texturing and a radial light at its core allowing the object to light a scene without using Bryce’s internal sun feature. The only light source in this scene is the red sun object rising above the horizon.

For those of you that use Bryce this sun object is available for free download at my ShareCG model gallery.

I began Red Sunrise as a Bryce render.  As with Memory Of Earth, I rendered a mask image as well for editing in PhotoPaint. (Figure 1)

Red Sunrise 01_base

Figure 1: Res Sunrise
Bryce Render

Using Universe Image Creator Plug-in I created a layer of textured stars (set to screen mode). (Figure 2)

Red Sunrise 02_textured stars

Figure 2: Red Sunrise
Textured Stars

I created a second layer and inserted my mask render of the original Bryce image. (figure 3)

Red Sunrise 03_overlay

Figure 3: Red Sunrise

Addition of my signature as a text layer and the image is complete. (figure 4)

Red Sunrise 04_final

Figure 4: Red Sunrise
Finished Image

In the 4th installment of this series I’ll highlight some images created using Corel PhotoPaint and a combination of the Universe Image Creator, Lunar Cell, Glitterato and Solar Cell plug-ins.

As always, your comments and critiques are encouraged.



3 thoughts on “Creating On A Limited Budget Part 3 of 5

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s