Digital Art with GIMP – Creating Planet Rings

Gimp – Gnu Image Manipulation Program, an open source program that like Photoshop is able to do amazing things with graphics and photo’s. Unlike Photoshop it costs nothing and it’s feature set is still comparable. This is a series of posts I’ve created on how Gimp can be used to help create worlds and give life to your imagination.


Giving a Planet Rings

Having some great looking ring on a planet can really bring it to life, thanks to useful online folk willing to share I worked out how this was done and now I’m passing it on.

For this I created I nice blue gas planet and wanted to give it some rings. To see how to create a planet in Gimp see this post: Creating Planets in Gimp




For now keep your planet to one side, and start a new design double the size of your planet. Add some solid noise by going to Filter >>  Render >> Clouds >> Solid Noise.

I used these settings:



Then to to Filter >> Render >> Clouds >> Difference Clouds. The settings should be the same as above.


Reperat this a few times until what you’ve got looks something like this:


Now we distort things in a circular way, Filter >> Distort >> Polar Coordinates and then click OK.



Now we need to blur it up, Filters >. Blur >> Motion Blur


I used these settings for a first pass then used lower settings of about 120 or 50 for the second and third passes. Now it looks like this, use the ellipse tool and draw a circle in the middle, making the rings as large or thin as needed. Use the ellipse tool settings on the left hand side to get it central and then hit delete to make a hole in the rings.


At this point I saved my rings and also exported them into a .png file

I then add this .png to a layer above the planet using File >> Add as Layer does this nicely.

Go to Tools >. Transform and use the perspective and rotate tools to put the rings where you would like them.


There other ways to do this, but to erase the bit of the rings you want to go use the eraser tool on the rings layer.

To add colour add a new layer over the rings, use a gradient or colour in the layer, set the layer mode to overlay, play about with the transparency of the overlay and the rings to make a really authentic rings effect that’s translucent.


Finally for extra special effect add a ring shadow, in a new layer over the rings, add a circle and fill it in black  and use the gaussian blur Filters >. Blur >> Gaussian Blur to make it the kind of shadow you’re after


Once you’ve done this ave it and export the planet as a .png, add it into a new design over a starfield (see link to post at the top for how to make this) and maybe give it a moon like I did…


I’ll show you how to add the sun another time, it’s not hard, but there you go! Rings on a planet!

I hope this has given you a little more insight into how Gimp works, each set of features can be used to draw other object , not just what I’ve done here. If there are any suggestions let me know – I’m always learning too and I’m keen to try out new stuff!


Planet Simon



Also find Planet Simon on Twitter

Come and visit find me on my Planet Simon Facebook Page

Find some of my pictures on Instagram

Also look me up on: Pinterest      Mix    Wattpad


15 thoughts on “Digital Art with GIMP – Creating Planet Rings

  1. This is so interesting Simon. I am currently doing a degree in Digital Arts and it’s things like these which interest me. I really should try it out and I will be telling my lecturer and other students about it. Thanks for this post and the tutorial

    Liked by 1 person

It's great to hear from bloggies - feel free to leave a comment :-)

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.