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Rendering planets (from space only)

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Assuming I've created a tool to quickly generate planet textures for me (using libnoise's complex planet example), what is the most efficient way to render said planet from space? I will never need to get very low in to the orbit, so I think Sean O'neil's algorithms for rendering zoomable planets is a bit heavy weight for what I need. I've heard people say you should use cubes to render the planet, but I can't really wrap my mind around the theory. I will eventually add effects like atmospheric scattering, but I just want to get a nice looking, circular planet rendered first.

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Texture map it in a modelling application of your choice, then load it. If you change the texture but keep the tex-coords, the new texture will nicely replace the old one. Extra effects can be done by the renderer, or in the modelling application.

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Quote:
Original post by speciesUnknown
Texture map it in a modelling application of your choice, then load it. If you change the texture but keep the tex-coords, the new texture will nicely replace the old one. Extra effects can be done by the renderer, or in the modelling application.


Thanks :) The answer ended up being far easier then I expected: Generate a sphere, texture it. No modeling program really required (though I am sure one could be used to give the planets a more artistic touch). I have no idea why I was adverse to simply using a sphere at first, maybe I was worried about it needing a lot of vertexes to look smooth, but in any case, it works well.

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