How to Make a Realistic Asteroid

Discover how to create a realistic asteroid animation using displacements!

Length:
24 minutes
Software:
Blender 2.56
Difficulty:
Intermediate
Rate:
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 4.8/5 (82 votes cast)

In this tutorial you will discover:

  • How to effectively use the displacement modifier
  • Why particle systems are your friend
  • How to spice up a boring scene with the compositor

If you’ve ever wanted to create a space scene but didn’t want to have to go through the drama’s of sculpting and UV unwrapping then this tutorial (might) be for you!

I recently discovered a super easy method to create realistic rock formations using only the displacement modifier.

Watch the tutorial to see how it’s done!

The Final Result

Download the rock texture used in this tutorial.

At a Glance

Screenshots from the video:

Further Inspiration

Not sure where to go with this tutorial? Check out the links below for some more interesting uses of asteroids:

What did you learn from this tutorial? What would you like to see more of? Leave your feedback in the comments below!

Download finished .blend

Russian Flag IconRead the Russian Translation

How to Make a Realistic Asteroid, 4.8 out of 5 based on 82 ratings

About Andrew Price

User of Blender for 9+ years. I've written tutorials for 3d World Magazine and spoken at three Blender conferences. My goal is to help artists get employed in the industry by making training accessible and easy to understand. I'm an Aussie and I live in South Korea ;)
  • Shawn Khokher

    Thank you so much Andrew. This is my faux trailer made using this. All music was made with apple loops in Garageband.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFXC_mzcB-I

  • j-labs game studios

    Hi andrew, You are just awesome in belnder! I bow down! :)

  • Pingback: Asteoridy | Arvamer

  • kaoko

    can you do a tutorial to explain how explosed this meteorite ?

  • kaoko

    hello very one thanks for your tuto really good. i have a problem when i render animation or render image . my node effect not appear on my render ?? why ?? i have selected box post processing – composing in render menu . but i don’t see my effect in my render thanks for your help

  • Eric Saari

    Thanks Andrew. I decided to try a little experiment and added a sun in the background. Finished result is at
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/esaari1/11155004846/

  • Warren D. M. Reed

    thanks Andrew! now, with 3d printing, I can have my own asteroid destroy the earth. Beware! (haven’t figured out yet how to launch it. giant slingshot maybe)

  • Bram

    Thanks for the tutorial Andrew! It was very helpful.
    Last summer, I’ve created a little game for Android and I used your tutorial to create the astroids.

    http://ictbram.com/starfighter/

  • Jiří Juřica

    This is my short animation. After long time it´s first what I have made in Blender. :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7e3vfKEx5bs

    • Warren D. M. Reed

      NICE and like the space music.

  • Alexander

    Thanks for the tutorial! Lots of fun!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPtDKVjBu4Y

  • Klivion

    Should I start over?

  • Klivion

    Mine is detailed when not rendered but when I render it it looks like this. I was wondering where I went wrong and if you could help me with it.

    • Jiří Juřica

      It will be probably for wrong mapping… In texture settings set Mapping/Projection Cube as in tutorial. :)

  • JohnBubriski

    Awesome! Thanks Andrew! I’m making a space shooter game and this will be perfect.

  • SteelArrow21

    Followed the tutorial and it turned out great (In my eyes). Keep up the amazing work!

  • aoxsic

    I made a dramatic movie:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/cf8hqb9q95f66g3/asteroid.mp4

    I messed up the rotation of the asteroid, but don’t feel like fixing it. I also got bored rendering so the whole thing stops half way through. But whatever. Nice tutorial!

  • Adrian-Valentin Darklore
  • Tom

    Here is the one I made. I really liked the tutorial by the way!!

  • http://www.orgullotico.com orgulloTico

    He forgot to explain how to save it as a video… Does any one knows?

  • Chris Welsh

    I DL’d this last week and have used its settings in three different renders & files already. It was so simple and made it easy to get the effect I was looking for. Thanks!

  • Chris Nelthorpe

    Thank you very much for the tutorial, Andrew! Very helpful and informative. Here’s my animation: http://vimeo.com/66913472

  • Eoin

    when i render i get a white outline around my asteroid and my smaller meteors. why is this happening and ho can i fix it? im using 2.66.

  • Avi

    Firstly, the tutorial was great, as yours always are, and I thank you for that. Im still a bit new to blender, so don’t be surprised if this is really simple to fix, but, after I created the Asteroid and set up all the nodes and everything, I saved the file and quit so I could go work on something else, and when I reopened it to create the final render, whenever I rendered it, the asteroid turned out completely black, I couldn’t figure out how to fix it, but I’m hoping I get some kind of help here, Thanks.

  • christian finne

    another great tut…Im still a newb in blender, so this might seem as a dumb question – but how do you get the Main asteroid to rotate? Ive seem to get everything else right watching the vid, but like I said – Im still a complete newb…

  • Riccardo

    Hi, nice tut, I just do not understand the “nodes” part and I tried an re-tried to follow you… ..deleting all my nodes, “Render Layers” one included.
    Now..when I click on “Render Image” an error message appears on top “No render output node in scene” and I am not able to renderize the scene anymore. How can I restore anything so that Blender works properly?

    Thanks!

  • Nicolas

    It’s a great tutoral, My asteroid : http://img594.imageshack.us/img594/1518/finib.png

  • john

    I wrote a comment in the earth tutorial but i might write in here as well. First of all, thanks for the tutorials, they were really helpfull. To my question: I also made a earth by following the “earth tutorial”. Now I’m trying to figure out how to combine the scene
    with the earth and the one with the asteroid. These scenes got different
    render layers, how can i combine these scenes (and the render layers)
    into one scene? I want to make a animation with the asteroid passing by
    the earth. I’m still a newbie =) Thanks in advance

    • vahnvallain

      use after effcts

  • Yusuf Zaheed

    Great tutorial. Impressive and certainly amazing job. You have concluded an easy way
    to make an asteroid. Here are a few tips.
    A.Asteroid roughness tips
    There are three ways to control the roughness of the asteroid because some asteroids
    in space are much smoother than others. Smooth asteroids can take less time to
    render than rough ones but choose the roughness you enjoy. Don’t overdo smoothing
    though, the asteroid must have some roughness AND MUCH MORE IMPORTANT an
    irregular shape.
    1. Cloud size of the displacements texture (very effective control method)
    Larger cloud size means a smoother asteroid. So if you increase the size you get a
    smoother asteroid; if you reduce it you get a rougher asteroid. Note: Don’t input a too
    low or high value as it will result in an asteroid that doesn’t look good. Experiment!
    2. Subdivision surface.
    Some people think that the subsurf modifier is used to smooth the asteroid. Actually it
    adds detail to the asteroid since the displacement modifier follows. To make an
    asteroid the amount of subdivisions should be at least 3 and at most 8. Reducing the
    value can make your asteroid smoother provided it doesn’t go any less than 3.
    Effect of subsurf modifier on the asteroid with the displacement settings given by
    Andrew.
    0 to 2: Poor quality ‘asteroid.’ Not suitable for the main asteroid nor the particles.
    3 to 4: Smooth, low-poly asteroid. Ideal for particle systems.
    5 to 6: More detailed asteroid. Suitable for the main asteroid though 7 to 8 is better.
    7 to 8 : High quality rough, detailed asteroid. Good for the main asteroid.
    9 : Very detailed, high-poly asteroid. May be too much.
    10+: Over detailed asteroid. Can set up killer render times!
    This can be misleading becuase if you have a subdivision level of 8 in total you can still
    have a high quality, SMOOTH asteroid if you tweak the cloud size. (See above).
    3. Level of displacements.
    Lower displacement values can give a smoother asteroid but if it is too low the cube
    won’t look like an asteroid. Instead, tweak with the cloud size.
    B. Bump mapping.
    V.IMPORTANT.
    Smooth asteroids have less bump map than rough asteroids. Change that Geometry
    amount according to your asteroid. The value used for Andrew’s rough main asteroid
    soesn’t look that good on a smooth one. Changing bump mapping of the concerned
    textures can produce optimal results.
    So
    Smooth particle asteroid system.
    Subsurf 3, Smooth so Bump mapping should be moved towards 0 for subtle bump
    mapping.
    Thanks to Andrew for his great tutorial. I hope you all find this information helpful. Good luck

  • Bradley
  • Akihisa

    WHere did you get the sound please?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001508260548 Chris Jay

    How do I change the pattern of the cloud texture to get a slightly different look, like something equivalent to the “seed” in other 3D programs…

    • LswaN

      In the textures panel, on the section with the settings for “clouds,” there is a dropdown which lets you select other pattern generating styles. This will give a different look due to the different style, though I’m not sure if that’s what you’re looking for.

      • LswaN

        “not sure if that’s *exactly* what you’re looking for.” Is what I meant.

  • Fergus

    when I add the particle system, my computer freezes dead and I can’t use blender anymore. how is this so high GB?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dwight-Huth/100001254682032 Dwight Huth

    Awesome tutorial. I was messing around with it some more and found that you can use sculp to create a more dynamic looking asteroid. I just haven’t figured out how to add the impact craters using the sculp tool. The only problem is that when I try to render the scene with all of the tiny particles I get a (not responding) message every few seconds while the scene is trying to render.

  • RichardUK

    I think you have to import the scenes, in folders. The import area does allow importing of other blender files, but it looks like in pieces.

  • JOSE

    hey i love the work you do.. i was looking into making a short project film i just completed the earth on your tutorial and its freaking nice, but i would like to learn how to combine the asteroid and earth if you have 2 diff compositions? how can i add the asteroid to the earth project? can u help me? also if you do have a tut can u send me a link to where it may be thanks..