Celestial bodies is a short-term project which acts to replace an old set of downloadable assets I made in 2015. The collection included accessory files of the planets in the solar system, the Sun and the Earth's Moon. Now that my modelling skills have drastically improved in the last 5 years, I am endeavouring to improve the collection.
A major improvement I am implementing is the poly count of the sphere. The original sphere only had 480 faces, which looked very blocky when the accessory's size was increased drastically. As this asset was most often used at an incredible size which did not feature the whole accessory, the poly count therefore severely affected the quality of the artwork it was included in.
The new sphere is now a model, rather than an accessory. This allows for more scope and quality of shadows than was previously possible. The new sphere is slightly smaller than the original on loading, and now has 2520 faces. The model has increase and decrease size morphs, decreasing to nothing and increasing by 2000%. The model now also casts a ground shadow for stylised pieces, which can be turned off without turning off the general ground shadow. It also has self-shading.
The collection comes with 2 model choices with two different textures. One has the model texture rendered at 2k and one rendered at 8k. This is so that artists with low PC power can still use the models.
The models now have updated toons, which allows for surface darkening morphs and deep shadow morphs. These morphs can also be reversed to show no shading at all.
The new sphere makes full use of 2-SIDE, G-MAP, S-MAP and S-SHADE to increase the realistic shadows of each planet.
Finally, the new assets, where appropriate, will all come with their own normalmap effect for use with raycast. The normalmap effect will help with realism in MMD, as the surface will react to light depending on the simulated height and depth of craters and mountains. The normalmap in the left image is a test to see whether I could create a normalmap, and will not be distributed as the final version. The distributable normalmaps will be created in ShaderMap4.
As these are separate normalmaps, there is an option to use only the flat texture outside of raycast.