The terrain and surface details of this little planetoid was generated with nothing but dynamic noise textures in Blender.
While noise maps has long been used for generating landscapes, it is often difficult to make it look believable. Working with something of only one shade of color – grey – definitely helps, and sells that “photo taken from an orbital probe” look.
Still, it was a challenge. Managing to get both mountains, valleys, plateaus and craters took a while. It took even longer to make sure they didn’t overlap in unrealistic ways.
In the end, I am very happy with the result. Not a single manual edit on the original sphere or the texture, everything is completely controlled by parameters.
And the biggest compliment I’ve gotten? A friend saw it on my TV and genuinely thought it was a photograph from a space probe 🛰️
You can see a full resolution 2560×1440 version here.
Here’s a close look in video format, where you can more easily make out the different types of noise maps used.