When creating alien worlds, I often think what it would be like to stare into space with planets or moons so close that they dominate the sky. Our moon is really quite small, and although beautiful, not quite the site that must exist on numerous alien worlds. It is possible I suppose that Io might have a view of Jupiter similar to the one depicted, but this need not be our Io or Jupiter, but a moon or small planet in some other solar system in the Cosmos. Note the first iteration of this composite above and probably the fifth below.
Creating such scenes is fun because we occasionally visit landscapes here on Earth that lend themselves to such creations. This creation consists of several shots, the beacon hill and much of the foreground a formation west of Page, Arizona, the foreground hill and left mid ground bluff from Arches National Park in the Garden of Eden, and the background a ridge of rock on the drive from Green River to Capitol Reef, and in the second image a mountain range in Nevada.
The gas planet is a morph of a loaf of bread, which I’ll explain in a tutorial on creating planets. In this case it’s an inverse of the spherized image with some added surface details. The small moon is from the same loaf of bread. Add stars and a few night lit clouds, and magically you have an alien world. The beacon adds a sense of man’s presence. Numerous elements in such composites are built totally in Photoshop, such as the beacon. The beacon light is created with the smudge tool, which is a favorite tool of mine for altering images.