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I'm making a photo-realistic image/animation of Earth. I'm trying to apply a spherical gradient texture to control the density of the atmosphere volume scatter.

The problem is, my atmosphere is about 1.015 times the size of my Earth (like real life). I cannot expand or zoom in enough into the node editor to precisely control the gradient. I thought I could make the atmosphere 2x as large as Earth, so I could just move the black and white colors of the gradient towards the middle of the slider, thereby having the density fade near the Earth's surface. However, this extra size makes my GPU run out of RAM and crash even in preview mode. This makes rendering unbearably slow with my cpu.

Is there a way of being able to keep my atmosphere size to realistic proportions with my Earth sphere, yet be able to "zoom in" onto my gradient and make precise color placements?

Size of my giant atmosphere compared to the small Earth in the middle, to make color placements in the spherical gradient easier. Gradient

Size of my giant atmosphere compared to the small Earth in the middle, to make color placements in the spherical gradient easier. Actual size proportions that would be ideal. Actual size proportions that would be ideal.

This forum has some screen caps of people controlling density with curves/gradients but I can't seem to replicate their method. Cycles realistic atmosphere (with scattering)

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  • $\begingroup$ What is your atmosphere? Is it a texture on a plane behind the planet? $\endgroup$ – Dimali Aug 25 '17 at 21:43
  • $\begingroup$ It is a sphere object, just like my Earth. If you look at my first screen shot, the small circle at the 3d cursor is Earth sphere. And the larger one is the Atmosphere. $\endgroup$ – CPLTarun Aug 26 '17 at 0:03

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