The surface itself depends on what I wanna make. If I'm just making a random planet, I just generate a random texture playing with noise and colorizer gradients. If it's a major world that I bring up multiple times, I have maps saved that I made in Photoshop.
The clouds are a separate texture. They are nothing more than a cloud map (royalty-free easily found on Google) alpha with bump applied. The atmosphere is made with a special plugin
I used C4D. Open up the material and, in the Color Channel, Use the Colorizer shader with a Noise shader in it. I used Naki noise, but play around to see what you like. In Colorizer, set the colors as so [link]. (You can steal these colors if you want.) Make sure to widen the Material Editor window so you can make finer adjustments in the gradients.
Now go back out to the color channel, and right-click the Colorizer, "Copy Channel". Now go into the Specular Color channel and and right-click "Paste Channel." [link]
Now in that colorizer, change all ocean gradients to white and land to black. This'll make the oceans shiny, but not land. [link] Be careful not to move the border gradients AT ALL. Otherwise, it'll look funny.
On a side note, there's no argument against the above, but according to scientists, before marine life exuded massive mounts of (cumulative over like a billion years) of oxygen (in excess of what would re-bond with surface materials as oxygen likes to do), the oceans were quite green actually... not today's familiar blue.
No, but makes it fragile, and hard to maintain in the long term without replinishing. One could technically give an atmosphere to the moon, but you would have to keep repairing it every hundred years or so... which is not that bad of a deal...
The upper level of livable air pressure at sea level gives an atmosphere a little less massive than Venus, which is fully protected (and then some) from solar radiation despite no strong magnetic field.
No, I mean that it apparently has a breathable atmosphere still, but there are absolutely no plants to replenish it. And those 'oceans' look too small to hold enough bacteria or whatnot that could take plant's place.
No, on the contrary, I assume it is different, because if it was Earth based it would simply not be breathable NOW, forget the whole 'in process' thing, it would be dead already. I am assuming some algae or microbe in the seas generates oxygen, taking the trees job, but even then, I think they are too small of an area to make much difference, even if the seas are filled with the dudes. (Unlikely, since they would need food and a whole food chain)