The beam actually started out when I hit the render button in Bryce on accident, and just decided to let it render to see what it would look like.. and I thought to myself... "Hm... that kinda looks like a tornado..." so I saved it, opened it in Photoshop and made a "Galactic Tornado." I then edited that into five other versions, ending in what you see here. Version 4 looked like this. And after about 10 hours of work on the peice, version 1 I mean, you get the final version
Simple answer for that.. they aren't natural. Honestly though, I think that's about as good my planets are going to be for now. I'm not exactly the most skilled photoshop artist, so they'll improve over time.
**EDIT** And some people were asking if it was done in bryce.. the only thing done in bryce is the green part of the tornado/laser.. whatever you think it is. I'm leaning more towards laser now..