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How do I map Illustrator artwork on a sphere?


Question

I am looking for help with creating spherical map similar to provided in picture: the 6 parts spherical map image setup (bent):

unwrapped balloon texture

I want to put together a promotional balloon vinyl,and I want to print on advertising material and thus put together a balloon, when put together to be whole advertisement.

My problem is, write logo like this in the figure that, when cut dlove and merge into the sphere of painting merge and be whole

2014/04/07
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4/7/2014 9:43:00 PM

I was hoping someone with experience of this sort of vinyl print design would answer but since they haven't yet, here's what I'd try if it was me dropped in at the deep end on this project:

enter image description here

I haven't tried actually making the sphere but it looks like all the joins and curves would be in the right places to straighten and match when the template is printed and folded (horizontal centres pulled up and down, tops and bottoms pulled "out", etc). Test it!

But don't use the grey shapes from my image, I just drew them by hand, they're not a real sphere template.


If this works, that has fun implications: all sorts of complicated projections could be simulated on Illustrator using envelope distort and a traced template. I might try making Waterman Butterfly versions of things (cf xkcd)...


If that didn't work I'd try this approach:

  1. Take an existing sphere vinyl template like the one you've shown previously
  2. Trace the outline, print it out, cut it out
  3. Fold it up into a blank paper sphere
  4. Draw horizontal and vertical grid lines around the sphere, half way, quarters, eighths, etc
  5. Unfold the sphere flat
  6. Scan the flat sphere with grid lines, put this scan as a locked layer in Illustrator to use as a guide. I might draw over them in illustrator on this layer to neaten it up
  7. Use things like the Illustrator envelope/mesh distort tools to make the design follow the scanned grid lines
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4/7/2014 4:15:00 PM