How to Design a 3D Ball/Sphere Texture


I was given the task to design a texture for a ball, a spherical object, but I have no idea how to accomplish this with Photoshop or AI.

How do I begin the design process in Photoshop, AI, or 2D Design Software? A 2D circle, a 3D texture map, etc.? This is getting confusing...

For example, I want to make a Pokeball, but the Pokeball button (the black circle) must be at the intersection of the ball's hemispheres (along the "equator").

I'm having a lot of trouble getting the projection of my design just right.

Please give me a suggestion.

5/3/2016 4:47:00 PM

Accepted Answer

You simply can not prepare an exact two dimensional file for a Sphere. This has being the problem for making acurate maps of the earth and visual apealing at the same time.

Here is a recopilation of diferent maps trying "to solve" the problem:

What you can do is a projection.

What type of projection is the issue.

Here is an article of wikipedia:

And here is an essay I made on the most common projections for 3D environments, but can be used for your case:

For simple spheres, like a billiard ball you can use a planar projection or cylindrical one.

For a practical aproach, the design should meet the system used to print the object.

For example it can be printed rolled on a silk screen. Then you need a cylindrical projection.

It can be delimited in the 3D pice itself, so you can construct it in a real 3D model, or it can be printed in an hydrographic system, so it can be a planar projection.

Once defined the type of projection you can prepare a 2D design on Ilustrator.

A texture

Preparing a texture for a full sphere is another thing. A texture needs to be repetitive and in a pattern. To greate a pattern you could base the design on a triangular face and use a "geodesic" aproach. In a 3D model, for example in blender is called an Ico Sphere.

You also can base the pattern in other shapes, like the pentagons and hexagons of the old style soccer ball.

5/2/2016 4:37:00 PM