Blender 3D Tutorial

Creating a Globe

in Blender 3D

Starting a New Project:

This tutorial introduces UV Mapping, which is a method of using 2D images to represent the surface of a 3D model. It is actually a type of illusion, but it works.  The tutorial assumes that you have already completed a few introductory tutorials in Blender 3D, but you may be able to jump right in.


Open Blender and hit 7 on the number pad to make sure that you are in top view. (1 is Front view, 3 is Right Side view - similar to standard Orthographic Projection in Drafting).

Each new project in Blender starts by default with a 3D cube, but you don't need a cube for this project. You should already be in Object Mode with the cube already selected. Hit the Delete key on the keyboard and select Erase selected object(s).

Hit Spacebar and select ADD --> Mesh --> UVSphere to place a sphere where the cube used to be. You could also go to the Add menu on the top menu bar.

Leave the Segments and Rings at 32 but change the Radius to 2.  This is not that important, but it will work out better for the image we will be using. Hit Number Pad 1 to change to Front View. You should see the Blue and Red axis arrows as in the image on the right.

Splitting the Screen

Blender allows you to split the screen in order to view various views or functions at the same time. To split the screen move the cursor along the top of the screen between the stage and the menu bar.  You will see it change to a double-ended arrow. Right-click and select Split Area.

You can slide the cursor right or left to adjust the width of the split screens. I chose a split about one-third of the way across the screen. We will be changing the Window Type on the left screen.

Click the Window Type button as shown on the left, and choose UV Image Editor from the pop-up menu.

Loading the Image

Select Image --> Open and browse for the image file that you will use to map to the sphere. For this project it will be the World Map image.  You can download it here.

You may have to zoom out on the left screen to see the entire world map. The map I chose happened to be a Mercator Projection, which lends itself to this project. A Mercator Projection is a flat representation of the earth. Naturally, there is distortion at the top and bottom of the map.

On the Viewport Shading button, choose Textured. The sphere will assume a darker color, but that will change soon.

For the next step, you will have to be in Edit mode, with only the sphere selected. The A key toggles "Select All" to"Select nothing", so to make sure you have only the sphere selected hit A key a few times until nothing is selected, then Right-click the sphere to select only the sphere.

With the sphere selected hit the Tab key to switch to Edit mode.


next . . .

T. Carson 2008