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.

  • I think it depends completely how the ball is being printed or modelled etc.
    – Cai
    May 2, 2016 at 15:44
  • This is a very difficult thing to for us to tell you how to calculate, due to the distortion caused by the sphere and the numerous different ways that the ball could be manufactured. I used to work for a bowling ball company and we made custom designs for balls. With our production process, I was restricted to a small "sweet spot" for all critical design elements and text. Something like you're describing, with our process, just wasn't possible. Don't ask us how to do this, talk with your manufacturer.
    – Manly
    May 2, 2016 at 15:45
  • This question is not offtopic. This is not about implementation, it is about methodology.
    – Rafael
    May 3, 2016 at 17:20

1 Answer 1


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: http://www.otake.com.mx/Apuntes/Imagen/EnviromentMaps/Maps.html

What you can do is a projection.

What type of projection is the issue.

Here is an article of wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Map_projection

And here is an essay I made on the most common projections for 3D environments, but can be used for your case: http://www.otake.com.mx/Apuntes/Imagen/EnviromentMaps/

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.

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