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Transparent globe with pattern on its surface

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Hi guys,

I'm fairly new to PDN. I've been using it a couple of months or so, and I've just discovered plugins and all the tutorials and stuff here and realised I can do more than just touching up photos (which was what I mainly used Paint Shop Pro for, which I used until my laptop died on me, then went looking for alternatives when I got my new one, and of course found PDN... :mrgreen: )

Anyways, having made some exploding planets and metalic text, a few nice abstract backgrounds, and a 3D logo, following various tutorials, at the moment I'm working on re-working my forum banner (my current one's very badly pixelated in places and badly anti-aliased, and doesn't look professional at all). As part of the banner, one of the things I'm trying to do is to do a glass sphere, and I've checked out the various glass button/sphere/orb/ball tutorials, and searched the forums here, but can't find anything similar to what I'm trying to achieve exactly. Where I'm coming unstuck is trying to get a design around the outside of the sphere. Unlike the "kiosk orbs" tutorial, I'm not wanting to put something inside the sphere, but on it's surface.

I’ve got two problems at the moment. While I can use Shape3D on my image to create the sphere, which I'm using a light coloured gradient background for, as obviously the glass would be transparent/translucent, I need the design around the surface of the sphere to be visible all the way around (i.e. how I'm imagining it in my head, you'd be able to see the reverse of the design through the sphere on the other side. Getting the design on the front of the sphere with Shape3D isn't a problem, but I can't figure out how I can get it showing through on the other side.

My second problem’s that I originally started off following the glassy marbles tutorial, but unlike in the tutorial I’m using a gradient background rather than ‘clouds’ for the ball because I want it to be more transparent. To get a transparent/translucent effect though I figured I needed to reduce the opacity on the gradient so that when I finally figure out how to get the design on the surface of the ball on the other side, it’ll show through. I’ve currently got 2 layers – the background layer with the gradient, and a second layer with the design I want around the outside of the ball. With the two layers separate though, of course S3D turns the background layer into a nice sphere, but the pattern on the sphere’s just still flat right across the middle. Of course if I merge the two layers, the opacity of the design drops as well, which isn’t what I want – the pattern needs to be solid. The nearest thing I can find to show the kind of effect I’m trying to achieve is this, only the pattern I’m wanting to use is no-where near as complex - I'm wanting to put a design around the circumference of the sphere.

I know I’m missing something here, and I suspect I’m probably missing some vital layers to achieve what I’m trying to achieve, but I can’t figure out what. I'm guessing that I probably need another layer for the design showing through from the back of the sphere, but I'm presuming I need to use something else other than S3D to get the right sort of curve on the back surface. I'm totally stumped on the opacity issue though, and can't work out how to get that to work.

Could anyone give me any pointers please?



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Actually, Shape3D will work just fine. But instead of using the Layer adjustment to dial down the opacity on the bottom layer, use BoltBait's "Transparency" adjustment (available here: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=3285). This way, when you merge the layer down, the opaque layer will not become transparent to match the see-through layer.

Does this help you?


The Doctor: There was a goblin, or a trickster, or a warrior... A nameless, terrible thing, soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies. The most feared being in all the cosmos. And nothing could stop it, or hold it, or reason with it. One day it would just drop out of the sky and tear down your world.
Amy: But how did it end up in there?
The Doctor: You know fairy tales. A good wizard tricked it.
River Song: I hate good wizards in fairy tales; they always turn out to be him.

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Ah, thanks! I'll d/l that - it'll come in useful! :D

I think I've figured out a way to do it though without merging it down (although I'm not sure it's the quickest way). Typical! After playing around all week to see if I could figure this out, I finally get round to posting the problem, then start fiddling again, try something and it works! :roll::lol:

I discovered if I use S3D on just the background gradient layer without merging the pattern layer into it, set on 'Half Sphere Map' that gives me the basic sphere. Then I ran it again, but on the pattern layer, but using 'Plane Map (Scalable)' on that layer. That wraps the pattern around the whole of the sphere, so with some transparency on the gradient layer, the pattern on the 'other side' of the sphere shows through. I've a bit of fine tuning to do to get the size right on the pattern and get the radius adjusted right (as I've altered the depth radius on the pattern, I'm having to fiddle around with the the other 'sphere size' values on the pattern layer), and of course I can rotate the pattern layer independently of the gradient layer as well.

Still a way to go yet, but it looks like it might just work. Fingers crossed!

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Well after much fiddling about, I finally figured out that it was best to use the 'Full Sphere Map' on the surface design layer. A bit of fiddling around with the 'Roll/Rotate' on the 'Rotate/Zoom' on that layer, and I eventually got the angle of the design layer to where I thought it was reasonably realistic. I think it's probably slightly off, and I'll probably have a play about with the .pdn file again at some point and see if I can't get it spot on, but I'm happy with it for now for a first attempt. Thanks for the help, and I'm sure the "transparency" adjustment will come in useful for other stuff. Final resized pic below...


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