Experimentation with globes in Blender 3D

Hi everyone,

My name is Steven Bernard and I am the Interactive Design Editor at the Financial Times.

I’ve just been experimenting today with the 3D program Blender to create relief maps on a globe. Everything needed to create these maps is freely available for download from NASA.

I used this fabulous tutorial from Andrew Price as a basis to get started


I stopped short at creating night/day, atmosphere and clouds as I wanted these globes to be about the information on the maps.

The borders, coastline, graticules, arrow and country polygons were created in QGIS and then projected onto the globe as additional textures. I created my own FT-styled blue marble satellite image by taking the NASA original and manipulating it in Photoshop until I was happy with the result.

The great thing about this technique is it is very easy to create new projections simply by adjusting the camera position in Blender. Something that isn’t so easy to do in QGIS.

Hope you like them.

If you are interested in QGIS I have created a set of 31 video tutorials on YouTube to help get you into creating maps using this fantastic piece of software.