How To Animate A Sphere Morphing To A Plane?

Hi All,

I have a sphere with a texture map. I would like to somehow morph the sphere into a plane. The concept here is a sphere with videos running in all the little faces of the sphere. Then as the sphere moves toward the camera, the sphere flattens out and becomes a plane with the videos still running.

Can Blender do something like this?

Hey Atom,

This might not be precisely what you’re looking for, but in the attached blend I’ve created half a really imprecise sphere from one plane modified with two arrays and two curves… and I’m sure with what I’ve seen of your knowledge you’d be able to animate it flattening :slight_smile: (This could pretty easily be extended to be an entire sphere by using two bezier circles to modify the plane and extending the two arrays.)


facetedSphere.blend (156 KB)


I thought about this and to be honest I couldn;t think of a good way of doing this, though some one must have done it.

The best I could come up with is subdivding a cube putting that cube in a lattice modifier and using the lattice as a shape key, then with the lattice in edit mode using ctrl-shift-s (to sphere) to deform the cube into a sphere.

I have no idea what it would do to a video texture plus I started from a cube not a plane so that makes thing not really what you need. But anyway attached is the Blender 2.49 file. Just pull the shape key slider to see the affect.

Personally I like TheRiddlers idea better but on the off chance you can do something with either method I upload it.

If you come up with a solution it would be awesome to see what it is.


Blender - Cube to Sphere with Lattice Shape Key.blend (329 KB)

What about the Mesh -> Scripts -> Unfold script? It will also auto animate and create an ipo curve.

ALT+A to run the anim:-
unfold.blend (91 KB)

This really bugged me so I tried to improve on the previous version of the morph I posted.

This is still not perfect but this at least morphs from a sphere to a plane.

I still used shape keys a lattice to sphere deformation, I just combined the motion of 2 shape keys to make the result. I had 1 shape key morph from a sphere to a cube and another shape key that morph from a cube to a plane. Since shapekeys can be based off of other shapekeys i can combine those two to get a sort of morphing affect.

Its not perfect (notice the strange bulges in the sphere) but it’s the best I could come up with. Alt-A it to show an animated morph of the Sphere to Plane transform.


Blender - Sphere To Plane with Lattice Shape Key.blend (353 KB)

Actually yes blender can do this, but I would have to make a tutorial.

Basically to do it you have to position the 3d cursor about 3 grid squares (of the backround grid below the center of the plane. Then select all the vertices in vertex select mode. Then on the shapes panel create a shape key. Now leave edit mode, then re enter edit mode create a new shape key. Now (with all the vertex’s selected) Move into the front view press shift w and enter 180 on the numeric keypad. Now switch to side view press shift w again this time enter 360 on the num pad. Now (with all the vertices still selected leave edit mode. Open a window for the action editor and on the fold out menu select the shape key mode. On the view menu select show sliders and you should see the slider. At the first key frame enter
a zero value then (it will be a plane) now move down to the frame where you want it to become a sphere and move the slider all the way to 1.0 and it will become a sphere. I will make a short tutorial, let you know when its done.

Thanks for all the replies.

BlueSpider’s technique is what I was looking for. I am attaching a low-poly version of the solution. My only addition to Blue Spider’s quick tutorial, here would be to do a UV unwrap on the plane before you begin. This way your video texture will be pre-mapped after it hits the sphere shape. Also once you have established the sphere shape remember to drag all the vertices in sphere up 2 units so the pivot point of the sphere will be in the center for easy rotation.


ras_sphere_to_plane.blend (673 KB)

Here is an animation of it. I dupliverted it to the faces of a plane though, I just wanted to see what it would look like.

Explore Alexander Smow

did you use soft-bodys?? with game engine it is very simple to do.

Can you post a game engine solution? I don’t know a lot about the game engine.:eek:

Am I right in the assumption that I can record the game engine output into keyframes, then render using the internal render system?

BlueSpider: Awesome technique and so simple (once you see it). I really need to learn origami so I can figure stuff like that out.

Puts that technique in my list of things to remember.


Here are a couple more BLEND files. These two have a higher mesh density so they can be used for final work. They are already UV mapped. One of the files resolves into a plane in the 4:3 aspect ratio, the other resolves into a plane in the 16:9 aspect ratio. Also another aspect ratio of 32:9 for double wide HD output.


ras_sphere_to_plane_(4;3).blend (823 KB)ras_sphere_to_plane_(16;9).blend (805 KB)ras_sphere_to_plane_(32;9).blend (302 KB)

I posted the Tutorial on how to do this with shapekeys, you will find it here:

[ BlueSpider: Awesome technique and so simple (once you see it). I really need to learn origami so I can figure stuff like that out.

Puts that technique in my list of things to remember.

Thanks! ]

You’re Welcome Terry_Wallwork, glad you found it useful.