Moon modeling help please

Hi There

I hope im posting this in the right place :wink:

Im a blender newbie, and was wondering if someone could help. Im trying to model a moon quite similar to the pic, but i dont have enough technique to pull it off. I’ve been trying using a sphere, with a subdivision surface and then extruding the faces, which produces a similar effect, but the Moon Crators become very symetrical, and not random as per the reference.

I’ve also tried a boolean, using a smaller sphere with “difference”, but im not winning.

I’ve realised that there are many different ways to do the same thing in Blender, can someone please advise me on the best way to go about this?

Thanks in advance,


Thanks Kaluura, appreciate it. I’ll look for some tutorials, and take it from there. thanks again

another good way to unwrap a sphere is to make a seam along the middle and use the standard unwrap option.
( edit ) a long time back there was a plugin called blender world forge that could make a planetoid with craters, but it was for a much older version and required a full installation of whatever python version blender was using at the time. btw, I think this could be accomplished quite easily using the sculpt brush on a cube with a multires modifier. those exact type of craters might be a little harder, but for regular craters you just make a bump, then make a cavity at it’s center. add for bump, subtract for cavity.
here’s one i made rather quickly using sculpt and multires, using only the draw tool and the pinch tool.

To have the last word, :wink: I tried to make a cartoon moon with the Displace modifier. It’s even much easier than what I thought. To create the bump map, you need a simple brush made of a black disc surrounded by a fuzzy white circle. You spray your brush at various sizes from one side to the other on a medium grey background, not too close from the top and bottom which are too distorted when projected on a sphere. A bit of blur to smooth the slopes of the craters. Done!

ok what is the trick here ?

how did you do this perfect circle ?
is it in paint soft ?
is it saved as a PNG with alpha or just a JPG pic ?


The craters are (almost) perfect circles because of the way I unwrapped the sphere: Sphere Projection without the poles. It makes a nice UV map which looks like a grid. Then I used a 2x1 rectangular map (1024x512 px.) which is a regular PNG without alpha. The pattern on the map is simply made of fuzzy circles. The Displace modifier does the rest. That’s all.

A little patience and you’ll be able to grab the whole thing from

do you have a specific link ?

but how did you do the bump map is it in blender UV editor with a grey background map
then what ?

or done in Gimp may be !

is this one of the new features in UV editor ?

and can this be used in cycles or only blender !


Thats Perfect dude :wink: Im gonna have to do some learning, but thats the exact style im looking for. I appreciate everyones help - thank you

The BlendSwap post just appeared:

The bump map was done in the GiMP in shades of grey. And it was rendered with Cycles. There’s nothing incompatible with Blender Render; I just wouldn’t know how to do the procedural material for it…

Method Number 2: Sculpt it.

Add cube. Add Multires modifier. Subdivide it 6 times. Switch to Sculpt Mode. Pick Inflate brush and adjust brush profile under Curve. Now stamp away.

You can vary Radius, strength, and profile curve to randomize the craters. If you want to overlap the craters, you need to flatten the ridge out before stamping with crater.

I would displace it with procedural textures (which you should learn because they are very useful). The craters use Voronoi F1 with a colour ramp and some various other procedurals for the other details.

would be nice if you could upload some sample file and way faster !
but it looks nice

note: seems that i lost my PW for blendswap and ther recover PW does nto work
have to get a new one !


QUICK QUESTION - My Bump map is distorted, and im not too sure how to get that right, any advice? (Please excuse my newbieness)

I can’t say much without seeing how distorted it is. Did you unwrapped correctly? (Sphere projection without the poles. The rest reset and shrunk in a tiny corner.). Is the map is a perfect rectangle? (2x1) Is the sphere is enough subdivided with a Subsurf modifier before the Displace? Is the right UVmap set in the Displace modifier? What else?

Even better than an image, pack the displacement map and attach your blend file to your post.

ahhh, i see you mentioned Unwrapping / sphere projection in your first post. I’ve been watching Displace tutorials that have been just using the default cloud textures, but i just replaced that step with an image… Seems like i missed one pf the most crucial steps with the unwrapping…

Is there any chance you could give a very basic step by step list? Just the basics? I can research the rest, just need a rough guide. I really do appreciate your commitment to help so far, thank you.

From memory…

Add a sphere, make it smooth, add a subsurf modifier.
Split the viewport in 2, have the UV/Image Editor on one side.
Load your displacement map.
Edit the sphere, select all, deselect the poles.
In front view [Numpad 1], [U] to unwrap >> Sphere Projection.
Make sure your displacement map is displayed in the UV/Image Editor behind the UV map.
The UV map must look like a rectangle across the image from left to right, almost from top to bottom.
Deselect everything in the viewport, select the 2 poles, press [CTRL Numpad + (plus sign)] so that all the triangles at both poles are selected. [U] to unwrap >> Reset.
You should see a big triangle across the whole image. [S], 0.05 [ENTER] (That should be enough.)
[G] to move the now tiny triangles in a corner. Your map must have no bumps in this area.
Close the UV/Image Editor.
Add a Displace modifier. Reduce the power to 0.2 right away.
Set the modifier to use your image and the UV map. Don’t forget to click to give the name of the UV map too.
Save now!
Increase the level of Subsurf. One level at a time. Level 4 should be a good compromise in between seeing what’s going on and murdering your CPU. Increase the rendering level too. You can decrease the display level back to 2 if the viewport is too sluggish. Only the rendering level really matters.
Give some material to the sphere. Add a lamp and a camera.
Save again!
Try to render. (Blender may take some time to gather all its stuff.) If you use the GPU, watch what Blender is doing. The message “Out of memory” disappears very quickly… Well, you’ll notice if the rendered image stays all black altho Blender announces it’s finished. In that case, reduce the rendering level of the Subsurf modifier.
When you succeed to get a valid rendering, you can start tuning your scene and play with the displacement value.

That should be all…

Thanks Kaluura, i didnt expect you to go into so much detail, but i really do appreciate it. I’ll follow the above, and post my results / Issues :wink:

thanks again

you said to
To create the bump map, you need a simple brush made of a black disc surrounded by a fuzzy white circle.

how or where do you get this brush ?
is this made in Gimp may be then use as a sculpt brush in blender in UV editor


No, no, no! I’m talking about a brush for a “real” graphics editor, like the GiMP for example. And I made my own brush:

The displacement map is an image that must be created outside of Blender. With Cycles, you really have no other choice. Just grab my file from BlendSwap and you’ll see a working example:

Environment texture on a sphere… I need to test that!

And, it’s true that it’s not my cartoon moon but it’s nice any way. Actually, I prefer yours because it looks so smooth… Like a plush toy covered with velvet. :smiley: