Daily Archives: May 10, 2020

Mercator and Max and Spiderman

Max Calò is an illustrator pal I met on the internet. He saw my post about Gerard Mercator’s projection of the Earth and told me how he confronted a similar challenge when he was awarded the job of putting 2-dimensional characters on round toy balls. Here’s another view. They’re containers.

He sent me some images to show how he worked out the problem. I believe he used a system like the one Mercator used. I’m completely lost when it comes to digital art, so I’ll just put Max’ images here with his comments.

Here’s four visuals of that globe-printing job. I did quite a few of those, here’s one that shows the distortion well, it’s Spiderman’s head. One is the texture that wrapped around cylindrically, lots of trial and error to get there, then there are screenshots of the sphere to show how the texture applies. And then two renders, one from top and one from bottom, the part that is shown as whitened up is the bleed so a portion of that’s below the equator. The renders were my final products that were then used in the manufacturing.

I did a few: two different world maps, Moshi Monsters, a Dalek, a Dinosaur’s eye, Marvel heroes with Iron Man, Hulk and others…but Spiderman came out best.

In the first screengrab you can see it flattened and it’s the bottom plus one ring of polygons above the equator to provide the bleed and you can see that I changed the sizes of the rings to counter the distortion of the manufacturing. I remember I sent them one test sphere with just a solid color for each ring to calculate the distortion.

Here it is with the UVs unwrapped. Are you familiar with UV’s? If you’re not, it’s the coordinates of the 2d unwrapping of a 3d surface. They’re called UV because XYZ are already taken for the 3d space. Here’s the texture on the UVs.


Thanks, Max!

Spiderman is part of the Marvel Universe and all images are copyrighted by Max or Marvel or Stan Lee—I hope that covers it.

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