Blender Map Projections!


I just joined this community and I’m looking forward to my upcoming blender adventures.

I thought I’d start off by asking for some advice on a project I’m currently working on. I will be teaching a class on map projections soon and I thought it would be a great opportunity to practice some blender skills. In short I want to animate a little sequence showing the basic concepts of projections. Check the pictures on this article: that’s what I’m trying to do.

I have run into some trouble with getting enough light through a partially transparent material. Here’s what I have done:

  1. I have wrapped a PNG map of the world on a sphere, the oceans are transparent the countries are black. The idea being that I would make the oceans transparent and the countries opaque.
  2. I placed a light source inside said sphere, so only have the light shine through the transparent parts of the sphere.
  3. I wrapped the sphere in a cylinder with a partially transparent cloth like texture.
  4. I also added some volumetric stuff to the world for fun (I turned it off too, still problems).
Here's a picture of the situation

As you can tell it’s not really shining through the upper parts. I’m thinking its because the sphere is not transparent enough, but what do you guys think?

Oh, and I am using blender 2.79 cycles render engine.


I hope you guys can help! Thank you in advance :slight_smile:


hmmmm I would try a different node setup. Are you able to upload your .blend to dropbox and share the link here so I can tweak it and give it back?

Sure! I would love to see your suggestions. Here’s a link:



Haven’t really been able to take a look a look at it yet since I have so much going on but what I could suggest to get more of a drastic effect is adding a contrast and or curves node to contrast the black and the whites. Also possibly mixing in a translucent shader can sometimes help. You can checkout this tutorial I did for a cupcake and it can give you some ideas as far the material part for the transparency: