Maya is not only used for animated movies and special effects but also for Motion graphics works. For Motion graphics you have to create 3d maps and globe once in a while. During my motion graphics career I have to face the same problem several times. Each time I have tried different ways and never satisfied with the result. I used Displacement maps, sphere with transparent maps etc. They served the purpose but not the satisfactory look.
And one day I have to create a 3d map morph in to a 3d globe with continents extruded for a project (a satellite map is morphed in to 3d globe with glossy effect). First I thought it is an easy one. But the final result was not that much 3d looking. So I have to find a way to work it. At last I got an easy way. Hope you will also like it.
Here we go.
- Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator
You may use either Photoshop or Illustrator. But I prefer Illustrator because it will create smooth and crisp curves while Photoshop produce jaggy curves.
2. Open it in Photoshop and by using magic wand (w) select the outer region representing ocean and delete it.
3. If you have Adobe Illustrator save the file as PNG and skip to step 6.
4. In Photoshop go to paths and click ‘make work path from selection ‘tool to create a new path.
Now we have a work path.
5. Go to File > export > path to Illustrator and save it as Illustrator file by selecting the work path from drop down box. It is already selected there.
6. Skip to step 13.
7. Open Adobe Illustrator and create a new document with Basic RGB pre-set with 1024X768 formats.
8. Now go to file>place and select the saved PNG file, we have created at step 3.
9. Scale it down if necessary. Do a proportional scale only.
10. Click the drop down option under live trace (click the arrow key) and select tracing options
11. Adjust the parameters as seen in Figure.
12. Now press trace and save the scene as Illustrator file. Select the Adobe Illustrator 8 option if you are using latest Illustrator.
13. Now create a new document in Maya and go to Create> Adobe Illustrator object> options
14. Select curve as final output and press create. You will get something like this.
15. Drag select the entire curve from viewport and group it. Centre pivot and snap the group to the base of the grid. Freeze transform and delete the history. You can safely delete the unwanted groups from outliner.
16. Now create a nurbs square and rotate, scale it exactly to match the map.
17. Select the Adobe Illustrator curve 1 group and duplicate it once.
18. Shift select the nurbs square 1 from outline and go to surface menu and surface>planar> options and do as the figure below
19. Delete the history and assign a Phong material and change the colour as desired. We have our outer ocean.
20. Go to outliner and select Adobe Illustrator curve 1 and do a planar. Delete the history and apply new material.
21. Now we have our complete map. The ocean and Continents are separated so we can have separate animation and textures.
22. Select the continent mesh and do extrude. Don’t delete the history if you need extrude animation.
23. Select both ocean and continents and go to animation mode and do Create deformers> nonlinear> Bend.
24. And rotate the bend handle in 90 degrees in Y axis and change the curvature to 1.75
25. Select both ocean and continents and go to animation mode and do Create deformers> nonlinear> Bend. Rotate the Bend handle to 90 degree in X and Y. And change the curvature to 3.142. Adjust the curvature accordingly.
Now we have the complete globe. Select both the bend handle and animate the curvature or set a set driven key and animate it for morphing effect.
You can replace a sphere for ocean once the animation is completed.And play with the visibility key.
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