Help: how to model a world globe?


I would like some help to solve the following problem: I need to create a world globe solid, but hollow inside (the countries will be stick to the sphere axis, similar to the attached photo).

I have already tried to insert a B&W image by picture frame / heightfield from image / apply mesh UVN to a sphere. The result wasn’t satisfactory because the countries were too deformed.

I thought of retry it with a vectored image / extrude / apply mesh to a sphere, but at the moment I don’t have the appropriate software’s. Is it the best way to produce this world globe?

I need to prototype this piece, so it has to be the most flawless as possible. I am using Rhino v.4 without any plug-ins but if it’s necessary I can arrange it.

Thanks for any help.


I checked V5 here and you can start with ApplyDisplacement and then ExtractRenderMesh.

I do know it was some way possible in V4 but just can’t remember, @pascal?

That will give you the basic mesh. You’ll have to subtract another mesh sphere to hollow the seas out, like this:

I saw some videos that show what ApplyDisplacement does and it seems to be quite easy and pretty effective. It’s awesome, thanks for your help! Moreover do you know if we can regulate the edge angles? I want it the sharpest, just like when we extrude a surface.

Now I hope that Pascal can help me as well with some tips for Rhino 4, otherwise I’ll try to improve my Rhino version asap!

Edge angles will depend mostly on image contrast. Sharp lines will deliver vertical walls, while blurred edges will deliver smooth contours.

Thanks, so now i think one of the matters was probably the image quality…

For v4, see labs:displacement [McNeel Wiki]


Hi Marcia,

I have a model you can use as a basis: KB)


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Hi Willem,
Thank you for your help! I wish I had seen your suggestion before.
I have been passing the last days trying to solve this problem and the best two ways I found are the one you suggested and Apply and Create UV Curves / Apply Mesh UVN. I’ve achieved to produce my world globe.
I had to make many mistakes to understand that the curves created based on the world map planar projection need to have coincident edges. So once it is projected to the sphere everything matches. Well, now I think it sounds pretty obvious, no?! :slight_smile:
So thank you for your image, it’s really well explained with important tips.