Years ago, I was tasked with creating a detailed soccer ball for a client and knew that I would
need to model in all of the seams, since a bump
map just wouldn’t hold up for any close-up
shots. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to come
across an amazing tutorial that took what could
have been a difficult task and simplified the
steps for me, resulting in a perfect final mesh.
Visit this url to access the tutorial that walks you
through creating a traditional soccer ball.
Over the years, I have used this technique
anytime I have been called on to create a
traditional soccer ball. Recently, I was tasked,
yet again, with creating a variety of soccer
balls -including one using the traditional black
and white pattern. As the tutorial suggested, I
started with a tessellated sphere and ended up
with a sharp looking, fully-detailed traditional
soccer ball. I then started on the next soccer
ball on my list which was the 2010 World Cup
Jabulani Soccer Ball.
Unfortunately, starting with a tessellated sphere
produced questionable results. It was time to
head back to the drawing board.
After a few hours, I was able to create the unique
pattern of the ball. As with many models, my
first pass was acceptable, but I was convinced
there was a more refined solution that would
produce a cleaner result. The steps that follow
are the result of a day’s experimentation with
the goal of creating easily reproducible results
when modeling a 2010 soccer ball.
By going back and breaking down the model
into refined steps, you truly become a better
problem solver in my opinion. I’d suggest doing
the same on your own projects from time to
I started by gathering reference material and carefully studied the design of the ball. The
Jabulani ball is comprised of eight panels that
are spherically molded. There are two distinct
shapes that make up the eight panels and it’s
important that these shapes are exact so that
they connect perfectly together.
Follow these simple steps to create your very
own 2010 Jabulani Soccer Ball:
Although it will seem like we’re starting off
heading in the wrong direction, stay with me
on this first step. I found that starting with a
either a segmented or tessellated ball produced
undesirable polygon flow so start by creating a
Tetrahedron, using the Platonic Solid Primitive.
Create > Primitives > More > Platonic
Next we need to split the tetrahedron into
several sections. Instead of measuring or
guessing where to split the polygon faces, we’ll
subdivide the object into smaller faces that will
make it easier to work with. Use the Subdivide
operation set to Faceted three times.
Multiply > Subdivide > Subdivide
To keep the object manageable, let’s give the
tips of the tetrahedron a different surface.
Bottom Menu > Surface
Now that we have the tetrahedron sectioned off, we need to remove the excess polygons
that make up each section. Simply select the
polygons that make each section and merge
them into one.
Note: Only merge polygons that are on the same
plane and not the entire tip. Use the reference
image as a guide.
Detail > Polygons > Merge Polygons