If you ever tried to allocate objects on a 3D sphere surface in Adobe Illustrator, then you probably know that it is almost impossible to do without some terrible artifacts. Today we will find an alternative way to solve this problem.
So what is the problem exactly? There is the Map Art feature in 3D Revolve effect, but what's wrong with it? - you might ask. Let's take a closer look at a simple sphere surface, for example, at Golf ball from Shutterstock.
Let's try to model it with the help of 3D Revolve effect (Effect > 3D > Revolve…). I won't describe this method in detail since what I've got as a result, is not of my liking.
As you can see, the circles that are located in the poles of sphere look deformed, which doesn't correspond to the reality.
I also tried in the past to place the objects on the sphere surface with the help of Envelope Distort command (Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Warp… (Fisheye)) and with the help of similar effect (Effect > Warp > Fisheye…) in my tutorial - Create Abstract 3D Spheres in Illustrator. On the figure below you can see the use of the command and the effect to the array of identical circles.
No doubt, it is better than the 3D Revolve effect, but even with the value of 100% for the Bend option, we won't get the desired effect. For comparison, just look at the Golf ball in the beginning of this article.
OK, I hope that the problem is clear for you. Now let's try to deform the array of circles with the help of the Lens Tool of FilteriT4.X plug-in. After the plug-in is installed, its tools will appear in the Tools panel. Take the Lens Tool, which will open its panel. Here we can select type of deformation, set the Thickness value and the size of the impact area.
Click on the artboard, and without releasing the mouse button drag the cursor so, as to obtain the desired effect, then release the mouse button.
Now we can hide the undeformed circles of our array with the help of the Clipping or the Opacity masks, or delete it in any way you know.
We got almost perfect distribution of circles on the sphere’s surface. I hope, you won't have any problems anymore while drawing balls and other sphere surfaces.
I created the abstract sphere with holes very quickly. I wanted to create an illustration in this style in Adobe Illustrator for a while, but I didn't have a suitable tool. And now I have it! It is Filterit4.6