How to make "cool" globes with the GIMP
Sorry, but this page is partially outdated, there
is a new Map-Object Plugin available...
How is it possible to produce globes like these?
Well - first you need a (flat) map of the world. I made one with
This is a bit tricky, maybe I make a second howto...
These pictures were created with this map:
Load the map into Gimp, adjust the colors, and you are
able to produce wonderful globes via
Producing the transparency-effect is not really hard, but tricky.
"<Image>/Filters/Distorts/Map Object" is able to handle transparent
pictures - well - mostly.
If the map is fully transparent somewhere, the sphere will have
a hole at this place. But if the map is just 1% opaque (nearly fully
transparent), the rear side of the globe will not be displayed.
So we have to work around that.
Load the map and make it RGB-alpha. Add an alpha-channel and a layer-mask
(in the "Layers & Channels"-dialog) and copy the map
to the layer-mask. Use "<Image>/Image/Map/Threshold" on the layer-mask to
make the oceans fully transparent and the lands fully opaque:
Apply the layer-mask and go "<Image>/Filters/Distorts/Map Object".
Select the sphere as object to map the map onto, toggle "Create new image" and
"transparent background" and select an apropriate viewpoint.
Apply the map to a sphere and rescale the new picture to a square.
When you have selected a point of view DON'T CHANGE THE PARAMETERS!
We need them later.
Don't quit the Gimp - its nearly impossible to adjust the globe
exactly the same again.
Save the result and modify the original flat map via
"<Image>/Image/Adjust/Curves" (Alpha-Channel) so that the oceans
Map this map with the same parameters to a new Picture and rescale
it to a square.
The rest is easy: create a new Picture with at least three layers, paste
the fully transparent globe to the second layer, the half-transparent
globe to the topmost layer and make a neat gradient to the