candid thoughts on the issues of the day.

What I'm trying to create is an image of a traditional black and white soccer ball, where the black pentagons have morphed into the shape of earth's continents. The philosophy behind the image is that soccer, being the world's most popular sport, brings the world together by creating a common interest. It also provides an outlet for nationalism, as international tournaments allow countries to peacefully (mostly peacefully) compete against each other for claims of world dominance. Young players from all over the world dream about being good enough to play for the best club teams in the best soccer countries. The ones that make it abroad still come back to their home country to support it in international play. So I want to create an image that symbolizes that by mixing the globe and the soccer ball.

Anyways, on more about the image. Originally, I just searched the web for something similar to what I was looking for. The best I found was this:

It's not bad, but unfortunately the oringal high resolution version of the image was no longer on the internet. If anyone wants to try out their google skills and try to show me up by finding something better, please let me know.

So not having found what I was looking for on the internet I set out to make my own, using Photoshop. I just bought Photoshop, and although I've used it quite a bit before, I'm not that good at it. What I did was take a regular image of a soccer ball, then trace the continents freehand in the positions over the black pentagons. They are not meant to be 100% accurate, but more a morphing into the black positions of the soccer ball.

Since the continents were just black solid objects, I tried sprucing them up by embossing them. That gives the relief feel to the continents, that you would otherwise see in the stitches on a soccerball. I can't figure out though how to get the continent color back to black (emboss turns it to gray for some reason) without destroying the relief.

Next I had to get rid of the original block pentagons and turn instead into the off-white of the hexagon portions of the ball. This proved to be the hardest part. I haven't found any function on Photoshop that will allow you to take a region and say, "make this region look like that region". you can sort of do it by creating a pattern based on the off-white region and applying it to the black region. the effect is limited though because it generally destroys the lighting attributes and tends to look rather artificial.

Photoshop also crashes on my when I try a number of effects like lighting effects. I think the new version of photoshop is very buggy (CS or 8.0), and it's pissing me off cause I spent a lot of good money on it.

Anyways, this is the best I've come up so far, despite the bugs. Let me know what you think, and if you want to try to improve on it, I can send you the source files I used. Feel free to use this image for anything you want, but I'd appreciate if you let me know about it afterwards. That's what the internet's for!

on Jul 15, 2004

heres a slightly different approach that is interesting but not nearly as well done as yours


on Jul 15, 2004
i like it! can i use it on my webpage? where'd you find it?

it'd be fairly easy to recreate, i guess. though simple things can often turn out to be difficult. i would just merge an all-white soccer ball image with a globe image.

also, i noticed that this soccer ball doesn't have the traditional hexagon/pentagon pattern. more accurately known as the truncated icosahedron. (wow, i'm a nerd!)
on Jul 15, 2004

heres the location of the image Link

the pattern is very strange. 

here's something you might also find interesting (if you havent seen it before):  instructions for creating a sotra semi-quasi 3D soccerball image using 3d studio max (im not sure if there are applications similar enough to studio max that you could adapt the process) Link

you might also luck out and find an usable image of a product made by one of my former employers called an earthball (like a 6' canvas ball on which we'd silkscreened the continents; wed include paints--several colors--so that it could be painted like a topo globe) based on a concept developed by the newgames foundation.  id think someone must still make and sell them (the company i worked for has been bought, rendered, sold at least 6 times since i left) so it might be possible to actually create your own version--very large of course--photograph it and go from there

on Jul 15, 2004
i'd like to make a 3D image, but i don't have Studio Max. I've seen several tutorials like that though. If you know of any that use freeware or shareware software let me know. i don't think i'd use it enough to be worth spending much money on 3D software.

the earth ball sounds cool. i've seen other earth ball type images on the net, but i'm really looking for something that resembles a soccer ball. thanks for the leads though!
on Jul 15, 2004
Hey Rob--Foreign Policy magazine actually just did an amazing story "Soccer Goes Global," concerning the facts behind this symbolism. Fun read, but currently requires a subscription online. Maybe LexisNexis or a traditional library is an easier route.
on Jul 16, 2004
Muy interesante!
on Jul 16, 2004
I like yours better than the blu and green version. My half brother used to play for a Bermuda team and taught me to play. Love the game!!!
on Jul 16, 2004
somebody is way into futball
on Jul 17, 2004
Ha! Yeah, probably too much so. But I think it fits my personality, don't you think? You'll understand after you live in England, Peski. I'll have to teach you though, not to be a scumbag English premier league fanatic. You should check out the Scotish football league while you're there. The Celtic football club is my favorite.