There are always a lot of world maps one can find out there. As well as generating your own. But what if you have a flat world map, hopefully in the Mercator projection, and want to make a globe from that? GIMP has mapping tools, so that we can map a 2D surface to a 3D surface. GIMP is free and available on most platforms, so this should work on Macs, Linux & Windows systems.
First obviously we start with a flat map; this one was generated from Fractal Terrain but could be from anything.
- Options are the base options. I will set the background to transparent, and create a new image. This will leave my 2D map as is.
- The light tab gives you access to the type and color of the, as well as where it comes from. This allows you to change the light to a redder star for instance. Play with the colors, and point versus directional lights.
- the material tab gives you control on how that light is reflected. This, with the light tab, can let you set where the sun is shining from.
- the Orientation tab is where you can rotate your planet to show it's best side. If you need to, you can go back to the original map to create multiple globes so you can view the planet from wherever you like