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Tutorial: Building Earth in Blender


William Chamberlin has a great set of earth models on his site. He describes his creation process in a 20-page tutorial.

William wrote:

For some time now, I've been studying how to build Earth in Blender. I've read quite a few tutorials, studied NASA's Blue Marble images, and received critique from other Blender enthusiasts. I now have some satisfactory results, which I'd be happy to share.

I've put together a 21-page tutorial which explains how I achieved my Earth renders. I know there are already a lot of Earth tutorials out there - but none that I found helped me get quite the effect that I wanted. My tutorial combines what I gleaned from all the other tutorials, with what I learned on my own through hours of experimenting. I'm sure it's not perfect - but I think it will be helpful for anyone interested in the subject.

The tutorial focuses on three different models of Earth - a photographic-style Earth, a Blue-Marble-style Earth, and a night Earth. It demonstrates how to render details such as proper specular shading and ray-traced cloud shadows.


About Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. Maurice Raybaud on

    How beautyfull is our planet!
    On the site, there are mapped moon, jupiter, Io, etc. but I can't find Pluto anywhere.
    Poor pluto...

  2. Very informative, and it covers a lot of different things in Blender. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone looking to do an earth model.

  3. *cough*

    One comment - between the time I submitted this tutorial and the time it was posted, I made a couple of improvements and changed the number of pages. The current Earth tutorial is actually 20 pages long. Sorry for the inconsistency. . . :)

  4. Tutorial looks very promising. Can't wait to try it out!

    Thanks for giving something to the community William Chamberlin =)
    You rock!

  5. Robert Zimmermann on

    Hello William.

    Super design! Very impressive. Your work gave me lots of new ideas.


    Have a great day..Robert.

  6. I can't download these maps! What's going on? This looks like a beautiful model of Earth but I think my computer doesn't recognize the file types on the NASA website, and all the links to the directory are broken! Help!

  7. Hi William,
    thank you very much for your impressive tutorial. It was hard for me (I'm just newbie in Blender) to render your work, but at last I did it :-)
    But.. I have a question: why in the photo realistic rendering of the Earth I can see (in transparency) the non-rendered hemisphere (maybe the falloff texture). What is happening? This also happens with your blender project file (.blend). I use Blender v2.49a
    Thank you again for your work and your attention.

    @J: all the links contained in the pdf file tutorial must be completely copied and pasted in your notepad and then reassembled (don't click the Acrobat Reader link...). Anyway here ( ) you can find all you need.

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