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Does anyone know how to generate a sphere of icons like Apple has done in their keynotes.

Such as: http://blog.utest.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/iStock_000020649912XSmall.jpg

or

http://i.istockimg.com/file_thumbview_approve/19391158/2/stock-photo-19391158-media-technologies-concept.jpg

I remember a few years ago Apple released an app called Core Animation or something that allowed you to create those globes and or 3d walls of images with reflections but I can't seem to find that anymore. If anyone has any advice on an app or web app that would work with a Mac that would be great. Otherwise the only option I see so far is doing it manually in photoshop like this: http://psd.tutsplus.com/tutorials/3d/create-a-spherical-3d-puzzle-with-photoshop/?search_index=2

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Core Animation is the part of OS X that "simplifies" programming animation. It's not a stand-alone program. Not to get too technical, it uses the OS's underlying Quartz APIs for drawing objects onscreen. Quartz Compositor is a stand-alone program that allows for building objects and animations.

What is your final intent of the sphere graphic? Do you need just a static "3D" image for a keynote presentation? Will you require a spinning globe? Do you require light rays and interactions as it spins?

Any good graphic designer or programmer (Apple included!) will make their craft look simple. The 35 major steps in the Photoshop tutorial are a testimony to my statement! The more advanced the need, from web to print to video to HD, the more complex the project.

Here are my recommendations of places to start, depending upon your output needs:

  • web: Use Photoshop to create your flat artwork then wrap it around a basic 3D object. 72dpi final is all you need. JPG if you don't need transparency, PNG if you do need to preserve transparency.
  • print: I'd also use Photoshop as with web, but final artwork needs to be 200dpi to 300dpi. Same output file formats based upon transparency needs.
  • video (static): Photoshop as above.
  • video (animated): at this point you're taking a big leap in complexity. Unless you have an understanding of a 3D modeling program, seek out someone who does. Check with your local college's graphic arts or film department.

I wish you luck with your project. If you end up biting off more than you can chew, take a step back and try breaking the task down into simpler steps and trying again.

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Thanks for the response. It will just be a static web image like in my two examples. Certainly can spend the time and do it in Photoshop, though thought I'd check here to see if anyone knew of any apps or web apps that will generate it for me from a selection of images. I've seen apps for generating waterfalls of images or walls of images that appear 3d but can't find any for the globe yet. –  heavymark Dec 10 '12 at 15:06
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