Blender 3D: Noob to Pro/The Rusty Ball

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Making objects with image textures is not really hard for simple objects like balls, cubes, and tubes. I'll show you how to do this:

  • Make a new Scene in Blender and delete the default cube  X .
  • Make an object you want to have the image on (I recommend a Mesh plane, sphere or tube).

(If you are making a Mesh Plane, change your view to above, by pressing  Num7 )

To make a rusty ball I suggest an icosphere with a size of 2 which will fit nicely in the camera view.

  • Sequence to add the Ball is:  Spacebar , Add, Mesh, Icosphere.
  • Go to the materials ( F5 ) and select "O Material" from the popupmenu by the "Add new" button. (the little arrows)
  • Now go to the textures ( F6 ) and choose "Texture Type" A drop down (or up) menu appears and you will get many options, the one we need is "Load image". Click it, then select "Load" and navigate to an image you want to use. (Note: JPGs, PNGs or TGAs are recommended for Blender. Bitmaps tend to get all screwy.)

(Noob Note: Do a search for Rust Textures if you do not have one handy.)

  • After this, you'll have to specify how your image should be applied to your object. To do this, go to the materials again, where you'll have to find the "Map input" tab (near the textures tab). If you have selected it, you'll see four buttons: Flat, Cube, Tube and Sphere. Select the option which meets your object best. You can see a simple preview of the different options in the "Preview" window and try the different modes.
  • Render your object. If you can't see your picture well, you can try to rotate your object or select another option in the "Map input" tab.

You can also render videos onto objects using this method. Just select a movie in the "Load image" dialog and enable the option "Movie" at the textures buttons. NOTE: Blender ONLY works with Full Resolution video, not video which has been compressed using a codec. Most video software will allow you to export video as "full frames" or "no compression". Experiment a bit!


Much has changed in recent versions. This is an excellent tutorial by the original author, but I will try to bring it up to date.

The Rusty Ball
  • Make a new scene in Blender and delete the default cube.
  • Add a sphere. Apply a Subsurf modifier and Smooth as we have learned in previous tutorials.
  • Find a file picture that you want to apply to your object. Check Flickr for something like "rust texture." (If you are going to share it, be sure you check the license of the texture you download.)
  • IMPORTANT: You need a seamless texture. If you are not sure, use a program such as GIMP. Use FILTERS > MAP > MAKE SEAMLESS. Usually this works well but if your texture turns into gorp, try another one.
  • In the Properties Panel, which by default is the bottom right panel, select the Material icon Blender268TextureIconMaterial.png.
  • Select NEW or if you already have a material in use, select the + sign to add a new material. Give it a good name like rustyball.
  • Click on the Texture Icon Blender268TextureIconBrush.png.
  • Click NEW or if you already have a texture loaded, click on the + to add a new one. Give it a good name like RUST.
  • The default type is CLOUDS. Pull down the menu and change it to IMAGE OR MOVIE.
  • Go to the IMAGE section, choose OPEN. New options will become available.
  • Under Source: Click the folder icon and navigate to your image.
  • Scroll down. In the Image Mapping area are some options that you may need to try. If your image is small it may have to be repeated in the X or Y directions.
  • In the Mapping section (yes, one section is Image Mapping and the other is just Mapping) after Projection, choose the shape closest to your object. If you are using a sphere like the example, then choose ... you guessed it ... SPHERE.
  • The Preview often looks a bit odd and stripey, but render your project and it should look very nice.
  • This method works for all sorts of things. Try making a brick wall with a wooden gate using Flickr textures or go back to the Jeep tutorial and put a pattern on your jeep.
Textures used from Flicker under Creative Commons 2.0 license
Psychedelic Jeep, my own texture such as it may be