Making a Quad Sphere: 3ds Max, Maya, & Cinema 4D

by Deborah Anderson

We’re going to go over how to make a quad sphere in 3ds Max, Maya and Cinema 4D, for CheckMate Pro v2.

The default sphere is problematic because of the two poles. By itself, a standard sphere does not seem to pose any problems, but when it comes time to subdivide, the differences in polygon density at the equator and at the poles produces pinching, and squashes the sphere around the equator.

Click any screenshot below for full resolution.

 

Comparison of a Polygonal Sphere and a Quad Sphere

Here are the spheres unsmoothed.

comparison_01

When the spheres are smoothed, they both deform in different ways.

comparison_02

You can see how the Polygonal Sphere’s smoothing causes problems once a shader is added.  Little ridges are created at the top of the sphere.

comparison_03

You can see the ridges with a chrome material applied also.

comparison_04

While the effect is subtle, you should be able to see the faint star pattern within the normal sphere at the poles where the lighting and reflections get distorted as the sphere is subdivided. Moreover, it can’t simply be fixed by removing every other edge that’s converging to that one vertex to make the pole faces quads. The distortion is a direct result of the fact that it’s a curved surface where the pole exists.

As such, a far better approach is to build a quad sphere, which not only eliminates this pole problem entirely, but is completely CheckMate Pro v2 compliant. Here’s how you can accomplish this quickly in each of the major 3D applications.

3ds Max Quad Sphere

1. Create a cube

3dsmax_01

2.  Add a TurboSmooth modifier to the cube

3dsmax_02

3.  Adjust TurboSmooth so that it has 3 subdivisions

3dsmax_03

4.  Add a spherify modifier to the resulting spheroid

3dsmax_04

5.  Collapse to editable poly

3dsmax_05

Maya Quad Sphere

1.  Create a cube (suggested: 10 units in width, height, and depth; 2 subdivisions for each)

maya_01

2.  Under the animation menu module, go to Create Deformers > Sculpt Deformer

maya_02

3.  If your cube is bigger than your deformer, you will need to scale your deformer up. With the sculpt deformer selected, press R for the scale tool. Drag your mouse to the right to scale the deformer up. You can stop scaling when the cube starts to look spherical.

maya_03

maya_04

4.  go to the Polygons menu module. Select the object and go to Mesh > Smooth (suggested division iterations: 2)

maya_05

5.  Now you can delete the history, or keep it so that you can change the polyCube values

Cinema 4D Quad Sphere

1.  Create a sphere

c4d_01

2.  Under Attributes > Object, change the type to “Tetrahedron”

c4d_02

3.  You should now have a quad sphere:

c4d_03

Up Next: Making a Quad Sphere, Part 2: Softimage & LightWave

2 Responses to “Making a Quad Sphere: 3ds Max, Maya, & Cinema 4D”

  1. rick says:

    The maya walkthrough needs more documentation. Scult deformer values etc. Scaling the deformer up also scales up the cube, so I don’t understand how to make it larger than the cube itself. Any clarification would be great.

  2. Deborah A says:

    Hello Rick,

    We’ve updated the blog post to be more clear. Please let us know if this helps you out.

    Deborah A.
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