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Modelling a Hollow Sphere

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Remington McElhaneyModelling a Hollow Sphere
by on Dec 9, 2011 at 9:54:45 pm


I'm currently modelling a Christmas ornament and I need it to be hollow. I feel like this should be a fairly basic thing but it keeps giving me issues.

I've tried taking the sphere, putting its hemisphere to .5 and the deleting the inside vertex point. I then apply a shell modifier and its halfway to being perfect!

However I'm having issues converting it to a full sphere. I've used the mirror modifier but it leave a thin line where the two half spheres are joined which doesn't work for me. If you try to smooth it out it just exaggerates the problem.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I feel like there's an easy solution to this problem.


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Joseph W. BourkeRe: Modelling a Hollow Sphere
by on Dec 10, 2011 at 6:16:59 pm

Hi Remington -

Have you tried smoothing just the area where the thin line is appearing when you use mirror?

I'm assuming that since you want to have a hollow sphere, that at some point you're going to show the inside of that sphere. Is it going to be a cutaway, or a partial shatter? You could just take a nice smooth sphere, make a copy of that and size it down to what you want your wall thickness to be, then use a subtract in Power Booleans to take away the interior.

You could then just select the portion of the sphere you want to show the hollow part, and move it around the way an exploded drawing would work. Since I don't the ultimate use of this as far as an animation goes, I can't dig any further into this.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media

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Remington McElhaneyRe: Modelling a Hollow Sphere
by on Dec 10, 2011 at 7:17:29 pm

Thanks for getting back to me Joe. I'm not sure how to smooth a specific area (I'm a terrible modeler) but I'm not sure that would help. Because when I run turbo smooth the problem is the line ends up getting smoothed so it looks like a seam then because both sides are curving into the line.

I tried a straight Boolean but it wasn't working but perhaps I needed to use the Pro Boolean.

It's ultimately going to be used in a rayfire simulation where it will be shattered.


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Rick AltenaRe: Modelling a Hollow Sphere
by on Dec 11, 2011 at 6:04:05 pm

just adding a shell modifier to a sphere doesn't work? I don't quite get why you would want two halves if you really don't want a seam.

If you do need two halves I suggest breaking the shelled sphere in two, then add the edge geometry by hand making it all quads (4 sided polygons) that way it might smooth a bit better.

Ultimately your problem is the smoothing of the edge, if you chamfer the edge really small it might be less visible, but I don't think there's a real solution if you really want to use turbosmooth. if you don't want to use turbosmooth you can use different smoothing groups for the outside and the edge and you should be okay.

hope this helped a little,


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Remington McElhaneyRe: Modelling a Hollow Sphere
by on Dec 11, 2011 at 6:33:57 pm

Well the reason why it was two halves was so I could delete the inside vertex to make it hollow. My understanding was if I put a shell modifier on the sphere it would still be solid.

I was able to work around my problem though so thank you guys for your suggestions!

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Mike NielsenRe: Modelling a Hollow Sphere
by on Jan 22, 2012 at 12:27:02 pm

Not the newest of responses, but in case you're still interested: My first thought is, that you didn't weld vertices of the 2 shelled hemispheres(?) Weld the overlapping middle verts and smoothing from there is easy.

Kind regards,

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Remington McElhaneyRe: Modelling a Hollow Sphere
by on Jan 22, 2012 at 10:43:39 pm

Hi Mike,

I think your right, that probably would have solved my problem! I'm still verrrry new to modelling! I'm learning but its definitely quite the process. Anyways, here's my finished result if anyone is interested.


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