I'm guessing many people here are familiar with Andrew Kramers videocopilot site. I'm also guessing that people are familiar with his planet tutorials be it earth, dead planet, exploding planet etc....
The results look great but it creates a big question for me....he includes project files for the earth surface and cloud layers as a 2D flat jpeg image. You cannot use these graphics in stock footage so I want to create my own hand drawn images to wrap to spheres.
So, I do things like take a photo of a texture, and in Photoshop Extended CS4 work the image over as a flat 2D image until I like the look. You can probably guess what my problem will be....to simply use that image in AE effected by CCsphere there are obvious seams and warping of the image at the poles...I expected that. So I then tried to work on the image, and then create a 3D sphere in photoshop and continue cloneing out the seam and making the poles work out right. Works great and can be placed into After Effects...but...it creates it's own camera and light system which will dictate a different workflow than I am hoping to achieve. It works..but I really want to obtain a 2D final image for use in AE. Finally photoshop does not seem to be able to 'unwrap' the sphere back to a rectangular 2D image to allow for CCsphere to do the work of 3D shaping.
From some research I am starting to think that it will take true 3D software like 3Dstudio Max, or others to do this unwrapping back to 2D.
So my question boils down to...can I do the 2D to 3D back to 2D work within Photoshop Extended CS4 or the combined tools in the Production Suite? Is there a flaw to my workflow method (some sort of edge blending mode in Photoshop that I'm not aware of for instance?)
All the best,
Sorry in advance for the long post, but I like to hear myself type....