Cooking up a Moon

Cooking up a Moon

With the recent posts and tutorials on heavenly bodies. I thought I'd add a tutorial that's a bit different.

This tutorial shows you how to cook up your own moon surface in your kitchen. By the end of this tutorial, you should have a rendered image that looks something like this:


Part 1 - Cooking Pancakes

Cooking pancakes is a weekend tradition at home. With all the bubbles that form on the surface of the pancake as it cooks, I have often wondered how well this surface would work as a bump map.

In this tutorial, we will be cooking some pancakes, scanning them, creating a bump map, and applying the bump map to a sphere.


Part 01 Step 01.jpg

Part 01 Step 02.jpg

I prefer eating mine with lemon and sugar, but you may prefer maple syrup.

Part 01 Step 03.jpg

Part 01 Step 04.jpg

Part 2 to follow...
Part 2 Creating a Texture and Bump Map

Here are the steps for creating a texture and bump map. If you use Photoshop or Pixelmator for this, the steps will be different, but hopefully you will be able to replicate the results.

Part 02 Step 01.jpg

Part 02 Step 02.jpg

Part 02 Step 03.jpg

Part 02 Step 04.jpg

Part 02 Step 05.jpg
Part 3 - Setting Up Your Moon

I have kept this as simple as possible. Hopefully you will give this a try, come up with better renders, and share your settings.

Part 03 Step 01.jpg

Part 03 Step 04 05.jpg

Here is a zip file with the cheetah file, background image, texture and bump map files: moon

Part 03 Step 06.jpg

For anyone who wants the original scanned pancake, here it is: scanned pancake


Well-known member
I wonder if you could replace the manual painting step with some layer magic… You might also apply the material as a displacement map to the underlying geometry.

frank beckmann

Well-known member
With all these left-over pancake images, I think we may have to start a competition to recreate a plate of 3D pancakes!
This is now too easy: grab disc-object • add subdiv+shellmodifiers • make editable - use UV-mapper to align image texture in flat projection - use new brush-tool in push&pull mode to add some varieties at the edges • copy&paste&rotate&stack some copies • done:




Active member
:D Thanks for the very informative and fun tut Chris! Bet you have some happy fat birds in your back yard.

In my attempt to try using pancake images to create a moon surface i found this amazing image of a pancake made to look like Spock. Thought it would be an appropriate and fun image to use to test making a "Man in the Moon" bump mapped moon texture.

I think it makes a cool moon bump map. . .
Never-the-less; Besides not being gifted in a photo editing app to make deeper craters, I find: even as hard as I've tried for the last several days I can not get my material mapped around the sphere correctly.
The back of the moon shows a seam line.

Thus . . . I'm throwing out the following plea:
What on the heavenly body Earth am I doing wrong about trying to map my image on the ball representing the earth's heavenly body Moon?
I've tried the uv mapper as well as the regular uv mapping editor.

@ Frank: I see you used a "Cage transform" with the uv mapper . . .
Would you explain where that is and how you used it?

I've included my .jas file and images in a zip file.

Right now I"m going to my kitchen to see if I can rival Frank's pancakes.

My Best 2U


frank beckmann

Well-known member
When you look at the default UVs of a sphere in UV-editor you´ll notice the need of a square or rectangular image. When there´s a a visible seam your texture isn´t seamless where you put Spock on. So better get a seamless pedant and put Spock on this one.

@ Frank: I see you used a "Cage transform" with the uv mapper . . .
Would you explain where that is and how you used it?
The pancakes are circular because of my round pan and the UVs of the ball are square I used the cage deformer tool in GIMP to stretch the image quadratic. (no - it´s not seamless by default.)
Here´s to an tutorial on making seamless textures from any image:



Active member
Thanks for the information Frank. It's late and I'm going to study all the info tomorrow.
Looks like there is a thank you in order for Podperson also. . . Thanks Pod.

My Best 2U
Thanks Jeanny

I'm glad you like the tutorial. I didn't create a seamless texture, so I'm sure I have a seam as well. I was after a still shot originally, so I wasn't worried about a seam at the time.

@Tonio. I'm not sure what layer magic I can do to deepen the craters. I think the difficulty is, the contrast in the pancake's colours relates to the heat when cooked and not shadows; hence having to enhance the depth of the craters manually with a brush.

When I get back onto my Mac, I have a few things to follow up:
- working out how to make my pancake texture seamless in Afffinity Photo
- trying the displacement map (thanks Tonio) approach, and
- building a virtual stack that rivals Frank's.

Thanks to everyone who left a comment. It's Sunday tomorrow, which means pancakes for breakfast!
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