3D Basketball

Follow these directions to create a realistic 3D basketball in Adobe Photoshop.

Create a flat basketball.

  1. New Document 5" wide by 5" tall.
  2. Create a new layer: Layer--New--Layer. Call this layer ball. Do not paint in the background layer. 
  3. Select a perfect circle in the middle.
  4. Fill circle with orange.
  5. Give the basketball some texture. Filter--Texturizer-Sandstone. Play with settings.

Create a flat orange circle.

Make sure the circle is in a new layer, not the background layer.

Give ball some texture.

Create the lines in the basketball.

  1. Create a new layer. Call it lines.
  2. Draw lines where the grooves should be using a dark orange/brown.
    1. I drew a straight line in the middle. 
    2. I then used a circle selection to stroke the curves. 
    3. I then deleted the excess circle parts.


Create a new layer for the lines.

Paint lines for the ball in the new layer.

Make the lines into grooves.

  1. Bevel and Emboss of layers. 
    1. Inner Bevel makes things stick out. It cuts an object as it had depth. 
    2. Outer Bevel cuts everything around the object as if it were cutting a groove around your object. 
    3. Size controls how wide the bevel is.
    4. Depth controls how dark and light the bevel is.
    5. Shading angle controls where the shadow and highlights are placed.
  2. Outer Bevel the lines: Layer--Effects--Bevel and Emboss
    1. Change the style to Outer Bevel.
    2. Adjust the Shading angle, Depth and Size to make the bevel look correct. 
    3. If your light is coming from the top left, your shading angle on the bevel should be from the bottom right to make the bevel look correct.
  3. If I were doing stitching on a baseball, I would use an inner bevel instead. The stitching stands out from the baseball, it does not cut a groove in the baseball.

Outer bevel the lines layer to carve grooves into the ball.

Make the whole basketball 3D with a 3D shadow.

  1. Create a new layer on top of the basketball and grooves. Call it 3D shadow.
  2. Select just the basketball area. You can go to the basketball layer, select the basketball, and then go back to your new layer.
  3. Set up the following gradient.
    1. Foreground color: Light Gray
      Background color: Dark Gray
    2. Gradient colors: foreground to background.
    3. Gradient style: Radial
  4. Paint the gradient this way in your circle.
    1. Click a little bit above and to the left of the middle of the basketball. The highlight of the shadow will be here.
    2. Drag down and to the right to the edge of the circle.
  5. Adjust the 3D shadow layer to blend with the basketball.
    1. Layer Mode: Hard Light.
    2. Adjust the Layer Opacity as needed.

After setting up the special gradient, paint this gradient in your shadow layer.


Switch the mode of the shadow layer to Hard Light.

The 3D shadow should give your ball some depth.

Drop a shadow behind the basketball.

  1. Go back to the basketball layer.
  2. Layer--Effects--Drop shadow
  3. Adjust the shadow direction and distance as needed.

Drop a shadow for more depth.


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