How to make a grid-to-sphere animation like this?
I think the one who made that reference GIF (in another software) used two Simple Deform modifiers:
Add an UV Sphere, you can use any segments and rings counts (memorize segments). Then rotate it -90d in Y and translate it +1.0 in Z. Adjust the spheres origin to [0,0,0] with Shift+S > To Center and Object > Transform > Origin To 3D Cursor. Important is to not change the scale and have the sphere with radius of 1.0:
In edit-mode delete almost all of the vertices but leave the most bottom "meridian". Extrude the mesh in Y direction to a distance of 3.142 with E + Y + 3.142. Subtract 2 from your segment count and divide by 2, add that many loopcuts ((32 - 2) / 2 = 15 for me):
Create a shapekey. Switch to 3D Cursor Pivot point and scale the mesh down to 0 in local X axis (hold down Ctrl). Animate this shapekey from value 1.0 to 0.0:
Add a Simple Deform Bend modifier. Add an Empty as Origin to control the direction of bending. Rotate the empty 90d in X, -90d in Z.
Animate the modifier's angle from 0d to 180d. Duplicate the mesh and scale it -1.0 in Y. Tadaa!
Edit: Oh and the Bend modifier can be animated to 360d, so you can extrude the mesh in 3rd step both ways and have the whole thing in 1 piece, no need to duplicate and flip..