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In the "Realistic Earth" Blender Guru video by @andrewprice there is a handy submenu in Texture called "Mapping". It has "Sphere Projection" which allows an image to map to a UV sphere "automatically" without UV unwrapping. I'd like to try but don't see it in my Texture menu. 2.74, tried both Cycles and Blender render setting.

  1. what can I do to get that "magic button"?
  2. is there a better way (without UV unwrapping)? - although it's a classic, the video is almost 4 years old.

I'll treat UV unwrapping separately.

IMAGES:

Left: from YouTube (How to Create a Realistic Earth in Blender, Blender Guru),

Right: my screenshot

YouTube screen shot Blender Guru EarthMy screenshot

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    $\begingroup$ May it be that the left one is Blender Internal and the right one is cycles? In Cycles, the texture in the texture tab isn't necessarily related to the material you are editing. Set up nodes to get mapping in Cycles. $\endgroup$
    – bortran
    Dec 29, 2015 at 10:30
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe try that video: youtube.com/watch?v=NeWTTINkUG0 Havent watched, don't know if it's good or easy to follow. Other than that google for "cycles material nodes" $\endgroup$
    – bortran
    Dec 29, 2015 at 10:36
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    $\begingroup$ Bingo! That is exactly what I needed! Sometimes I am frightened by how useful nodes are. Thanks @bortran!! I found it easy to follow. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Dec 29, 2015 at 11:21

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Following the advice of @bortran I started watching Blender 2.7 Tutorial #12 : Image Textures & Bump Maps #b3d and within minutes I made the earth.

Generated coordinates and just select Sphere in the Image Texture.

earth nodes earth rendered 2

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm going to accept this answer so people know there is an answer. If you have another or a better answer, please leave it and if it helps I can accept it instead. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jan 11, 2016 at 16:08

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