>Free Download: Beautiful Earth Animation Project

>Here’s a fully animatable Earth project complete with water reflections and moving clouds. If you move the Sun to the back of the planet, you’ll even see the night lights of the major cities!

Requires Adobe After Effects 7.0 Professional or later. If you don’t have the “CC Sphere” effect installed, you need to upgrade your After Effects to a later version. I recommend the latest version, it’s not the middle ages anymore!  :)

Download the project file first and then download NASA’s free textures:
Night texture (land_ocean_ice_lights_2048.tif)
Day texture (land_ocean_ice_2048.tif)
Cloud texture (cloud_combined_2048.tif)

Post a comment if you have any questions or just to let me know what you’ve used it for (I’m curious.)

Update: I’ve relinked the NASA textures since they had been changed.
- Jonas

44 Responses to >Free Download: Beautiful Earth Animation Project

  1. Anonymous

    >This is very cool, Jonas! Thanks for posting. Nice use of expressions, too. I like how you’ve got the lights linked to show night or day.

    - Nathan Shipley, Indianapolis

  2. Jonas Hummelstrand

    >It demonstrates how useful it would be to have basic 3D primitives inside After Effects, just like in Fusion and Nuke.

    One problem with the “CC Sphere” plugin is that it is 8-bit only, something that can easily be fixed by getting the Cycore FX HD package, but unfortunately that still doesn’t get you a sphere that uses AE’s cameras and lights.

  3. Allan W.

    >Super useful. Thanks!

    My only critique is that the ‘dark side’ clouds look a little bright. I may play with the luma map for those. We also need a starfield map for the background… might play with that one.

  4. Jonas Hummelstrand

    >Feel free to improve on the project, I’ll gladly post new versions!
    As for the starfield, if you come up with a good way to link the CC Sphere controls with expressions to simulate a “real” camera move, let me know!

  5. Anonymous

    is it also possible to do this also with
    AE 6.5 Pro ?

    The project can´t be opened. Or can it be converted ?

    Greetings to all contributors

  6. Jonas Hummelstrand

    >Yes, but unfortunately I’ve built the project in 7.0. The same thing could be built in 6.5 Pro, as well.

    If you’re on Windows, I have a shrink-wrapped AE Pro 7.0 box in my bookshelf, that I’ll gladly sell you!
    Give me an offer via email:
    jonas at hummelstrand dot com

  7. Anonymous

    Is CC Sphere a buildin plugin for AE7?
    Or I can get it in differ place?

  8. Jonas Hummelstrand

    >The 8-bit versions of the CC filters are included in After Effects 6.5 Pro and 7.0 Pro, but they are not installed automatically, you have to launch a separate installer, just as with Keylight.

    I can recommend the Cycore FX HD pack which are 16-bit versions of the same pack, plus a couple of extra plugins.

  9. Allan W.

    >Hey, I just used this as an open for a conference I designed mogfx for – it was great and got a lot of airtime. A few notes:

    - I set up a 3d scene with a starfield (from NASA) in the background plane.
    - I created a matte with a lens flare on it, to be the sun. Actually, two…
    - … one behind the earth (you see the night side). When it crosses the disc of the earth, the second appears
    - A camera zooms in slowly as on a dolly. Slows motion, then logo!

    The theme of the spot was “go [unto all the earth]” – this was for a ministry conference. Worked great, thanks for your help! I’ll post a clip sometime when I’m done traveling.

  10. Anonymous

    >Is there any other place where I can find the image maps for this project?.
    It seems that the links you provided are down.

  11. Jonas Hummelstrand

    >I’ve just relinked the textures, NASA had stopped direct access to them…

  12. Anonymous

    >NASA links are down again.

  13. Jonas Hummelstrand

    >The textures reside on NASA’s servers, over which I have no control, even though it may seem like I would, considering I make the Earth spin… :-)

    It’s “the tubes” that’s causing the problem, you’ll just have to wait for NASA to fix their stuff…

    PS. I just tried the links and they work, even on the nine year old Linux laptop I’m writing this on.

  14. Anonymous

    >Jonas, thank u for share this great project.
    sorry for my basic knowledge about expresions, but i couldnt find the way to change the layers from nasa for another textures ive downloaded from the server.
    Ive seen the flowchart but i couldn manage the way to edit it.
    thank u again.

  15. Jonas Hummelstrand

    >If you want to replace the textures, just replace the footage in the Project window. Right-click each texture in the Project window and choose “Replace.”

  16. Anonymous


  17. Anonymous


    Hey you are fantastic man,
    but where is the tutorial,
    can you mail me the tutorial in pdf or word format, I like to try it, if you can mail me at…


    I will be waiting for your reply

  18. Jonas Hummelstrand

    >Dear “anonymous,”

    Download the After Effects project and the NASA images and place them in the same folder. Just open the project and start using it, that’s all there is to it…

  19. me - larry

    >Hello Jonas

    I know your instructions are as easy to understand as it is to read. Im having a lot of trouble opening this though. I have downloaded your images, and updated it in aftereffects.

    However, its not working! it reads “missing – ccsphere. Also a warnging comes and it reads the following:

    This project contains 14 references to missing effects. Please install the following effects to restore these references. (“CC Sphere”)

    Can you help me please.

  20. Jonas Hummelstrand


    On the install disc, there’s several installers with additional plugins, such as Keylight, Color Finesse and the great Cycore FX plugins. Install those and you’ll be alright!

  21. Anonymous

    >This is fantastic! I’m making a video at the moment for a charity in the UK for Refugee week and we want to give the video a global feel. I wondered if it would be possible to use your project? Are there copyright restrictions on this piece of work? Many thanks, Pete Barden.

  22. Jonas Hummelstrand


    Feel free to use the project files. For the textures, please look at NASA’s Terms of Use at:

  23. Anonymous


    Thank you so much. That is extraordinarily kind of you. I’m unsure as yet if we’re going to be able to include any credits but if we do then we’ll definitely credit you.

    Many thanks,


  24. Jonas Hummelstrand


    Please post a link to the finished animation if you put it online somewhere!

  25. Anonymous

    >Just wondering… Mine shows a green x in front of the globe…. do you know what that is and how to get rid of it?? Thanks (nb, excellent work – I’m still trying to work out exactly how you created it though so I can try to create it on my own)

  26. Jonas Hummelstrand

    >Sounds like you are using one or several unregistered plugins. The project doesn’t use any non-standard plugins, so unless you have installed any demo plugins (probably Cycore FX HD since they show up in this project) just isolate which plugin is rendering the X by turning off effects for each layer (you will have to turn off the “Shy” button for the composition so you can see each layer.) Uninstalling the demo plugins should make everything render OK.

  27. Anonymous


    Latecomer that I am, I was wondering if you could say a few words for the newbies. How do we add the TIFF files to the project so that it is ready to render as is?


  28. Jonas Hummelstrand

    >Download the TIFF files and place them in the same folder as the AEP file. Then open the project and After Effects should find the files.

  29. Anonymous

    >for http://www.earth-ward.com we need a photo realistic rotation earth, in the future earth-ward inform about renewable energy and sell air water purifiers

    contact talmond.delot@gmail.com

  30. Anonymous

    >Maybe im asking a strange question right now but, where do i download the CC Sphere effect? I can’t find it ANYWHERE on the net… Please help me out. Thanks!

  31. Jonas Hummelstrand

    >The “CC Sphere” effect is included with After Effects 7.0 Professional and later versions.

    If you have an educational version of After Effects you may need to buy the Cycore FX plugin pack from http://cycorefx.com/

  32. Anonymous

    >This is very helpful. Thanks so much for posting it.

  33. Nils Fridén

    >I belive I’m about to use your great globe setup for the tenth time. Thank you!

  34. STefan

    >Hey… just found your animation. Can someone describe to me in some steps, how i get the texture on the planet in AE?
    PLEASE.. THX from AUstria

  35. Phil Guzzo

    >Would love to see a tutorial on the use of expressions on this. I’ve been using After Effects and have been a compositor for a long time but I am a complete newbie to expressions.

  36. Jonas Hummelstrand

    >Good idea, I’ll see what I can do.

  37. Steven

    >Hi, is there a way of creating a sphere that works with AE cameras? Thanks

  38. Jonas Hummelstrand

    >You could create an expression link between the AE camera and the CC Sphere effect, but you’d probably need an expression guru like Dan Ebberts to write it. You could ask him in the User-to-User AE forum at http://adobeforums.com/

  39. drtc

    >Great project! Thanks for sharing.
    Is there a place where higher resolution maps like the one used could be found?
    I'm trying this on a HD comp where closer zoom is needed.
    Thanks in advance,

  40. Adam

    >Beautiful work – thank you! A quick question in CS4 if you have a sec. I would like to make the animation longer than 30 seconds, but when I extend the media inside a new, longer composition, the image disappears after 30 seconds. I'm totally at a loss… Any ideas?

  41. Jonas Hummelstrand


    It's because I've hidden a bunch of layers. Use the "Un-shy" button top-right in the Composition window to see all layers. Then extend the length of the comp and drag the duration of all layers to fill the comp length.

  42. Andy

    I’m making an earth animation, on after effects, but i dont know how to get the camera angle in the position i want. That means from the side of the earth… :( PLz answer

  43. sureshkumar s

    sir i want to know what are the requirments of this project to execute it .. and explain step by step process.. because i am new to animation related…

    • Jonas Hummelstrand


      The requirements are there in the original post; you need “Adobe After Effects 7.0 Professional” or later. If you are not familiar with After Effects, you should learn the basics first. http://lynda.com/ has great training for only $25/month.