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If you are anything like me, you probably enjoyed dissecting interesting objects as a kid. When I was 11, much to my parents’ chagrin, I learned just by experience just how many machines in my home could be easily taken apart with a Phillips head screwdriver. I remember having my tool privileges suspended after taking the knob off our back door, leaving it unusable.

That’s why cross-sectional art and models were such a good outlet for me. With the self-control of a chimp, I could safely peruse the inner workings of things like nuclear reactors without putting my entire state in imminent danger. Any trip to the library was incomplete without a copy of one of Stephen Biesty’s cross-section books, a fixture of my childhood reading list.

This week, in the Biesty spirit, we’ve added a fun sphere cross-section template to our free template library to satisfy you’re childhood need to tinker.

Being abstract, these sphere cutaways work great for metaphorical models. For instance, above we have one philosopher’s model of personality. At the core, we have a person’s worldview, the way they perceive and internalize their life’s experience. This influences their values, what they find important in life. This in turn influences their socio-cultural views: how do they reconcile or contrast their own experience with that of others. Finally, this all manifests on the surface in the person’s actual observable behavior.

Many metaphors rely on factors that bubble under the surface, pushing their influence outward. Others take a Venn diagram form, the shell encompassing everything within its boundaries. But you can use them for just about anything you need. The sky is the limit, metaphorically speaking.


With a little artistry, you could also make something more literal. The sciences abound with planetary cross-sections, and now with a few clicks, you can transfigure this template into a model of any planet you can think of. Just click each concentric shape to change it’s color. You can also resize and reshape each ring to ensure that sizes are to scale. As for the continents in the above example, simple select Scribble in the Drawing panel and sketch out some shapes.


Then color them in with Shape Fill and Shape Outline, and you’ve got yourself a rudimentary Earth.

shape fill

You can also diagram the small stuff.  Lots of sporting equipment, golf balls included, are comprised of several concentric layers. Though the innards of a golf ball vary wildly from brand to brand, one common composition is shown below. A rigid rubber core is wrapped in a rubbery twine and then encased in a dimpled plastic outer shell.


To sketch some rudimentary dimples for your golf ball, simply select the Ellipse tool in the Drawing panel, dot the surface of the sphere, and there you’ve got yourself a hole-in-one!


What would you do with one of our cross-section PowerPoint graphic templates? Share your ideas in the comments!

Sign up for a free account and start downloading this template for free.


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