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Billboard texture help needed!!!

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Hey all, I am new to but I was told there is a great community here and that someone here would probably be able to help me. At the moment I'm developing a real-time fluid-simulator for my masters and I need a specific 2-d texure for the rendering aspect of my application (I'm rendering the fluid using screen space meshes for more info see this paper My implementation of the screen space mesh algorithm differs from the one presented in the paper as I am using the GPU to generate a High Definition depth map from which the mesh will be constructed using the marching squares algorithm (yes I am hoping this will be incredibly fast). For this purpose i need a 2-d texture that will effectively represent a meta-ball. The texture needs to be a single channel floating point .png spherical texture. The texture's single channel will have a value of 1 at the centre of the sphere and the values of the pixels will decline from one out to zero at the edge of the sphere following the curvature of a 3-d demi-sphere (simple trigonmetry can be used to calculate this). The Texture's use is to convert the depth information of a 3-d sphere onto a 2-d texture that will be rendered onto 1000s of billboards. I am aware that there are software applications for creating depth maps that would do this perfectly when correctly configured and given a 3-d sphere mesh but I don't have the licenses for these software packages (I am a student). So if anyone wants to create this texture for me I will gladly include them as a reference in my paper (something for your C.V. at least). Bar that, if anyone could point me in the direction of a free depth map creator software I'd really appreciate it. For all I know this could be a very noobish request but as I am a programmer not an artist I don't much about creating textures just using them and I'm running out of time so I don't think I can afford to go off and learn all this stuff on my own. Thanks for your time, Eoin O'Grady

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