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Sunday, 28 August 2011

Tutorial: How to model a pillow in Rhino

Flying Architecture is fast becoming an excellent resource center. Click the images to view the tutorial.

part1 part2
(Thanks to Toby Humphrey for making some corrections in my grammar and making this tutorial readable)
It’s me again, Matus. Several people have asked me how to model a pillow in Rhinoceros, which I have been using in some of my scenes. Instead of just sharing this model I am going to show you how to do it! Here is the final product:

This tutorial is going to be very quick, the whole modelling process took me approximately 10 minutes. This model was done in Rhinoceros 5 WIP, so you can see me using Gumball tool, which is not included in Rhinoceros 4. (but you can download it for Rhinoceros 4 as a plugin from official McNeel website, or use the one from T-Splines toolbar, if you have it.)
Okay, let’s begin: First of all, we need to make a square, 400×400mm and explode it:

Press Ctrl+A to select all of these 4 lines, type the Rebuild command and press Enter. Set the ‘Point count’ from 2 to 10 and the ‘degree’ from 1 to 3 (the degree number 3 will make curves from our simple lines). You can always click the image below to see a full resolution screenshot.

Select all the curves and press the F10 button to show the control points. Select the ‘top view’ and drag the corner points a little bit inside the square, creating filleted corners.

Now drag all the other control points in and out of the square, so they will be placed randomly. This forms basic frame for upholstery surfaces.

Duplicate these curves and move them up vertically by 75 mm.

Hide the original curves, so you can see only the duplicated ones. Again show the control points (from the menu, toolbar, or by pressing F10.

Now the INSERT KNOT command: It is not necessary to rebuild the entire curve with 20 or 50 control points to make it super-detailed. All you need is to insert some knots close to the places where you need your curves to be more detailed.

And this is it. Make some deviations on these curves. Remember we are still in the 2D ‘top view’!

Now for some more fun. Switch to the ‘perspective view’ and make some new deviations in the UP/DOWN direction where required.

Do the same with original curves, which have been hidden until now.

The corner control points on the lower curves must move up and the corner control points on the upper curves must move down!

Create a line (length 150mm) and move it vertically up by 50 mm.

Rebuild the curve, just as in the picture (click on the small picture to see a full resolution version).

Drag the control points up and down to make them look more random.

Make 4 new lines connecting the corners of curved squares with endpoints of the new curve:

Explode these lines (just in case you drew polylines) and rebuild them:

Select these lines again, show the control points and adjust their position, again in the up/down direction.

This is now how it should appear in Rhino:

Okay, now for some more new curves…Use the ‘polyline’ tool to connect the middle points of the last four curves.

The explode & rebuild:

Show the control points again and adjust their position:

Now for the surfaces:
Okay, now that we are done with the boring stuff let’s work on the actual 3D surfaces. Keep in mind one important rule: DO NOT JOIN SURFACES! Okay, select the curves as you see in the picture and then select the ‘curve network’ option from the ‘surfaces’ menu.

Click ‘okay’ in pop up window and you have your first surface complete. Nice, isn’t it?

Repeat the same for the rest of these curves, resulting in the upper part of the pillow:

Select all the surfaces in the model and uncheck the box called ‘show surface isocurves’ leaving you with clean organic surfaces with no additional isocurves.

Select the border curves for lower part of the pillow and create a surface as we did previously.

Create layers and organise the scene items into them.

So this is where we are now:

Hide all the surfaces, so that only the curves are visible. Make some additional curves, as shown in the picture:

Once again rebuild them:

Adjust their position (using the control points).

Create some interesting geometry:

And that’s it for the curve adjustments.

Create a new surface in the same way as before, by selecting the ‘curve network’ option from the ‘surfaces’ menu.

Do the same with the other curves.

So now we’ve got it! The surfaces are finished. Categorise them into layers.

Show all the surfaces and hide all the curves. Now we have an almost completed pillow.

Great, now for the final part: The piping.
Select the border curves, join them and use command ‘pipe’ to create a pipe running along their length using a radius of 1.5mm.

On the other curves, use ‘no cap’ option, so you have only surfaces (not polysurfaces). Use radius of 1.2mm.

Finally, we have completed all the modelling!


This is the pillow I have from the last step. I have switched from Rhinoceros 5 (now in WIP version) to Rhinoceros 4, where I have my V-ray engine installed. There was no problem in saving it in R4 format and I haven’t seen any mesh or geometry problems, so switching between these two Rhinoceros versions (R4 and R5) appears flawless.

In this picture you can see my settings for fabric material – it has got Diffuse and Bump maps, and of course – reflection layer with very low values. Set Reflection Glossiness to 0.4 and Highlight Glossiness to 0.2. Top up subdivs from 8 to 22. Rendertime is going to be longer by topping up last value, but you will get much better effect than with value of 8. Bump Map multiplier is set to 3, to get “higher” and more realistic effect.

Now pick your favorite fabric texture and apply it to your model. I chose this one not because it is my favorite, but because this will show me very well how the model is texture mapped. It looks creepy, probably, but do not hesitate!

Click Texture Mapping option in Rhino, select Custom Mapping and check values under UVW repeat. All of them are set to 1. Check also UVW rotation, where all values are set to 0 by default.

Adjust W rotation for every single surface until you are satisfied with the result. Usually values like 90 and -90 degrees are the best values for this. I am satisfied with values of 1 in UVW Repeat, so I am not going to change them in this step.

In here I’ve made special material for “pipes” – for parts where I used Pipe command. Check it out here: It has only a diffuse color and strong bump map (multiplier 4).

And that’s all for mapping textures. After next few steps I will get back to mapping options, but now I am going to set up the scene. The scene is very very simple. Have a look:

Let’s make some ground. Add V-ray Infinite Plane and make the square floor, like you can see in the image.

Here I have changed the materials of the pillows to make them look less uniform. Change the textures and check the surfaces and their mapping – in this step I have changed Repeat values to fix textures deforming on their surfaces. These values really depend on what size and ratio of your texture is, so please try to tweak it on your own.

In the scene is only one light – V-ray sun. Set the multiplier to 0.5 and adjust its position in the scene.

In this screenshot  you can see my complete V-ray Render Options: As you can see, my Irradiance Map is very low, Min and Max rate: both at -3 (only 1 prepass!) and only 20 samples. This will make my render very quick. I always use Physical camera, no matter what. In Environment section set your Sun light (usually Light 01) into GI and Background. Switch from Adaptive Subdivision to Adaptive DMC and turn your Antialiasing ON. Don’t forget to check Sub-pixel box under Color Mapping.

Render the scene. Rendering took maybe only 1 and a half minute at 800×954 pixels thanks to low Irradiance map. Safe the frame as HDR for better postproduction!

Open up Photoshop. Click IMAGE>MODE>16bit. Now turn your Gamma Value to 2.2 and move Exposure slider as you want. Now you are in 16 bit mode and you can use all the Photoshop adjusting effects. (You can use only some of them in 32-bit mode). As you can see, I’ve used Vibrance, Curves, Levels and Color balance effects. How the scene looks like depends on your monitor settings, so use the sliders until your image is really nice :)
I’ve also created some Vignetting effect. If you are using this step as I do, use dark blue color (sth like #041b36) for vignette layer.

You can also see Z-depth layer in my picture. This layer I have drawn myself. You can choose to generate it straight in V-ray channels option, but I decided to make my own. By generating a V-ray Z-depth channel you get physically correct blur in Photoshop, but what I wanted to do was to have an absolutely sharp first pillow, a slightly blurred second pillow and a heavily blurred last pillow, so I drew it using black, grey and white. Then I’ve used a very strong Gaussian blur value for this layer. After this, duplicate the layer with the pillows, go to CHANNELS, create new layer and paste previously drawn B&W layer. Now go to FILTER>BLUR>LENS BLUR. Now you can easily adjust Lens length and amount of blur using the B&W layer you have drawn! When you are satisfied, click OK an save your image :)

Now if you want to save your image, you can’t save it as JPG file. It’s because you are still in 16-bit mode. Go to IMAGE>MODE>8bit. Now you can save your image as JPG file.
And here is the final render with Adjustments in Photoshop. What do you think? Do you like it?
If you like my effort and this tutorial, or models helped you at least a little bit, please consider donation via PayPal :) If you want to support me, just click the PayPal banner in the right sidebar. Thanks a lot!

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