Can Rhino simulate where I have to put my drawings?


I’m wondering if Rhino can help me define where and how I need to print on specific areas.

I’ll try to put some context so you better understand what I’m asking for:

When the 3D model is done, I engrave it on a solid plate and then I place a fine plastic film on it and with heat, the film takes the form of the model on the plate. After that, I put coloured drawings on the film. Finally, I fill the film with chocolate and the drawing sticks on the chocolate. I make the drawings on Illustrator.

The problem is that I have to foresee manually (by printing and adjusting several times) the “bulge” from my model.

Here for example, the white colour of the ball can’t overflow on the blue jersey and this is really tricky:

So, is there any way to simulate the 3D bulge so I can easily adapt my drawing?

Directly in Rhino? Or do you know another program that could do that?

I hope my question is approx. clear…

Thx for helping, if there’s a solution, I would gain a looooooot of time.

Thank you already,


Hi T- I am not sure that I follow but … do you need a somehow flattened version of the 3d model? Can you post an example file?


Hi Pascal, thx for the reply.
Well, what I print is flattened, not the 3D model itself.
The plastic sheet I print on is very thin, not really thicker than a sheet op paper.
See pic below, this is a 3D model thermoformed into a plastic sheet. I printed millimeters landmarks to help me define where I have to put my drawing.

As you can see, the squares got bigger as the bulge got bigger too (yeah, quite obvious…)
For this example, i need to print the egg (3D model = a rabbit in an egg ^^) without overtaking on the rabbit.
So can Rhino simulates this cavity so I don’t have to make multiple tests (with mm. paper and so on) when I want to print something on a 3D model?

That’s how the film looks like when I print something, everything is flat (I use Illustrator):

Or would another program do the job?

Thx already.


I’m struggling to understand your workflow. Do you mean you draw/paint onto the film after it has been moulded? Or do you create a drawing on some flexible medium and stick it to the film? Or something else?

As far as I understood, you want to create a 2D print and thermoform the print into 3D. Therefore you need a reverse transformation and this can be approximated with Kangaroo. According to your photo above, the plastic sheet is pulled into a negative cavity and the points which are on the flat plane do not move. Hence I fixed all points which lie on the XY plane. They don’t move in the Kangaroo simulation. All other points are free and are pulled into your 3D shape.

You will have to model your print on the 3D model. Mesh Cage Morph can be used to transform the control points of the print outlines from a 3D mesh to a 2D flat mesh.

You’ll need the fattener.gha addition which you can download here. (146.6 KB)