Embossing / Debossing a surface with thickness?

I’d like to know if there’s a way to emboss / deboss a surface with thickness, such as sheet metal, to be able to do something like this? (Emboss/Deboss don’t show any search results in Help.)


Hi -

Perhaps searching for “displacement” gets you going?

Hi wim-

Thanks for the quick response!

Actually, I’m hoping for something more accurate (and possibly procedurally) that can be adjusted within Rhino - for example, if I’m trying to use a few objects as the areas that would be debossed onto a surface. Imagine in this case I need eight square-ish areas “pushed” into the surface. The size of the surface might change… as well as the size and spacing of the eight squares. I wouldn’t want to have to build a new image map for each adjustment.


Hi Andrew -

When you need to be able to change a design by changing a few parameters, you will have to take a look at Grasshopper or perhaps create a script using one of the scripting languages that are supported in Rhino.

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just to get it out there, did you try the boss command? just place the curves above or below the surface. it is not procedural though, adjustments would have to be reinitiated, so grasshopper might be really your best guess if you dont want to use displacement. @wim i wonder why history is not enabled with this command?


Yes - may be the thing to do it… plus Grasshopper.

What I’m trying to figure out is how to get the transition from the main surface to the embossed surfaces to be modeled plausibly since I’m going to need to use other geometry with it.

Being able to do something with a good transition between surfaces may be a good solution, just not sure how to do that. I’ll look for a way to patch or loft between them & then smooth out the edges.


i think displacement is not such a bad start when you want all that, you can manually fillet with blendedge filletedge filletsurface and what not of course after bossing it, but even a grasshopper definition would have to account for clean fillets which might not always be possible in an automagic way, i assume.

I’ve had a bit more luck by detaching the bottom square, in this case, connecting the parallel edges, then joining the inset part, then joining to the housing & applying a very small fillet.

Not sure what the fastest or most accurate way of doing this would be, but it’s a step in the right direction.


Another good real-world example


I’m assuming that’s a feature request? On the list as RH-65071 and this thread added as a comment.
Not that it would do much good in this case. As you say, you’d have to merge all coplanar surfaces to get rid of the triangles that are produced when you use that tool with a draft and then fillet the edges. History won’t survive all that editing.

if then not an urgent one, but it could be handy for such tasks

i am a bit confused… might be the injection i got yesterday i indeed feel a bit groggy… not sure where i said that…

I have asked for this too - Rib and Boss both should really have that; to satisfy some of those sort of solid-modelling type tasks. In fact, it was my comment that generated the youtrack loooking back.

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Would SubD be of help with such a thing? The curvatures in SubD often seem very smooth and fluid after push/pulls like this. I’ll give it a go this weekend and see what I can figure out as this is a design feature I could use in jewelry too.

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I’ve since been experimenting with Blend Surface and getting decent results.
Now, I’m a new user, so I may be doing some things incorrectly, or, ah… “convolutedly”… :slight_smile:

But basically it involves cutting a hole in a plane (splitting with a rectangle), moving the rectangle perpendicularly to the surface a small distance, and Blend Surfacing between the two using “Position” for both sets of edges. (I experimented with Tangency, etc. but didn’t get good results).

Then I join everything.

Then I used Solid Tools > Fillet Edges.

So, this works OK - seems to get good and fairly clean results. There may be a faster way with fewer steps, but I’m still learning the different commands that would get us there.

Coming from the Maya/Alias universe, my approach would be to look at the bitmap that’s used for the displacement: adding a (gaussian) blur to a b/w vector art would result in a soft transition between the base and the boss/rib… haven’t tried that in Rhino yet as my models usually call for very precise geometries so engineering can take over after the design is finalized but that would be my starting point…

Hi user1796… if that’s your real name :wink:

I’m modeling the geometry, so no displacement map.

I see … I suppose blend surfaces are the way to go then. What I sometimes do is this: I offset the whole closed poly-surface model (or component) in both directions by a few distance settings that make sense (like 0.5 and 0.8mm for a hand-held object) and put those on different layers. I do this before the model gets too detailed and complex. When I need a raised (or embossed) area, I activate the respective layer, project the shape of the raised area onto it - as well as a bigger contour onto the base object, trim the raised or lowered area back to the required shape (as well as a bigger hole in the base geometry) and then create a blend surface to connect the two… the result is usually pretty similar to what was shown on your images.

… basically, the same process you are describing…