Getting Started with Pretty Pictures

Because everything I do is for modeling, I have generally only been concerned about shape. In the product I used to use, I did some pretty pictures but did not focus on it. It allowed me to set the color/texture for individual surfaces. But my understanding is that this is not the way things work in Rhino.

If I have something like this as a starting point—

—how do I go about making a pretty picture out of it? It is a giant closed surface (solid). If you had a 3d printer capable of high quality output and a 100" table, you could print one out.

I know this is a big topic but I am wondering from a high level on how to get started.

Here’s a simple one: What is the method for having different colors in different places?
Another: is is possible to do lettering?

you want to apply a texture and produce a rendered flat image?
meaning an artistic output with maybe an atmosphere?

or what is it for?

I’d like different areas to have different colors.

It’s purely for fun.

try the command MaterialEditor.
mess around with that some.

oh… everything is joined. that might be a probem. it might be better if the models individual pieces were made as their own volume. for example, a light bulb shouldn’t share the same surface as the lamp…

that said, some modelers/renderers allow split/joined polysurfaces to accept multiple materials.

If it’s just for rendering and not printing in color, selecting individual surfaces and just splitting it up would allow material editor to put colors/materials on it. If that is splittable…

One way to do lettering on a curved surface:

  • Select the surface and Squish
  • Create a Text Object as curves and place it on the squished surface.
  • Squishback will place the text on the curved surface
  • Use the text curves to split the surface and leave you with a text shaped hole in it, while the text surfaces that you split off can be given a different material/color or display color and/or print color.
  • Delete the squished surface.
  • Note that the projected text curves are grouped with the flat original, so deleting those will also delete the curves on the surface. That’s good when you have done the surface splitting already, but bad when you leave that for later. In that case, you will have to Ungroup first.
  • With double curvature surfaces, the projected text curves will not always be exactly on the surface. Use Pull to project them onto the surface.


Over the weekend I tried my hand at colors for the first time. I took the larger solid object and exploded it into surfaces. Then I assigned materials to the surfaces. The problem here is that one the surfaces were exploded they create gaps. Note the gap exploding created between the white and black surfaces.

Is there any way to fix that?

Hi JIm - setting the render mesh settings finer would reduce, but not completely eliminate, the gaps. The real way out is to mesh the objects as joined objects, hide the originals, Explode the mesh (which should be gap-less) and the selectively reJoin the bits according to material, and assign materils. Note mesh objects so not need to touch to be joined, and reducing the number of obects by joining meshes where possible is a good thing as far as overhead goes.


Man, that’s a lot of work.

Is there any way to split a mesh along a curve?

I would like to assign different materials to parts of surfaces, so I need to split them.