Looking for ideas - creating 3D wood

I predominately work in the tabletop game space making sailing ships for gamers to play pirates in miniature. These used to be all hand sculpted, and more recently have been produced by sculpting them in Rhino and 3D printing them.

I’ve been looking for a way to sculpt wood grain texture into the surface of my models… It would obviously be somewhat exaggerated from real life as it would have to be large enough to print and take paint…

I’ve discussed with fellow digital sculptors that they can can use a jpg of black and white wood grain as a mask in Zbrush and paint 3D texture on to a sculpt by using a push or pull tool where the masking is unaffected but obviously that is in Zbrush.

I’ve also seen some nice tutorials on applying procedural basic geometric textures …

Any thoughts on how to apply a 3D (not graphical, but geometric) organic texture to a rhino model?

If the end result is 3D printing, you might consider working with the mesh to create the detail as opposed to doing it with the nurbs surfaces.

Meshes favor organic detail, particularly high frequency detail as found in nature. Nurbs tend to soften that detail. If your intent is to exaggerate the texture, I think you would better off using the mesh.

The reason why modeling for 3D printing would be different than for molding is that much of the CADCAM software for milling does not handle meshes, or if it does, it complicates the process to the point that some services refuse meshes even if their system can work with them.

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You might want to consider Rhino Displacement: https://docs.mcneel.com/rhino/5/help/en-us/commands/applydisplacement.htm



Any thought on how to lay out texture on this mesh if i were to convert the models?

I believe as Jonish suggested you can use Displacement Mapping.

I have done this in other applications; however, not Rhino, so there might be a better method. If you needed more “depth” than a wood grain you might need to move to a different application that supports 16-bit displacement. Since your grain will be relatively shallow, even with some exaggeration, 8-bit will likely be fine.

After Displacement Mapping, save the render mesh (Extract Render Mesh)

* Render meshes are created on NURBS surfaces and polysurfaces for visualization purposes when using Shaded or Rendered Viewports. They are not directly user accessible or editable, they stay “attached” to the NURBS object they were created from. They can be deleted by using the ClearAllMeshes command, and regenerated by using the RefreshShade command or by changing the settings (at File > Properties > Mesh) (which forces a global regeneration of all render meshes). As of V4, you can also transform the render mesh into a real editable mesh object using the command ExtractRenderMesh .

You don’t even need to get that deep with render meshes, simply converting the geometry into mesh via _Mesh command bakes the displacement (or any other render tools like _ApplyEdgeSoftening) into the model that can be 3d printed afterwards…


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how would that be handled it i export the model to stl (a mesh format)

If you convert your model to mesh via _Mesh command, you get what you see, there should be no problem.

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