Organic Surface Modeling in One Surface

Hi folks,
I don’t know if this is the right forum or not. If I’m in the wrong place, please redirect me. I’m running Rhino 5 (64 Bit). I’m interested in learning how to develop complex surface forms out of a single surface. I’ve seen it done before and have done some control point editing on a limited basis, but I’m not very good at it. I’d like to learn how to do it well. I’m looking to do something like what is pictured in the link below. Typically I’d try to build this up in sections and inevitably run into continuity and tangency issues.

The front surface of the chair looks like a single control point edited surface. The ottoman looks like it may have been developed from a primitive like a sphere. Another source has mentioned SubD surfacing and T-spline models. I saw that Autodesk is no longer offering the T-splines plugin and I don’t think SubD is available in Rhino 5.

If someone could point me in the right direction here I’d really appreciate it.


Michael D.

Tom Dixon Chair

Tom Dixon Chair

Hi Michael - for these shapes as a single ‘surface’ Nurbs will never do - you’ll need some form of SubD I would say. But even there if eventually your objects need to be nurbsified for some reason, they result will not be a single surface.

SubD modeling is available in the Rhino V7/WIP… other than that, you’ll need to venture into one of the several SubD modelers out in the world - Modo and such.


Hi Pascal,

I was just wondering to myself if you were still out there somewhere. Good to see you are! Thanks for the response. Would you say that Modo is best of breed for the Rhino compatible SubD modelers?


Hi Michael - I don’t have an opinion on SubD modelers - I plead incompetence. But @BrianJ has a better handle on them. However, as far as Rhino-compatibilty goes, the output from all subd modelers is meshes - at least when it comes to getting geometry into V5. - it will have to get there via a mesh format.
In short, V7/WIP is your huckleberry if you need surfaces at some point from all of this, I think.


modelling surfaces from one continuous surfaces takes a bit rethinking and maybe even more planning than modelling it from several surface patches. it is not entirely impossible with some handwork, juggling some controllpoints to and fro, but in the end you have to deal with one seam, which might get in the way when trying to use that surface further. also the benefits are pretty sparse other than achieving good surface continuation.

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Thanks for responding. Good Perspective. Still thinking about it. The SubD function coming in V7 looks pretty compelling…

fwiw, that chair model you showed was absolutely modeled with subd-

Hi Kyle,
Thanks for the insight on that. I’m going to have to talk to management about an upgrade.



In case that you want to use traditional NURBS modeling for this, it’s pretty simple to build the desired shape with just a few commands.

  • The white curve in the attached file you will see below was used to create the basic backrest shape of the chair.

  • Then, I extruded it sideways and applied “Rebuild surface UV” to increase its control point rows to 5 in the horizontal direction.

  • Once that was done, I moved the control points so that I got the general shape of the chair.

  • The red curve was used to trim that surface from side view.

  • Then, I created a 70 mm diameter pipe around the trimmed edge.

  • I created a 50 mm offset surface.

  • I used the pipe to trim the offset surface.

  • Lastly, I used “Blend surface” with G2 and G0, respectively, to create the border shape. It needed some extra shapes to better define the profile.

Super easy chair Rhino 5.3dm (980.2 KB)


Hi Bg2,
Thanks for the ideas here. I’m not seeing he “white curve” you mention in the first bullet. Can you clarify where that is?

Thanks again for the help with this.

Michael Deimen

Hi Michael, the white curve is located in the middle of the backrest.