Project or flow along surface?

Hello. I have been looking at how to videos for this situation all day but each time something would go wrong or what I was trying to do was a little too different from the answers shown. I have an oval domed surface, and I am trying to put a drawn out design something like a fluer de lis onto the oval domed surface. Each time it becomes terribly distorted as the design moves around the piece. I have tried smashing the surface and even that does not come out right. I also have rebuilt the surface with control points in the hopes of avoiding the distortion. My question is: How does one create an oval design on the surface so it is evenly distributed with little or no distortion? It’s a pattern that is just repeated in a singular line. Please let me know if there is a way around this. Thank you!

Hi @abbyemalcolm,

Welcome to the forum.

In order to give a pertinent answer it would be helpful to have more information about the size of the fleur-de-lis relative to the surface, the curvature of the surface and the placement of the row. A sketch would be helpful and the most useful thing to do would be to post a model with the surface and a fleur-de-lis in it.

You can upload a Rhino .3dm file using the icon that looks like a brick with an arrow coming out of the top in the menu bar at the top of the posting window.


Hello - if you FlowAlongSrf from a revolved line (as a disc) to the dome, rather than from a rectangular plane, you may have better luck - but having the file will make it easier to help.


Learning file.3dm (466.2 KB)
Thank you! Here is the file. I am working in mm so everything is small. The length of each individual design is 4.85 mm. The dome is a length of 43 mm and the width is 30mm. The height was 12mm but I did cut a flat surface so now the height is 9mm.

Hi Abby - is this about what you are shooting for?



Wow! Actually yeah that’s what I was looking for. Just higher on the design. How did you get that great result? Was it the process you described earlier?

Hi Abby - the first thing is understanding a bit what FlowAlongSrf does - it remaps the objects from the U and V and surface normal of one surface to the corresponding U,V, N of a target surface. In your model the U and V directions of the target surface - the ellipsoid - are ‘sideways’ compared to the direction you are trying to wrap the curves. So you need to start with an ellipsoid that has its pole at the top, not on one end - you can see this by looking at the control points:

That will get you started wrapping in the correct direction starting from a plane that is behind the curves (incidentally, your curves are not flat - see the Front or Right views)

I did a couple more things:

  1. I split the target band in half as it looks like your objects will stretch too much going around the whole thing - dunno if that is what you want or not, but it looked like a half to me.

  2. I Rebuilt the target surface with 32 by 12 points - this evens out the UV of the surface compared to the ‘raw’ ellipsoid which has un-even UVs

  3. I flowed with History on so that I could monkey with the shape and proportion of the base surface to adjust how they end up on the target - e.g. to move the shapes up on the target, move them up on the base surface:

To adjust the proportions of the curves on the target, make the base surface taller or shorter.:

Learning file_PG.3dm (720.5 KB)


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Thank you so much. I was really stuck on this. I appreciate your help.

Pascal, one thing I noticed: the original model from @abbyemalcolm was from Rhino 6. In my R6, FlowAlongSurf flows along the untrimmed surface, whereas in R7 it honours the trim. In R6 it seems you need to run _ShrinkTrimmedSrf between the rebuild and the flow.


Yeah, good call, that is true - V7 shrinks the target if AutoAdjust=Yes. @abbyemalcolm - in V6 you will need to shrink your surfaces (ShrinkTrimmedSrf) before flowing or before rebuilding if you do that. Turn on control points before shrinking to see what it does.


Alright I will try that thank you Jeremy and Pascal.

I am still having some issues with distortion, its not as bad, but I am just wondering is there any way to make it better with precision rather than eyeballing it?Learning file 1.3dm (342.5 KB)

Hi Abby - if you want the least distortion and the most predictable placement use OrientOnSrf > Copy=Yes & Rigid un-checked, for a single repeat of the design to a set of pre-arranged and spaced points.

Learning file 1_PG.3dm (359.6 KB)
It is, I think, less important to have rebuilt the surface for this command, but I think I would still arrange the UV of the surface to be radial from the top - OrientOnSrf has some stuff to minimize UV distortion but does not eliminate it.