Snake scale geometry

Someone please enlighten me of the best approach for generating snake scale geometry for 3D printing. Thanks in advance.

There are 3 ways to achieve that :

1,using grasshopper U need to model the scale, orient it at an angle. Prepare the snake body you want to populate on, (i assume that is somesort of pipe geometry, ) create diagrid or whatever grid you want the scale to fit into the body. -> bounding box from grid -> replace bounding box with the scale geometry. Grasshopper is very good at creating parametric stuff like this, there are tons of tutorial on grasshopper website.

2.using native rhino command use flow along surface in rhino command, but its a tedious work. i prefer to do it in grasshopper. Because u can always control the geometry with sliders and any kind of data input.

3.using other tool Nowadays most people use multple software to model things. The advantage is u can always export and import model to make the most of each software power. For snake scale geometry, the best tool are :
1.micromesh in zbrush
2.xgen in maya ( there is a snake scale preset already )


Hope that helps

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ApplyDisplacement is one approach if you have a 2D texture of the scale pattern. You’d need to ExtractRendermesh and then OffsetMesh with the solid option prior to exporting as an stl for printing.

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I was playing around with displacemnt adn Is there a way to creat a 2d texture? do you use photoshop?
can you size it unto the exact dimensions and outline of an obeject in Rhino?
Any suggestion would help



Hi Houman- there are a number of procedural textures available and you can always use an image. See the Textures panel, click on + and then in the dialog, click on ‘More types’.


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Hi @houman,
I use photoshop for making my textures.

I have only played with displacement and procedural textures but this video I found really good in explaining some of the many options you have.

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A really good way of creating these sorts of textures for displacement (or texturing) is Filter Forge:
You can create your own or use one of the zillion pre-existing filters in the library (including lots of scales).
You can create tileable textures and one of the nice things is that you can output, bump,spec,normal, diffuse maps as required.
I use it every day and I can’t imagine how I survived without it before.

Here’s a large scale digitally printed inflatable I did recently using some Filter Forge textures;

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Hi Sochin, thank you for the video. It was very enlightening, and also leads me to a new question. In the video, the gentleman had joined multiple surfaces together, effectively spreading the displacement throughout the polysurface. This is awesome, but I’d like to achieve a similar effect, without being obligated to follow a homogeneous composition. Rather, I would like to generate heterogeneous polysurface ‘displacement’ – per say.

With this in mind, I’m seriously hoping there’s a way to join surfaces that have ‘displacement’, with surfaces that don’t. See, I’m hoping to apply something similar to ‘displacement’, with adjacent surfaces that don’t have to embody much, if any, ‘displacement’.

As, there may be many ways to achieve these “topology” textures; I’m striving for a swift and simplistic method, or workflow, that I can apply such 3d-texture onto a portion of my overall polysurface geometry.

Does this ‘displacement’ feature in Rhino, have this ability?

Not at the moment but it is a filed feature request. I added your comments to the request as well. In the meantime, you could paint black areas in the image to mask some portions of the model as well as create falloff to the displaced srfs in the polysrf. Custom texture mapping will make using this technique easier… but the ultimate goal of “sub-object displacments” is on the list.

Here’s a texture I made a while back… maybe in Zbrush via the polypaint technique but it might have been Photoshop too. In any case, it’s tileable and is somewhat scale like… have fun!

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for the moment you can use Grasshopper to simply distribute a number of shape around your polysurface, so you dont have to really worry about combining surface since we can practically create a list of data from Polysurface.

here is a little try=

then you can apply random material to give it a nice look, tons of good material on google like this one =

however if you plan to use 3D printer to get a “solid” scale instead of the overlapping one, I suggest to use Zbrush Micromesh or just simply sculpt it with the correct Brush just like @BrianJ has done.

there are many solution you can pick the one you feel easy to work with :smile:

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Thank you, everyone, for the brilliant examples, and insight. Grasshopper is an amazing plug-in! I look forward to working with it much more, and embracing the power it will add to my workflows.

The community here is awesome! Thanks again, everyone. I will need some time to learn, and digest this information. I presume I must begin playing with grasshopper more every day! :smiley:

Hi Steve…thanks very much for the reply, Ill have a look at it and try
some stuff…



Hi Steve,
Just learning Filter Forge . Can you please go through the steps needed to import a Filter Forge Photoshop created filter into Rhino for 3d printing (.stl)