Unsquish: Building a 3D curved surface from a 2D pattern?

This is something I’ve wanted to figure out for a while, I have an opportunity now in helping a friend screen print on masks I’m die cutting and he’s sewing. They need to be printed as flat pieces, after cutting.

This is the basic shape, with red line indicating seam allowance. I want to be able to screen print on both sides and create a (aesthetically) seamless design, or close enough.

What is a good strategy for knitting these together? I’m trying to get to a form I could Squish to get the original pattern, or close enough. Been trying out Bend and Sweep without much luck.


mask part.dxf (165.4 KB)

There will necessarily be some distortion when flattening, since although each piece is developable, the joined shape will not be developable across the seam (since the total surface angle around a point on the seam is less than 360°).
If the aim is to map a pattern from a joined flat shape to each half so that the pattern matches across the join, you could do this without actually modelling the 3d shape by making a surface from a copy of your shape but with the seam curve straightened, then using FlowAlongSurface to map a pattern from one to the other.

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Personally I wouldn’t screw around modelling it because I don’t really understand how that’s actually going to help you. You’d have to project the image somehow and I don’t think it will wrap very well that way. I think the important thing to understand is the direction of your artwork at the seam.

I used picture to bring in the image. The blue lines are eyeballed square from the front seam. I measured those again roughly and then put some guides up to size the image. I split it offset by the seaming allowance. I trimmed some notches in to aid in guiding. I rebuilt the surface then moved it over and used pointson to adjust the edges and follow the shape of the seam perpendiculars roughly.

Then I untrimmed the guide notches and finished.

As long as you don’t adjust the shape (i.e. go into the material and just change out the file) it will update the distortion for any image.

If you want to use a vector design instead of bitmap the same strategy could apply. Just group your curves then use cage edit and 4x2 points and you can distort it the same way.

I Didn’t really notice till after printing but you can take the jaggies out by adjusting render mesh settings with custom mesh and setting cranked up.


To create the 3d surface, you can project the curves onto a reference object, then use the EdgeSrf command and then the squish command. If you activate the Record History you can adjust the curves as you like.

approach to your 2D curves


@vikthor Yes! That is what I was after. What did you mean by projecting the curves onto a reference object? Did use the Project command onto the bust and just drag control points to smooth around awkward areas?

Unless you have a mesh of Neo from The Matrix to Project one, I don’t quite follow.

Could I download your homework to manipulate or get that bust?

@DanielPiker @wynott Those are awesome approaches and you are right, it’s overkill to go full 3D for a printing scenario like this, it’s just a itch I’ve had to figure out. I’m a digital fabricator and work with CNC cutting malleable sheet materials fairly often, aluminum, leather, foam, ect. Engraving or perforating a part prior to forming to get an intended 3D result would be fun to experiment with.