best approach to place zipper on mesh contours?


I’m putting a zipper on a boot model I’ve just been working on, but I don’t know a good way to get the zipper to lay against the boot’s mesh shape to my satisfaction.

To create the zipper, I’ve used an array modifier on a zipper ‘tooth’, with start and end caps for the bottom and pull tab, respectively, so I have a straight zipper ready to go. I am also familiar with adding a curve constraint so that the zipper follows a curve. The part that I’m not clear on is how to get the curve to match the mesh contours. I know you can take a curve -> mesh, but don’t know how to go from vertice string -> curve. The other issue I can see with the curve modifier is that the mesh shape is deformed; this is particularly noticeable on the inside of sharp curves, where the zipper teeth lose their shape (one side squishes/stretches).

So, if any one has suggestions on how to accurately lay the zipper to the mesh, and also, how to avoid the object deformation, I would be grateful:)

I’ve also looked into dupliverts a bit (a possible way to avoid object deformation along the curve?) but got a bit confused, and am not clear on if this is the current best way to do it.

Any links to good tutorials would also be awesome!


You could use the ShrinkWrap modifier to lay the curve on the boot mesh, then have the zipper follow the curve.

ah, sounds like a good idea! I’ll give it a try when I have some free time. Thanks!

I was looking into a similar problem a while back. I haven’t yet done any modeling to attempt this, as I was busy on other things, but recently I ran across lattice which upon cursory reading seemed like it might be a good option.
Maybe someone else here that knows how to use the lattice tool well could explain if this would work for you. I was going to try the lattice approach when I got a chance to try my conforming of a mesh object to another mesh’s body.

The shrinkwrap approach worked pretty good, kudos to rawpigeon. Here is the boot with zipper.

I didn’t try it, but I don’t think the lattice approach would work as well as shrinkwrap, simply because you’d have to manually shape the lattice like the mesh, whereas the shrinkwrap automatically shapes the curve to the mesh for you. But if you try it I’d be interested to hear how it goes.