How to create an object that looks like a fabric skin over a wireframe?

I had an idea for a product design that looked like a fabric skin stretched over an internal frame. BMW had a concept car called the ‘Gina’ that was similar. (Image below)

I’m still relatively new to Blender and I’m not 100% sure how to model this. Would you make a wireframe out of edges and then bridge faces between the edges and then add a certain amount of bow to the surfaces? Or would you use a modifier of some sort? The surface isn’t stretched straight between the wireframe. There’s a certain amount of bow or sag.

BMW_Gina

I would use the subserf modifier with creases for the sharp edges, and also mark sharp the creases (right click menu in edge mode)

That was my first thought also, but it won’t give the sag to the fabric without putting in another loop cut. That’s certainly not the end of the world. I was wondering if a shrink-wrap modifier could do it, but I don’t know enough about that yet.

You could simply simulate the cloth stretch by pinning the vertex that would be “held” by the frame and shrinking the fabric.

Pinned vertices:

Mesh:


Simulated:

You will need to have a good topology for it to be good looking, so think about your edgeflow according to the underneat frame.

Let me know if you need help.

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Patrick- I think you nailed it, errr, pinned it. In this case, I think edge-flow should be really easy because most of my geometry will be long strips of quads. I’d really appreciate if you could help me out. Are you working with cloth simulation?

I know my ways around cloth sims. Let me know what you need help with and I’ll try my best to send you the right way.

I’m attaching a Blender file of a Zeppelin as an easy example of what I’m trying to do. It looks OK as a edge weighted subdivided shape, but I think it would look much better as the cloth sim you have mentioned. How can I apply a fabric skin to this?

ZeppelinTest01.blend (651.8 KB)

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So I reduced the subdiv to 3, 5 was overkill. Then pinned the creased vertices and set the pin group in the cloth sim.

The important options are the negative pressure and the shrinking factor.
image

You can play around with them to get different results.


Positive pressure, no shrinking.


Positive pressure, negative shrinking (so growing?)


Negative pressure and negative shrinking.

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I can’t wait to play around with this myself. Thank you so much for your help. I’m laughing out loud at how cool this is!

ZeppelinTest02.blend (5.0 MB)

Hi Patnard- I’m just getting back to this cloth sim and I’ve played around with it for 4-5 hours and I have to admit, I have more questions than answers about how to do this. I hope you can guide me in the right direction.

-Why is it that I can’t select the sphere (zeppelin) object in the outliner yet I can still hit tab and see it in its unsubdivided state?
-Why can’t I delete the cloth modifier at all?
-What I think you’ve done is take the zeppelin shape I sent over and created a UV map of it. Then went into edit mode and selected verts along the ridges. Once those were selected went to Data Object Properties and + assigned them to a new group called “pinned verts”. Then added a cloth modifier with the settings that you showed me. Then added a subdivision modifier set to level 3.

I’ve tried and tried but still just can’t get it to work. Do you subdivide before adding the cloth and subdivision modifiers…?
Thank you.

I got it! I wasn’t hitting “play” on my animation!

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-Why is it that I can’t select the sphere (zeppelin) object in the outliner yet I can still hit tab and see it in its unsubdivided state?

-Why can’t I delete the cloth modifier at all?

-What I think you’ve done is take the zeppelin shape I sent over and created a UV map of it. Then went into edit mode and selected verts along the ridges. Once those were selected went to Data Object Properties and + assigned them to a new group called “pinned verts”. Then added a cloth modifier with the settings that you showed me. Then added a subdivision modifier set to level 3.
I’ve tried and tried but still just can’t get it to work. Do you subdivide before adding the cloth and subdivision modifiers…?

Is the subdiv before the cloth modifier in your stack? Mine is after because I had enough geometry to simulate the cloth.

Maybe share what you have and I can pinpoint what’s at fault?