Satellite MLI blankets modeling


Dear forum members, I’m trying to model satellite MLI (thermal insulation blankets, the golden material in the image bellow ).

How would you approach this task with minimum verts in priority?

Currently I’m trying to model the general shape of the covered part and then sculpt with a textured brush. Result is acceptable visually but not from the vertex count aspect.

Any advice appriciated!
Thanks pop3b

Sculpt it. Make a reduced model with the retopo tool you want. Shrink wrap it on the high poly to preserve the biggest deformation. UV unwrap the low. Bake the normal map.

1 Like

Depending on how close you will get to the model I would either retopologize it or bake a normal map.

1 Like

Thanks, I’ll try that.

Is there a way to produce the wrapped cloth in some simulated way? Some Marvelous designer alternatives?

Have a look at this. But I didn’t t try it. So… cannot really say more.

1 Like

Installing, thanks

I have sculpted MLI for a Spektr-RG model for 3d-printing a few weeks ago. I used dyntopo while sculpting on a mesh exported from CAD. After finishing the sculpt I had to fix hundrets of problems in the mesh (holes, non manifold edges etc) before I used the decimate modifier to reduce the vertex count. The advantage of sculpting MLI is that it tends to form pretty sharp wrinkles between almost plain areas, so the decimate modifier can be used very nicely with the option “by angle”. Here’s a photo of my the half finished prototype print.

1 Like

looks amazing, would be glad to see it when it’s done, great job.

Tell me if i understood correctly - you had a CAD model with the body of the satellite and the areas which are going to be covered with MLI, and you sculpted the wrinkle details . is that so ?


More or less yes. I started with the hardware of the satellites in CAD. These were used to approximate the shapes of the MLI with boxy solids, which were modified to be printable parts with assembly keys. After exporting them to blender, the MLI was just sculpted on the respective areas of the parts.

ok, and how did you approach the sculpting process? fabric texture brushes?

No, I used reference pictures of the spacecraft and sculpted the wrinkles one by one using a “draw” brush with sharp falloff. In my eyes it is essential not to use a general texture, as the pattern of the wrinkles is very specific to the underlying shape the foil follows, and where seams etc are located.

1 Like

I was in the same situation some month ago and I opted for a base mesh, duplicate it and sculpt it with dinamichtopo, mainly using crease brush. Bake normal maps and apply them on the base mesh.
The result is far from beeing perfect but surely it can be sculpted better than what I did.
You can see it here:

and here more images:

Hope this can help.

1 Like

Thats true, underlying structure is seen in some places… thanks.

Better is the enemy of good - it looks really good.

thank you.