Am making a storm trooper helmet from Ep7 to be 3D printed, and need to add texture (physical not graphical) to part of the model as shown to black section of the reference image below. enter image description here

And below is model in progress of the same section

enter image description here

My question is, is there a simple way to add the honeycomb type pattern over the outer surface of the model?


Edit: @MrZak Shrinkwrap fail: enter image description here

Edit: Second shringkwrap attempt more successful. Is there a quick way to trim off the excess?

enter image description here

Edit: Think I got it sorted. Thanks @MrZak

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ There are a bunch of ways of approaching this depending on what purpose the model is for, can you give us a bit more info on what you indent to do with the model (static render, games or 3d print etc)? $\endgroup$
    – Sazerac
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 3:01
  • $\begingroup$ Will be 3D printed $\endgroup$
    – HuwD
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 6:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Related - blender.stackexchange.com/questions/40997/…. once geometry is ready you can apply it to the base mesh. For snapping either use Shrinkwrap with Lattice (see related) or leave the pattern unextruded and extrude it only after shrinkwrapping atop of the surface $\endgroup$
    – Mr Zak
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 14:14
  • $\begingroup$ @MrZak was going well till I tried the shrinkwrap $\endgroup$
    – HuwD
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 15:43
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Shrinkwrap won't magically guess where is the surface of your base mesh and attach complex mesh on top of it. In order this to work yoo need grill to be curved and have its surface near to the surface of the base mesh or to work with lattice as described in the linked answer with some possible tweaking of geometry and modifiers. $\endgroup$
    – Mr Zak
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 16:52

2 Answers 2


You can try the Tissue addon (https://github.com/alessandro-zomparelli/tissue)

Download and install the Addon.

Create a the base mesh (in this case the part of the helmet).

Then create the mesh you will be using as to create the mesh (for purposes of the tissue addon this will be your "COMPONENT" mesh.

Select the Component mesh, then Shift-Select the Base mesh.

Then on the Tissue Addon select "Tessellate"

A new mesh will be created (you can name it whatever you want).

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Nice tool but couldn't quite get it do what I wanted. Probably my own ineptitude. $\endgroup$
    – HuwD
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 9:06
  • $\begingroup$ @HuwD please describe what you tried and show images that show how it is not working for you. $\endgroup$
    – user1853
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 18:58

Try using displacement. Displacement is when a texture is used to modify the geometry of an object. There are two ways I know of to displace geometry: Micro Displacements and the displacement modifier.

Micro Displacements (for cycles render):

  1. On the render tab, in the properties bar, set the feature set to "experimental"
  2. Add a subsurf modifier to your object. Change it from "Catmull-Clark" to "Simple" and check the adaptive checkbox.
  3. In the properties panel, go to material and set the displacement to "true"
  4. Get a honeycomb texture (make sure the texture is white where the edges of the hexagons are and black in the middle of the hexagons). UV unwrap the texture onto the mesh. You can also use the "generated" output of the texture coordinate node in the node editor and plug it into a mapping node to adjust the scale of the texture.
  5. In the node editor for the material, plug the honeycomb texture into the "displacement" input in the material output. Change it from "color" to "non-color" data.
  6. The displacement will show up in rendered view.
  7. If you find the displacement too strong or not strong enough, multiply the image texture to modify the displacement. Numbers between 0 and 1 will make it weaker and numbers >1 will make is stronger. You can press TAB twice to refresh the displacement. Tweak the numbers until you are satisfied.

Displacement Modifier (3d Printable, but inefficient):

  1. Add a subsurf modifier to your object. Change it from "Catmull-Clark" to "Simple". Crank up the resolution, you will need it to be pretty high.
  2. Add a displacement modifier. Set the texture to a honeycomb texture (again, make sure the texture is white where the edges of the hexagons are and black in the middle of the hexagons).
  3. Tweak the subsurf resolution and displacement strength and mid level until you are satisfied.
  4. Apply the modifiers.
  • $\begingroup$ Sounds clever, will give it a try a bit later but will up vote now purely cause it sounds like you know what you're talking about. Will mark as answer if I manage to get it work. Thanks $\endgroup$
    – HuwD
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 7:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Experimental displacement is a feature of render engine and will not work for 3d printing where all the details have to be present as real geometry. $\endgroup$
    – Mr Zak
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 10:31
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, that's shame :( $\endgroup$
    – HuwD
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 13:25
  • $\begingroup$ I edited my answer to include the less efficient displacement modifier method. $\endgroup$
    – Erik
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 21:25

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