by Dušan Cvetković
Dušan Cvetković
Published December 21, 2022

Creating organic 3D models that look natural and realistic takes skill. In this post, we'll explore the workflow for modeling the Amazing Whale Jaw bus station designed by NIO Architects. You'll learn modeling techniques in Rhino that allow you to make complex organic shapes easily. Read on to find out the steps and tools required to model organic structures like a pro.

Overview of the Organic Modeling Workflow

The Whale Jaw model is created primarily using Rhino's subdivision (SubD) modeling tools. SubD modeling involves gradually building up geometry by adding edges and points to basic surfaces. This gives you fine control over the shape while keeping the underlying geometry clean and editable.

Here are the key steps we'll cover:

  • Set up the background image for reference
  • Block out the overall form with SubD surfaces
  • Refine shape with edge/vertex adjustments
  • Add thickness and details
  • Convert SubD to Polysurfaces
  • Add windows, lights, and other elements

With the fundamentals down, you'll be able to apply SubD workflow to any project. Let's get started!

Amazing Whale Jaw Modeling - Basic Form

After importing the reference image, we begin with a single SubD surface. This is extruded and shaped to match the overall contour of the whale jaw structure.

More edges and points are added incrementally to provide control over the form. Commands like Insert Edge and Stitch are used to connect these new edges. The topology is adjusted continuously to get the surface shape just right.

Once the upper surface is roughed out, we use commands like Insert Point to create edges that let us push and pull parts of the model. This helps define major shifts in the form, like the recess under the jawbone.

Whale Jaw Modeling

Refining the Model Details

With the basic shape done, we can refine things like edge loops and corners. New edges are inserted to sharpen creases and curves. The gumball tool aligns vertices to smooth out transitions.

Areas that need more detail, like the extending roof portion, get additional edges and polygons. This gives us the control to match the concept model closely.

As we iterate, the SubD surfaces let us tweak the model fluidly. Within minutes, we can adjust the proportions and details for a clean, production-ready model.

Adding Thickness and Converting to Polysurfaces

To give the model thickness, we simply extrude edges. The roof, for example, gets an offset edge that creates a 3D surface. The same method builds out other areas like the back room.

Once the model is detailed fully, we convert the SubD objects into standard Polysurfaces. This is done with a simple command. We also create a backup of the SubD model, in case we need to go back and make changes.

Adding Thickness and Converting to Polysurfaces

Cutting Openings and Adding Details

Now we can start adding finer details to the Polysurface geometry. First, we create guides for openings like windows and doors. These are swept and projected onto the surfaces.

Using commands like Split, we cut holes into the model. Edge fillets help smooth the corners of these openings.

Some areas need rebuilding to get clean topology around the cuts. But after some rebuilding and trimming, we ended up with nice clean apertures for windows and doors.

Finally, details like lights are created by extruding faces and edges. Pipes and sweeps make the light models. The same process creates a detailed gate for the front entrance.

 Cutting Openings and Adding Details

Master Organic Modeling with SubD

As you can see, SubD workflows provide immense flexibility for Amazing Whale Jaw Modeling and other organic models. By gradually building up geometry, we could refine the form and details without messy topology.

With the basics covered here, you can start modeling all kinds of organic shapes - from plants and trees to furniture and sculptures. A little practice will make SubD modeling second nature.

To dive deeper into Rhino's tools, be sure to check out our complete 4-hour Whale Jaw modeling tutorial. You can find it on our Patreon page. We'll show you extended modeling techniques and strategies to level up your skills.

So get creative, and have fun modeling amazing organic forms with Rhino's SubD toolset! The only limit is your imagination.

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About the Author

Dušan Cvetković is a professional architect from Serbia with international experience in the industry. Collaborated with numerous clients all around the world in the field of architecture design, 3D modeling and software education. He's been teaching Rhinoceros3D to thousands of architects through How to Rhino community and various social media channels.