Modeling an Earring

Yet another T-Splines tutorial. This one will show you how to design and model an earring in Rhino 4.0

You can download this tutorial in PDF format here.

Organic Modeling for Jewelry Design with T-Splines and Rhino® 4


Designing an Earring

Juan Santocono

Industrial Design

Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentine

Matt Sederberg

T-Splines, Inc.

© Copyright 2008 T-Splines, Inc.

Designing freeform objects can be difficult when working with traditional CAD software. T-Splines and Rhino 4 offer an easy way to create smooth, gap-free freeform models for design.

The best way to read this tutorial about how to model a earring using T-Splines is by look­ing at the 3D model at the same time. You can follow the model’s progress by selecting the differents layers in the file. T-Splines for Rhino must also be installed on your computer. Both T-Splines for Rhino and the earring model can be downloaded at

In this tutorial, anything in Blue is a Rhino command, while anything in Red is a T-Splines command. Type these commands in the command line of Rhino to run them.


Creating the base mesh
To get the general shape of the ear­ring we will start by creating a Mesh­torus, with VerticalFaces=8 and AroundFaces=16.



Converting the mesh
Once we have the mesh torus we just need to convert it to a T-Spline surface.

Use and select the mesh to perform the conversion. Now we have a T-Spline torus with the same control points as the mesh torus.



Extruding faces
The earring design is a sun, so we need to create the sun rays. We will include some long rays and some short rays.

We will create the long rays first. To make these, we will extrude some faces with .

tsplines_earrings_4.jpg tsplines_earrings_5.jpg
1- selected faces (yellow) as shown.

2-In order to get flat rows of control points for the next extrusions, we need to flatten selected points. Use . Do this with each of the 4 ray tips separately.

3- the flattened faces again ().

4- them again.

5- them twice more (a total of four extru­sions). This will give us sufficient control points to add details to the rays.


tsplines_earrings_10.jpg tsplines_earrings_11.jpg tsplines_earrings_12.jpg

1-Draw the base and target curves for both sides of the sun rays.

2-Use on all the left-side control points.

3-Use on all the right-side control points.


Modifying front profile
To modify the front profile we are going to do something similar to the previous step, but (for the sake of introducing an alternative workflow) instead of using the flow command we are going to do it manually. Draw some reference curves to provide us with a reference on how we will to transform the surface.

tsplines_earrings_13.jpg tsplines_earrings_14.jpg tsplines_earrings_15.jpg

1-Once we have the reference curves, just select the lower row of control points (shown) and use tsManip (scale and move) to match the surface profile to the curves.

2-Repeat this process with the four rows of control points. This manual method can give us a decently accu­rate surface.

3-Now we have the shape that we want on one sun ray.


Modifying details
Now we need to do some further adjustments to get the desired design. First, use to scale (+Y) all the center ray control points, this is to give a concave curvature to the sun rays.

Remember to select all the center points of the four rows on each side.

Second, using again de scale this four tip point, this will give us a more smooth tip.

tsplines_earrings_16.jpg tsplines_earrings_17.jpg
1- center control points +Y.

2- tip control points -X.


Copying the rays
We have completed the shape of one sun ray, now we need to shape the others. The design intent is that all four rays should have the same form, so we need to copy our first sun ray shape to the other three rays. Doing this manually would be slow and imperfect. For this rea­son we will use a method that assures us of the exact same shape on all the rays.

tsplines_earrings_18.jpg tsplines_earrings_19.jpg tsplines_earrings_20.jpg
1-Select all control points of the shaped ray.

2-Use to make a point from each con­trol point.

3-Draw a Polyline, snapping to each row of po­ints. This represents the control polygon of the ray surface. Connecting the points is not strictly necessary, but is useful to give a visual unders­tanding of the control polygon.

tsplines_earrings_21.jpg tsplines_earrings_22.jpg

4-Groups of control points from the shaped ray.
5- these control polygons to each ray. Use (copy on).

tsplines_earrings_23.jpg tsplines_earrings_24.jpg
6-Now, using snap (points and ends) move each T-Spline control point on each ray to its corresponding control polygon point from the shaped ray.

7-Repeat this with each ray until all four are shaped.


This method of copying shapes by snapping to copied control points might seem a little tricky at first sight, but with re­latively simple T-Splines shapes it is really fast and insures a symmetric shape.


Extruding small rays
Now we are going to create the shorter rays. For this we will extrude some faces with the command.

All of the modeling steps used to create the shorter rays are similar to those used for the lon­ger rays. Just follow the same workflow.

1- selected faces.

2-Flatten each face’s control po­ints ().

3- the flattened faces.

4- again and again. Four times total, just like the longer rays


Copying smaller ray shape
Here we are going to use the same method we used on the longer rays, but we’ll save time by just copying and scaling the control polygons used for the longer rays and reusing them for the smaller rays. Just copy the control polygons of the longer rays, rotate them by 45 degrees, and scale them to be smaller. This will allow all rays, both long and short, to have the same shape.

tsplines_earrings_30.jpg tsplines_earrings_31.jpg tsplines_earrings_32.jpg


Modifying the center ring
To get the correct design we need to do some adjustments on the center hole. The intention is to have a bigger hole and a sharper edge on the transition betwen the sun body and the sun rays.

tsplines_earrings_33.jpg tsplines_earrings_34.jpg
1-Select the control points shown and using scale2D, scale them outwards to give the hole a wider diameter and smooth the inner torus curvature. (The origin of the 2D scale is the center (0,0,0).)

tsplines_earrings_35.jpg tsplines_earrings_36.jpg
2-Select the control points shown and using scale2D, scale them outwards to create a shar­per edge between the sun body and the sun rays.


Adding control points
We need to add some more control points using for the next step. Adding a con­trol point near a star point (shown) will yield a small explosion of new control points to keep the surface unchanged; this influx of control points is desired in this case.

tsplines_earrings_37.jpg tsplines_earrings_38.jpg

One more tweak before the next step: we’ll adjust the sun rays pro­portions. Just select the last 3 rows of the big rays and scale2D throught the center:

tsplines_earrings_39.jpg tsplines_earrings_40.jpg


Creating a crease
Until now we have created a perfectly smooth T-Spline surface, but the design intention is to have a sharp edge on the inner part of the rays. Use and select the first segments of each ray (both sides). The crease influence will extend across two isoparms.

tsplines_earrings_41.jpg tsplines_earrings_42.jpg


Creating the body details
Basically, what we are going to do on this step is generating some strips that will decorate the body.

1- these front faces as shown.

2-Once they are extru­ded, we need to change the angle of the control points on these faces. A good way to do this on all faces at once is to scale2D on the selected points shown.

3-Now that we corrected the faces, it’s time for another .

4-Keep the extruded points selected and use the
to move +Y to get a con­vex body.

5-Now it is time for one last tsExtrude.

6-We need to scale2D these control points that were extruded last, this will give us smaller and closer tips. The center of the scale should be on the center of the earring in order to modify it symmetrically.

7-Now, we want the strips to be deformed in a spiral. To make the deformation more accu­rate, we first need to add more control points. To do this, just use tsInsertPoint near the star point shown. This will generate the needed geometry for the deformation.


8-To make the spiral deformation we will use , one of the UDT tools. First, select all the control points that comprise the sun body strips. Be careful to not select other points.

Second, use the maelstrom tool, where the center is the middle of the earring and the first and second radius are just those necesary for rotating the control points.


The T-Spline surface is done! Now we only need to add the remaining details.



Creating the center part
For the center piece we will just create the profile of a shape and then use to gener­ate the geometry. You can use on the T-Spline surface to extract the curves that will be used for the center piece profile to get a perfect match between the parts.

tsplines_earrings_52.jpg tsplines_earrings_53.jpg tsplines_earrings_54.jpg

Creating the hook
This is simple, draw the curve and use Pipe to generate the piece.

tsplines_earrings_55.jpg tsplines_earrings_56.jpg

Union part
Draw the curve and use to generate the piece. Then just use ( input=No) with the T-Splines surface.


the parts to fit each other.

The result is a perfectly smooth, highly detailed 3D model of an earring ready to be manufac­tured.


Good luck in your modeling!

Write to my e-mail below with any questions.

Juan Santocono,

Industrial Design

A free trial of T-Splines for Rhino may be downloaded at

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2 Responses to “Modeling an Earring”

  1. Bruno says:

    hello , my inglish is very bad , sorry , i dont find “ts-splines” , where is that comand? see you

  2. Ivan Vuzem says:

    This tutorial explains the process of modeling an earring using T-Splines plugin for Rhinoceros. You can find it here:

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