How to create this padding effect? | Air dome


Hi all,

This is my first post, but I’ve been on this forum already for a long time.

I’ve a problem with this special structure, called an Airdome. (“blaashal” or “luchthal” in Dutch )
This Airdome looks like an giant pillow (100x60 meters) and is has these padded air cushions.

I have tried to create this model use several extrusion plugins, but it still doesn’t look like the real one.

Does someone knows the trick?

Thanks guys!


I’m not very familiar with it but it looks as if it could be a job for Curviloft. Have you tried that?


Yes, I have tried that but that does not give the result that I am looking for.
(or I did it the wrong way)

In addition, I do not get the corners bent and at the same time the bottom surface as a square. Like a real pillow. You can see this clearly in this image.

But I like to be surprised :wink:


You could try making a proxy for the segments and then using sub division. The corners would be custom but the majority would be repeated components.


How about the plugin from cloth works? $$ Has a free trial.


Thanks Liam,

I’m going to try this right now!


Nederlof, this it might help:


Hi Michai,

Thanks, found that on youtube too. But how to bend it nicely at the corners?


Thanks RLGL,
But I can’t see how I can solve the problem with this plugin?
Could you explain it to me?


No, I just tossed that out as a suggestion. It is something I saw a while back. Not a clue how it works.


If you use Clothworks, you would set up an inverted frame as a collider.

Another option would be to draw the frame and use Soap Skin and Bubble. I don’t have time to do the whole thing but here’s a little bit with Soap Skin and Bubble as well as a bit of SubD for softening. I’m sure it needs a bit of refinement but it should give you an idea.


Most likely it can be done with Clothworks, but I did not use it and I do not know how at this moment.
Without Clothworks plugin, I would try a combination of:

and from the previous video, but it’s a lot of work.


Hi Dave,
Thank you so much! I’m going to try it right now.


If you do the soapskin bubble you should only need to do two transverse rings/loops of panels and then copy it along the length as it repeats?
The clothworks solution might prove tricky as it predominantly relies on gravity so could give unexpected results, unless each diamond was done separately and rearranged back into the arch?


The difficulty with this object is not in creating the individual air bags, that can be done easily with various methods Curviloft, Extrusion tools, Clothworks etc. and a cylinder of them can be arrayed quickly.
It it working out the size and shape of those pockets in such a way that they form the rectangular lozenge shape as seen in the second image. Creating a network of 98% square sections that will curve nicely around the corner and which bits need to be chopped to make the seam is the bit that takes some thought.
It’s this bit here that holds the secret, how to layout those corner triangles, quads and squares that allow the corner to form smoothly?


You could use a texture.

I modified this wrinkly texture…

…and added some circles and lines.

I also tried to make a bump map, but it didn’t render very well for me…


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