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McNeel prepping for first official release of Rhino 5 for Mac (finally!)

The Mac 3D world has gained a new friend in the upcoming official first release of Rhino 5 for Mac. Today users can embrace Release Candidate 1 (RC1) for free use for evaluation for 90 days. We have many more details and analysis below.


What has easily become the most popular ‘power tool’ for the world’s most advanced architecture firms doing some of the most amazing building designs this side of the year 2000, McNeel & Associates looks to finally be readying for the first official release of Rhino for Mac—Rhinoceros 5 for Mac.

Long available as a free WIP (work in progress) download, the advanced modeling application—that also is famous for its tie-in with the visual scripting application Grasshopper—has been elevated to Rhino for Mac Release Candidate 1 (RC1), with both commercial and educational license keys that provide those interested with a full 90-day evaluation period.

Rhino for Mac—Does Not Equal Windows Version

Rhino for Mac is not the exact same version as Rhino for Windows. While this might be seemingly sad news for users it really isn’t when users step back and see the big picture. Some will argue otherwise but the bigger picture is that this effort has been a long time coming and having a paid version versus the WIP version will actually bring about the features and capabilities that are different than the Windows version of Rhino.

01 - McNeel has announced the official release for Rhino for Mac, RC1. Say goodbye to the WIP days...!

01 – McNeel has announced the official release for Rhino for Mac, RC1. Say goodbye to the WIP days…!

Rhino on any platform gives users an advanced 3D modeling environment with:

  • NURBS tools
  • Mesh tools
  • Analysis tools
  • Drafting tools
  • Stylistic display models
  • Cross-platform Rhino file compatibility
  • Scriptability (you can script on the Mac version)
  • Support included

What is missing that likely will come about by pressure from users is the plugin support which will connect the Mac version of Rhino into the vast world of third-party Rhino developers. Also missing that will be an initial bummer for folks in architecture, is the support for Grasshopper. There are also no layouts, work sessions, and animation tools.

Additionally, some features from the latest version of Rhino 5 WIP Mac have been pulled out. These include the paneling tools and the Toucan Renderer. The company’s explanations for the removal of these two items is very sound. It is clear that there is an effort to make sure the Mac and Windows versions are truly compatible. With a focus on testing the future plugin architecture for the Mac version, McNeel will utilize the Paneling tools as a test bed for third-party plugin development.

Still, Mac users and Rhino users alike will find there is much excitement and reason to celebrate this arrival. It is particularly well-timed given the recent announcement by Graphisoft of a new Rhino-ArchiCAD connection. We wonder out loud if the new Rhino-ArchiCAD connection will work with the new Rhino for Mac (if you already know this let us know in the comments below).

The video above introduces users to the Rhino for Mac user interface. There are other videos at Vimeo that show more of the application as well.


Rhino 5 for Mac Release Candidate 1 (RC1) can be obtained here. When you download the RC1 your 90-day evaluation period will start. The company will submit to you additional information via email. If you are a current Rhino for Mac WIP user your license will stop working on 3 June, 2015. The company says in the next few weeks they will introduce special introductory pricing and where the product can be purchased.

Architosh Analysis

For many Rhino on Mac fans this news maybe surprising….even like hell froze over. We have heard through the years that users who really wanted to stay on their Mac but gain access to this tool natively gave up on the WIP. They would simply run Rhino on Boot Camp or a PC instead. So this is great news for those users. When things like this happen it tends to mean acceleration and we can see McNeel developing the plugin architecture on the Mac side rather quickly after this version is out the door and direct Mac version funding comes in through new licenses.

But there is another reason why Rhino for Mac may accelerate. Actually two reasons. The first reason is because those who love Macs in the architecture and visual scripting space have long held out for native tools. Grasshopper, as we’ve written before, was seemingly destined for Windows forever because it relied on Microsoft’s .NET technology. But even Microsoft and related efforts are pushing those technologies cross-platform in an effort to attract developers to the platforms that matter more and more every year: mobile platforms.

Additionally, the leading Mac CAD developer, Nemetschek Vectorworks, recently previewed its Marionette visual-scripting technology that will be included in Vectorworks 2016. Marionette is architected to be every bit as robust and capable as any of the visual-scripting parametric modeling environments in the world, including Rhino+Grasshopper, Autodesk Dynamo, and Bentley’s Generative Components. And it even has advantages, such as tapping the power of a superior modeling kernel in Parasolid in Vectorworks, plus access to the Pixar SubD libraries in Vectorworks 2016 as well. Fully Python based, it will talk fluidly to the existing world of Python tools including importantly database connectors. While it may take some convincing at first, Vectorworks 2016’s onboard visual scripting tools will entice many, particularly Mac users.

In short, what will drive up rounding out development of Rhino on the Mac will be strong adoption and usage of Rhino on the Mac.

Reader Comments

  1. @stefkeB @architosh @ArchiCAD Graphisoft site says plugin is for PC and Mac?

  2. McNeel prepping for first official release of Rhino 5 for Mac (finally!) | @Architosh

  3. RT @appleforarch: McNeel prepping for first official release of Rhino 5 for Mac (finally!) | @Architosh

  4. McNeel prepping for first official release of Rhino 5 for Mac (finally!) | @Architosh

  5. RT @appleforarch: McNeel prepping for first official release of Rhino 5 for Mac (finally!) | @Architosh

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