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McNeel Ships New Rhino 6—Grasshopper Now Built-In

The long-awaited Rhino 6 with integrated Grasshopper is now shipping worldwide. New flexible cloud licensing make using Rhino 6 wherever you are easy.


McNeel has finally unveiled and announced the new Rhino 6 for Windows and the product is shipping. There are dozens and dozens of major new enhancements throughout the popular advanced 3D modeling program. While Rhino is available on both Mac and Windows, the new Rhino 6 is first available for Windows.

Grasshopper Now Built Direct In Rhino 3D

The biggest news in Rhino 6 is that Grasshopper, the wildly popular visual programming language used for algorithmic design, is fully built into the main Rhino program. It is no longer a separate program and no longer beta. McNeel notes that Grasshopper is a stable development environment and the Seattle-based software firm has rewritten features and renovated workflows.

Key Takeaways

This is the long-awaited moment when Grasshopper not only came out of official beta but became fully integrated into Rhino itself. The new Cloud Zoo licensing may open up the possibility of using Rhino 6 on multiple operating systems (Mac and Windows) in the near future once the Mac version of Rhino 6 is released. On that last note, we knew from prior discussions with McNeel that they would not be released at the same time. This is massive release and likely to further cement McNeel’s leadership in the algorithmic and computational design software market. 

New features in Grasshopper include support for high DPI displays, multi-threaded components, and built-in Kangaroo. It also ships with new components like Make2D, Symbol Display and more. GhPython is also included and features its own GHA compiler and a major node-in-code speed up. Importantly, Grasshopper is now a stable development target, components continue to work with each minor update to Grasshopper.

Improved Visualization

Rhino 6 features several improvements and new capabilities with rendering and display. There is a new fast, interactive raytracer in the main viewport and it’s accelerated by your modern GPU with both CUDA and OpenCL. Other improvements in this category include Snapshots that allow you to save and return to the same appearance of the model. There is an improved default rendering setting mode, better materials library and handling, and also tag and search options with materials. Another feature is “per-face” material assignment, which will make timepiece and jewelry designers extremely happy.

01 – McNeel’s Rhino 6 for Windows is now shipping and includes an all-new upgraded and integrated Grasshopper. (image: McNeel / Architosh. All rights reserved)

Rhino 6 has an all-new display pipeline, the software that ultimately prepares what you see on your computer’s display and sends that info to the monitor. It utilizes GPU compute shaders and memory optimization and overall has dramatic speed improvements.

Rhino 6’s new display pipeline utilizes OpenGL levels based on the capabilities of your graphics card (GPU) on your computer. They have worked the program code to push surface, polysurface, and wireframe extrusions onto the graphics card using GPU tessellation.

Rhino 6 has a new “real-time” raytracing rendering mode, something that means a lot to product designers in particular.

Other Improvements

New in Rhino 6 are improved documentation functions so designers can go beyond just modeling and produce dimensioned drawings based on the models in Rhino. Rich text support and faster and clearer text helps produce better documents. And Make2D has been rewritten for faster, better and cleaner output.

The McNeel folks have done users a huge favor by updating the licensing options. The new Cloud Zoo license option means you log in anywhere in the world to your Rhino account to use Rhino on any computer, wherever you are. Your license is not tied to a computer (which is still an option).  Zoo is another option where you float a single or set of licenses within your private network (LAN).

Rhino is more than just a 3D modeler, it is full development platform and ecosystem with dozens of plugins and development tools which quickly make Rhino and Grasshopper the most advanced platform for algorithmic design and computational design. There are documentation updates, guides, and API references. Food4Rhino (website) has been completely revamped. And RhinoCommon and RhinoScript have many new changes and improvements, as does Rhino.Python.

Getting Rhino 6

Folks interested in Rhino 6 with integrated Grasshopper can buy a single license for $995.USD. At this moment upgrades are available to Rhino 6 for $395.USD but we do not know how a Mac license could contribute to an upgrade to Rhino 6 on Windows. Rhino 5 for Mac is still $695.USD. You can learn more and inquire here. 

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