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Rhino 8—Goes After General Architectural Modeling Market

Rhino 8 adds new PushPull and other modeling features aimed at advancing typical architectural modeling workflows.


For years the architectural modeling market has been dominated by two major software companies, with McNeel and its Rhino 3D program taking on the advanced complex form architectural market and Trimble’s SketchUp, the more rectilinear non-complex architectural market. Guess which market is larger?

Going After SketchUp

The vast majority of architects design rectangular structures and avoid the type of complex curves used in design by “starchitecture” firms like BIG, ZHA, and Frank Gehry. As a result, SketchUp has dominated the architectural 3D modeling market for well over a decade while architectural students and more progressive architecture firms turn to Rhino 3D for developing more complex forms.

Rhino 8 advances architectural modeling with new Push-Pull and other modeling features.

Now Rhino 8 has introduced multiple new architectural modeling features that simplify the 3D modeling of straightforward rectangular architecture. This includes a new PushPull workflow, a la SketchUp but with a difference.

PushPull works in a similar way to SketchUp and rival programs, allowing quick massing of models from basic shapes drawn on the ground plane and then extruded up. Then these surfaces can be divided to help lift sloped roofs or push and pull wall planes. Then to draw directly on surfaces for accurate placement of openings, users tap the capabilities of the AutoCPlanes tool. MergeAllCoplanar Faces cleans up geometry as you work, keeping models tidy and organized from a geometry perspective.

One key new change in Rhino 8 is the gumball now has a new elongated dot in the middle. Selecting the closed or open side of the dot determines if an extrude is solid or open, respectively.

The Inset command, which was previously only used on SubD faces now works on Poly surfaces common in rectangular architectural modeling. A complete architectural modeling workflow is shown in the video above.

Also useful in architectural modeling are new features added to the gumball. These include Cut, Split, Boss, and Extend. Clearly useful in furniture modeling, as shown in this video here, these new capabilities will be useful in architectural modeling when creating cabinetry, stairs, and railing systems.

Built for Apple Silicon

Rhino 8 is also built to leverage Apple Silicon chips found in new Mac computers. The new update is also built for Mac using Apple Metal, macOS’s native graphics API technology. A Mac Universal installer ships, so users on older Intel Macs are also well-served with this update.

Other New Features

McNeel says the Layer Manager is completely rewritten from the ground up. It also features new capabilities, including a search bar to help users work with large amounts of layers, and support for section styles which aid the assignment of section styles per layer when a clipping plane is used for creating sections and elevations for documentation.

Dynamic 2D drawings are created with new capabilities in version 8. These apply to sections and elevations of models.

New, improved drag and drop helps users reparent layers and manage layers in general. And you can still use arrows to arrange and define hierarchies of layers.

Pertinent to architecture, Rhino 8 adds new capabilities in the areas of clipping and sectioning. New is the ability to output vector geometry in dynamic 2D. When a model changes so too will the outputted vector geometry updating sections and elevations, for example. Various dynamic output is auto-organized into layers where users can control the visibility of the parts of the output.

Selective clipping planes enable sophisticated “peel away” views through parts of models or whole models, as shown above.

Selective clipping is another new area useful for AEC users like architects and engineers. With selective clipping, you can cut through models turning off the display of just parts of the model. This reveals parts of the model hidden behind other objects. When well organized in layers, this technology feature can help users create model views like the one shown below.

Lastly, section styles enable objects and layers to be visualized with various hatch, fill, and boundary settings. This enhances the visuals in section drawings, in particular.

Grasshopper & Other Items

Rhino 8 with Grasshopper includes numerous new features, including Rhino Data Types, that allow you to bake geometry with custom attributes. For example, you can bake a display color choice for on a geometry layer.

Advancements in Grasshopper in Rhino 8 allow for dynamic annotation, text and hatches driven by GS node scripts and control panels.

Grasshopper 8 now supports the ability to document designs with annotation, hatch, and line-type components. As a slider is moved in, Grasshopper output is dynamically adjusted, including not just the geometry but the 2D views of that geometry with dynamically adjusted dimensions, hatches, and annotation. New in version 8 is the ability to create custom blocks in Grasshopper.

Rhino 8 also brings a new code editor, supports CPython, and .NET 7 as part of McNeel’s free SDKs and with API improvements.

To learn more, visit McNeal online.


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