3d sketching in rhino? check it out

I’ve been playing with the idea of 3d sketching in rhino, and came across something interesting. All of this you can do in rhino right now.

(no comments on the crap sketch, I’m working on something here…) . :wink:

There are some other developments in the works that may make this a very cool feature assuming we can address some workflow needs-

changing the wacom pen settings as shown on the image allows you to run the sketch command, then draw lines.

a few things,
for a sharp corner you need to draw one line, lift then draw an other line-
the bend tool is great to start shaping curves once you lay them down in an ortho view-
gumball is great for moving points or curves in 3d space-
rebuild may be useful depending on mw many points are in your curves.
layering a sketch, then locking it and changing its color to light great is great for overlaying
moving the cplane is great if you want to drop a curve in a specific location in
I set up aliases for : sketch, setcplane origin, bend, and gumball relocate.

things I think we need,
modal undo so you remove last drawn curves-
modal cplane tools inside the sketch tool
modal rebuild inside the sketch tool
other ideas?


sketchy.3dm (275.4 KB)


This is great! :+1: However… I’d really like to have this working on Mac as well - using iPad + Apple Pencil as input devices. Please!
This is something I’ve been waiting for a long time. It would really make designing/sketching so much more natural and intuitive. Please, please make it happen on MacOS/iPad also :pray: :pray:
Thank you!



I’d also like to have a command/button for drawing bezier curves only (degrees 2 and 3).

Perhaps “selecting” degrees could be automatic… Drawing an arc shaped curve would automagically make a degree 2 crv - and drawing a S-shaped crv would generate a degree 3 crv.
What do you think?


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  • not only rebuild, but curve smoothing
  • “smart sketching”, that means shape recognition of straight line, curve, rectangle, ellipse, circle ecc
  • brush based deformation of curves
  • symmetry for sketching (similar to reflect in sub-d)

i have not tested it, but I’m assuming you could sidecar an ipad and do it that way… I’ll try it on my set up shortly.


love it, not sure of the technical requirements there, but it’s super early and this is at the “what could this turn into phase” so all ideas welcome.


EDIT: the new commands to use for tapered curves are TestObjectLinetype or TestLayerLinetype

for even more fun, in v8 there is a test command called testfancycurves that The Great Steve Bear is working on… they add quite a bit of “pretty” to 3d sketches,( if your sketch wasn’t crap to begin with like this one)



more fun. dupcurves on a model, join them all then apply fancy curves, then overlay them in different display modes-

modified pen mode with fancy curves overlaid.

artic mode with curves overlaid-
(tip, once you dup the curves, join them all so that the tapers make sense… if the curves are segmented it have wonky tapers all over…)




Just an idea, don’t know if it will be useful… To utilise the pen pressure for outputting different types of line types. This could allow for very fast and intuitive technical sketching.

_______. light to normal pressure, - - - - - - - past the 50% pressure [for hidden lines]


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I’d reverse that input, but I like the idea-

sure. it has to be user controlled with a threshold slider to adjust the transition.
Also can be used to sketch with 2 different colours.


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Hi @theoutside
Thanks for delving into this area. Nice work on the car.

Don’t you mean left click on the tip of the pen in your image? Right click on both brings up view rotation for me.

Norbert brings up the basic points well of what we need for lines and curves.
Sketch mode curves shouldn’t auto smooth the way they do all the time. There needs to be more wyswig in the drawing of curves and lines

Yea undo is needed.

Biggest hurdle is cplane we need a menu that lets us set this in the command while sketching.

But I like drawing on the mesh option, it we could move the mesh and scale it inside the sketch command and or move surfaces while in the command that would make it almost really 3dsketching. And pick surfs or meshes while were in that mode. Also a mode where wireframes don’t show through and the sketch lines don’t disappear which they do in some of the viewmodes like shaded when one draws on a mesh.

I’m finding technical is best for drawing on meshes so that you can kind of draw all your basic planes at once

Also Sketch should have the option let us draw on a polysurface not just a surface.
Looking forward to how this evolves.

just tried it and it works via sidecar … bit fiddly though

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My take on it after currently trying it…
Lineworks a bit of a pain to do, it’s not responsive enough yet.
Circles need to be circles and not straight lines
Lines and sharper angles need to be straight and not turn into limpid curves. Now one has to draw with the pen in short strokes it’s not really artist friendly yet.
Ocassionaly the command stays in this weird scribble mode and has to be canceled
If tech can make the pen strokes more responsive to what the user actually draws it will be really nice, currently the change of linework into limpid curves stunts one ideas. But Rhino’s not a pen app I know
In drawing it’s called bone style.
Still despite the caveats it would be great if this could evolve.
Heres my quick example sketch

Somewhat related, there is a great plugin Crayon by @Alasdair
Crayon | Food4Rhino

It implements a lot of interesting ideas when it comes to sketching and markups in Rhino.
You can keep the markups organized on layers, draw on objects or cplanes, keep the lines as 2D or “bake” them into Rhino objects and more… Very powerful for it’s current price of $20, I highly recommend everyone to check it out.



this looks pretty handy.
any chance of a mac version too @Alasdair ?

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Thanks @Jarek for the shoutout :smiley:

@furtonb no Mac version planned right now unfortunately. As pointed out above, sidecar would be pretty great with it though…

What is in your opinion the best brand to buy for a Wacom tablet?

Line profiles has always seen like an easy possible win for rhino. I might hae posted it somewhere else before. But, as an example, a curve setting like curve piping, but where you specify a profile ( maybe a pipe from zero, to one, to zero; or maybe a swept profile that is a 2d curve).

Essentially, illustrator type tools for all the linework possibilities which Rhino already outperforms Adobe Illustrator at. IIRC, this is what gravity sketch kind ofdid too, to make 3d curve sketches look a bit more fancy/design-ey.