A complete UI overhaul of Rhino would be a much welcomed move


(Nathan 'jesterKing' Letwory) #21

I know, I was part of the team that worked on the 2.5x rewrite which started back in 2006/2007 :slight_smile:


Menu icons would help to learn what an icon on a toolbars means.

They would only waste screen space.

How that?
Do you mean the slightly increased width?
How does this harm?

The icons and menus are used by novices only because they are slow.

Because they are slow?
No, because they are easy to access.

Intermediate users (like me) have memorized the commands. They type first letters of each command and rely on autocomplete. Advanced users made two-letter abbreviations of common commands.

Wow, you are good.

There are also users who want to just use the software in a comfy way.
They don’t have the idea to alter the UI or to learn abbreviations.
I don’t know for sure, but from my experience this is the majority of users.


I agree with @ANDhitecture and I don’t understand why everyone is so critical of his suggestion. They make it sound like the only improvement is changing everything completely. That somehow Rhino is already perfect as it is because “it works”.

As a UX Designer this is the usual reaction I get from stakeholders all the time and its a constant battle. That’s why in UX we take a scientific user-first approach. That means, we don’t just make stuff look good or new, but we test and we let users decide what works for them. Along the way we apply principles of best-practices (ie. stuff that has been tested before).

So to say that Rhino is perfect as it is, is simply impossible. Especially when no user testing has been done to confirm this. While I think that Rhino is a great tool and I love using it, there are so many ways to improve the usability and UI, both functionally as well as aesthetically. And yes, a large part of a good user experience is related to a user interface being beautiful.

I use Grasshopper a lot and now that it is part of Rhino permanently, I would love to see some of the very polished UI make it to Rhino.

The biggest mistake you can make is not do anything and just assume everyone wants things to stay the same. Unless you have data to back up your claim that things are already perfect and the UI and usability of your software is best in class, you shouldn’t stop improving.

I for one would much welcome a redesign of Rhino (and the whole Website, Logo, etc. while you’re at it), but it has to be done properly.

(Nathan 'jesterKing' Letwory) #24

and would take a huge amount of time (which is not to say I don’t think it should be done).

And doing a good one without breaking existing plug-ins (not requiring a huge rewrite), will be extraordinarily hard. To illustrate: the rewrite of Blender for the 2.5x series took more than 1.5years (see my playlist for the first 18 months). Not only took it a huge amount of time, it also meant that all (read: each and every one) existing plug-ins had to be rewritten. I don’t think then existed the same ‘constraints’ as we have here.

Rhino is continually being improved, but I don’t agree with the assumption that the assumption is everyone wants things to stay the same. It is not the case, rather the matter is more complex than “just” a new (G)UI with improved UX. In any case I’m sure we keep working on making the product better each day, and time will show what sorts of improvements we can pull off, whilst keeping users as happy as possible.

I’m sure this is what we do on a daily basis. I’m also sure opinions on the success rate of that vary.

A full rewrite - sounds cool, would be cool to work on. Feasible? I’d say not at this time, but who knows what the future holds.


I don’t mind the interface so much - it could be improved of course.
What bothers me much more is the usage of the horrible, old, buggy and outdated ‘Windows Forms’.
Every a bit more complex panel (e.g. Material editor) redraws like its 1996.
And with windows 10 we cant even change the white background of panels anymore.

While programming rhino plugins it actually was sometimes the reason for bottlenecks: while the opengl part was doing fine, some realtime ui panel updates slowed down the whole system.

I understand that reworking this is a huge project, but it should have been done already 10 years ago…
The way it looks now, rhino7 will have the same 20 year old ui tech running…

(Tom) #26

Is it just me? But I don’t think its that bad and aged looking. Its technical yes. But seriously, compared to other CAD software …


it probably does need to be ‘sexed’ up a bit, made visually appealing to new designers entering the industry, yet keeping the functionality which Rhino users enjoy :slight_smile: , and no I don’t have any idea of how to do it or what it should look like :blush:


I like the Rhino interface - especially on OS X, with the ‘active’ screen edges. It works well and the icons are also simple and nice. Less is more.



You are not alone.
Which doesn’t mean it couldn’t be better.

The appearance is relevant especially to attract prospective users.

Functionality of the Rhino interface: User preferences depend on workflow and preferred methods of working.

In this respect the UI is quite good.
It offers several methods to start and handle commands.
You can use the short methods (typing, aliases), and you can use menus and icons.

There are some crude things in the UI that should be improved as soon as possible - not in V7.
E.g. holding Ctrl or Shift while hovering over the Osnaps.
And the click count in the cascading toolbar system.
And the large empty areas in the UI.
And and and.

UI and appearance are not bad.
As always, there’s room for improvement.


Yes, they are very good.

Less is more.

Unnecessary stuff always leads to confusion.

(Tom) #31

In my opinion a true support for a “dark mode” would be good.


Yes, and at best easily accessible and not hidden in deeper options.

I would like to see something like this:


Charles wrote: I only need to hover the mouse over such a button, and the toolbar pops out automatically.

Yes, this is good idea. Another good idea is filling entire Rhino screen with icons. Most icons would disappear when you press the space bar or run any command. Right-clicking an icon would display context-sensitive help.


When you hover cursor over an icon (button), a tooltip (short text) appears and displays name of the command.


Do you think I didn’t know?
It has nothing to do with icons in menus.

(Toshe Andonov) #36

For the sake of this discussion, I’ve invited my neighbors from across the street, /graphic designers/, to give me their opinion on Rhino.
Their comments were a bit harsh, but this is looked at with a “fresh set of eyes” since they have never heard of or have ever seen Rhino.
disclaimer - these dudes have always used, exclusively, the Adobe Suite.

I’ve shown them the white skin that comes “out of the box” and my customized - not fully - “dark” skin.
The first guy went:

Looks like a Windows 95 program. This looks very bad man. I’ve always been critical on what Adobe is doing with its UI, but come on…

The second guy took his time looking around and told me:

Looking at everything inside the “working area” [what we call the viewports] things look very nice and sharp.
I know that it’s a combination of what the software does and on your end, but still, it looks very good. [I was preparing a project for printing, so everything was neatly organized and set up]
But looking outside the borders everything looks outdated.
3D software’s always looked confusing to me, but the look at everything here is just bad.
The side panels are awful. The iconography as well [pointing out to the “save” toolbar collection].
It just gives me the feeling of a very old program ported to Windows 10.

This is what I wanted to point out from the start and exactly what I was talking about.

As some said already:

I honestly doubt that a new user, that’s just getting into 3D, on his/her own, will choose Rhino straight away.
I know I didn’t. I knew about Rhino since I started Architecture school, but the whole interface and the lack of resources [back then], to get me started and understand the basic workflow, just took me in another direction. It was many years after, I understood the potential of Rhino, and took upon myself to switch completely.

‘’ We hate because we love’’. I’d love to see Rhino get a better looking GUI.
The enjoyment I feel when working on a project, cos of its capability would be increased, with a better looking piece of software infront of me.

I’m preaching to all of my colleagues that they need to switch to Rhino.
Some are comfortable where they are [it reminds me of the people here, that don’t want to hear of chage]. Some say looks way too complicated. I bet, after they look into Rhino, the interface is a huge drawback, which keeps them from even trying it out. These are the same as the previous ones, but at least they are willing to try it.

We can’t just compare Blender to Rhino as freely as that. Blender is open-source and its built in a completely different way - mostly by the community [in their spare time].
McNeel is a private company that charges [more and more with each new release] for its product.
It’s small, true, but none-the-less, I’d go as far as saying that they have a greater responsibility to their customers to keep their software relevant, “under the hood” as well as in keeping with the times and the design trends. After all, this is a creative piece of software, used by creatives, and those people deserve a better-looking interface.

Nobody here is saying that they want the capabilities of Rhino to change, due to getting a better looking “screenshot”. They can make the best looking interface design, but if the function of the software suffers, it would be a complete waste.

Rhino will go into version 7 by next year [probably] - /please, please, don’t switch to an annual release cycle/ and the interface hasn’t changed since version 3.


“Perfection is attained not when there is nothing left to add but when there is nothing left to take away.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

(Nathan 'jesterKing' Letwory) #38

I know (remember, I have typed for a decade on Blender code). Also, a lot of the development is no longer just pro bono, nor spare time. Many developers are paid - even I made a living out of Blender development for several years.

But from my perspective as developer on both Blender and Rhino I think Blender dev community had, and still has, the greater freedom of actually breaking forward and backward compatibility big time as compared to Rhino, precisely because there is no charge, and change comes inherent to the open source model - people are more inclined to accept bigger breaking changes. (No, I don’t mean just the visual part of the program that faces the user).

Again: yes, we strive to improve.

:open_mouth: and I have yet to start typing on v7 code

It actually has already in many places, you just don’t see it yet. Maybe when that work is completed some unifying styling could happen. We’ll see.

(Toshe Andonov) #39

I’ve just noticed that you are from McNeel. Hi! :grinning:
I read that somewhere. It felt strange, but official. I hope that we have few years to get out of v6.

Please explain further. What has changed? I agree, some bits and pieces have, since the “old days”, but let’s be real - It wouldn’t matter if you open v3 or v6, everything is basically the same.
Of course, there were changes along the way, but all-in-all, Rhino has always looked and felt the same - with it’s good and bad sides.

So, will we see anything on this front? Are there any plans on dedicating some time and resources on revamping the UI?


Bforartists is a project that might be inspiring in this discussion. It is some kind of UI-modification for Blender.