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



Hi all,

Now that you guys are discussing the UI…I have to point out that after a lot of years of teaching and introducing new users to Rhino, some of the icons need a little re-work.

Just take the “Lines” toolbar as an example:


If you can perfectly see those white lines over a light gray background and that size…you are lucky. That’s one reason why I end up recommending people to install a dark theme (not only because the icons…).

About stream-lining the UI and improving the UX, I think that minimalism is your friend, without ending up in interfaces like new windows 10 apps in which you don’t know if certain texts are clickable or not because the lack of visual features giving you a hint about it.

So yeah, I would say that little improvements can be done, as little by little as you want to don’t disturb developers too much.


P.S.: I’m one of the group of people thinking that the “band-aid” logo was a really nice missed opportunity of bringing some fresh air into RH image :stuck_out_tongue:


Hi there, I would say that for me the user interface is quite “useless” an ugly, but then again I don’t really use it that much, I would be pretty happy only with a flat dark version of the Viewport, the command line like a text editor similar to Sublime, the Main Menu, and Grasshopper with simpler icons as the main UI.
I tend to use rhino more like a presentation tool instead of using pdf or videos, In this way I can maintain the functionality of the scripts without having to work on a presentation file(a big waste of time). In these way the software is at same time the presentation.

(Nathan 'jesterKing' Letwory) #43

Interface is gradually moved to using a cross-platform GUI library (Eto.Forms), this is so we can work towards feature parity between the Mac and Windows versions of Rhino. Under the hood more and more of the GUI is replaced with WPF, but it is generally done so that you don’t see (big) changes in the user facing part.

With much of the effort focused on bring the Mac version of v6 up to speed I don’t think there are plans in the near future. But GUI work is being done all the time.

(Tom) #44

Well, I think everyone agrees that improvement in GUI is nothing wrong. But I think you exaggerate.
In the end its a tool, and if you want to saw metal, you cannot chose a wood saw, just because they have newer, better design. This is exactly what you are doing. You comparing apples with oranges and quoting people who probably never had any need using a Nurbs platform. I constantly use 3 different CAD platforms and all of them have old UI. So what… And let us not to forget that Rhino is extremely inexpensive for the diversity and quality of tools it has.

Not even talking about the newish policy of many companies (often starting with the letter A) of charging yearly fees and all you get are bugfixes and a “better” experience (UI) as they constantly advertise…


Rhino icons are miniature pictures of objects. It seems that colors of the objects are random. About two years ago I proposed a few rules: points are red, lines are green, surfaces are blue, isocurves are yellow, meshes are magenta, imaginary lines are cyan, solid edges and text are black, background is white. Original objects have light colors. Final objects have dark colors.


No, they are not… https://wiki.mcneel.com/rhino/rhinoicons


Change the UI to look better? Why, I cannot find any reason fo change, the look is not serious reason - maybe it si due that my job is not graphics but tooling for automotive?.
Some commands I type, some I select from toolbars and some from menus.
Personally I really don’t like dark schemes


It is called Standard palette and it is nearly random. My color scheme provides much more useful information.

(Nathan 'jesterKing' Letwory) #49

An what way random? grayscale values for normal objects (the black default wireframe and gray in shaded mode), blue tints for important objects, yellow tints for selected objects (you know, like the default selection color), and axis colors as with their default colors… Beats me what here is random.


The Standard palette is shown below. I have no clue why it restricts rendition shades to three colors and why Z-axis is ignored.

Distinction between “regular objects”, “emphasized objects”, and “selected objects” is arbitrary and useless. If an object is not important, do not show it in the icon. Very few icons need correct axis colors. What is important is distinction between original and final objects, and distinction between different types of objects: points, lines, surfaces, meshes, edges of solids, and imaginary lines. (For example, axes are imaginary lines.)

(Tom) #51

Maybe someone likes to draw some icons and sharing it here. That would be awesome to see. Basically I’m using Curve, Surface and Brep toolbar quite often. :slight_smile:

(jesterKing) #52

Arbitrary yes, but following the existing usage of colors. Useless? I disagree, since the colors already tell you a lot. What you are looking for is a form language to convey information.


A scheme makes limited sense though, if many users don’t grab its logic right away :o)

If there’s plans to create a dark mode you should consider a monochromatic icon set (including all non user-accessible icons inside panels). Dark GUIs with full colour icons look just horrible. A good example is Photoshop, its greyscale iconography just works and never appears loud.Just for comparison:


They are horrible when the colors are random. They are beautiful when every color provides useful and well documented information.

(jesterKing) #55

Funny you should say that, after linking to the document that, well, documents that information.


This is an odd reasoning – you state that GUI Design used in CG programs by principle won’t work in CAD.
I can’t see the slightest evidence for this. The fact that that slick looking CAD programs don’t exist doesn’t prove that alternative methods would fail.

In my perception the look and feel of a the program is far more a selling point in this area of digital design and obviously far more important to the individual user. Serious, interesting discussions on GUI Design fill several threads with hundreds and even thousands of contributions in the Blender forums. Users post countless GUI Mockups and even create numerous custom skins, including full iconography.

I have never seen similar in any CAD forum.


I don’t agree :o)

(Tom) #58

I’m not saying this. I probably should have quoted. I was answering to the statement, that people won’t chose Rhino because of its “bad” UI, and they rather choose a polygon modeller with an nice UI. But obviously this is a really odd argument, because you should choose the tool best suited for your task.

(Rob Hoekstra) #59

Don’t go there.
All these new gui’s district from what it is about. Buttons should not scream for attention but be supportive to the task to be done.


Ok, that makes a lot more sense to me. Sorry for the confusion.

If one chooses to move the existing GUI to Eto, even with a conservative approach there would at least be a chance to fix decades old bugs. Such as the main menu still displaying the default keyboard shortcut after having assigned a custom one. Maybe @nathanletwory wants to have a look.

Answering to the previous version of your post: I agree on Photoshop. Blender is likely most appealing to people who are willing to memorize several dozens of keyboard shortcuts – it like Photoshop can get run without GUI too. The upcoming Blender-release is going to have a lot more icons for those who prefer buttons for everything.