Architectural rendering on a Mac

I’m a first year architecture student, and I need some help with rendering my models. I like modelling in Rhino a lot, but I have trouble deciding where and how to render what I make. The build in renderer in Rhino is no good to me, since I need photo-realistic results. I tried Maxwell for Sketchup, but it’s very troublesome, since you have to export your models, then import, and mostly because maxwell for sketchup is so very limited.
You have to understand, that as a student, I have a very limited budget, and i’m not willing to spend more than 100$ on any piece of software. However, the full editions of vray or maxwell (which i know produce fantastic results), both cost around 900 dollars. I do use pirated software (i’m not ashamed to admit it), but some pirated software for mac is very hard to find (e.g. vray for mac).
What are some good and cheap (or available on piratebay) programs/plugins for photorealistic rendering on a mac, preferably integrated with rhino? And don’t say brazil or flamingo cuz they dont come close to vray… i have considered rendering in maya (using built-in mental ray), or in blender… my last resort would be installing windows as well and doing my renders there :confused:

How much did you spend on your Mac?

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Yeah, switch to a PC and the price difference will pay for render software… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:



I’m an architect and use the Mac OS X and Windows version to build my models.

My personal experience shows me that, yes, vray produces brilliant results and is my personal choice. But there is more to architectural visualization than an good rendering engine. For example good textures and advanced skills in Adobe PS.

There is no need to buy e.g. Cinema4D and the Vray plugin in first year of architecture school. Just an advice. Wait a while and then don’t hesitate to grab V4D and Vray


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You need some good external application - like Cinema 4D, Modo or Blender. Rhino + any rendering plugin is not enough. I’m fed up fighting with poor texturing and mapping in Rhino. Modo 701 can import Rhino 4 files directly.

I am in fact very good with PS :slight_smile: and sadly, our school has quite high expectations for project presentations (including renders)… i think i’ll wait a few months 'till new macbooks come out, and than install a virtual machine running windBlows, where I will run rhino or 3ds with vray, or maybe just 3ds with mental ray (all free for students, but only on windows)

I have Blender, but I find it very confusing. It’s great that it’s free and all, has a great built-in renderer, but open-source also means glitchy, unorganised, and there are not many resources for learning blender… but thanks for your insight into rendering in rhino :slight_smile: i didn’t know texturing was an issue

Actually You are far, far from the truth about Blender! Here are my personal bookmarks for learning Blender - the problem is there are too MANY resources to learn Blender :)) :smile:

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thank you for all the links :slight_smile: i know my disliking of blender is a bit irrational, and i will definitely dig into these tutorial when i get a chance!

i already know and use indigo but if i were starting from scratch with rendering or needing to learn a new app, i’d definitely have a look at cheetah3d

$100 and supposedly, it’s pretty great.

Cheetah3d ? interesting, never even heard of it, what is it like for furniture, products or interior scenes ??

i haven’t checked it out for years (this thread is 4 years old :wink: )

i remember the rendering features looked sweet back then but as far as modeling furniture and products, i think it would be pretty bad… there aren’t any coordinate systems in the program…

meaning, there aren’t any scales available to the user such as inches or millimeters… you’re instead just modeling by eye so modeling a piece of real world furniture likely wouldn’t be very good with the application.

(that said, things may of changed now in cheetah3D and i’m giving bad info regarding modeling with dimensions)

As a student, you qualify for discounted software. (No one told you? Ask smarter people!) All you have to do is set up an account and scan your ID. Easy. Rhino is $1000 retail and $125 for students. This is a ridiculously sweet deal.

I recommend using Novedge for all of your educational software needs. Here is a direct link to V-Ray for Rhino, the best rendering engine for architecture. It’s $134 so, I say, close enough for your crazy low budget!

DO NOT download software that is pirated. The criminals who steal the software do not do it because they are nice people. You computer system will probably get compromised. I’ve seen students in my school have to buy a new hard drive and re-install their OS to get rid of malware & viruses.

EDIT. I just noticed that you are on a Mac. Unfortunately, you have far fewer options, as most plug-ins are not made for the Mac version of Rhino. If you’re serious about 3D, you might consider getting a used PC.

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@schultzeworks the OP has initiated this thread more than 4 years ago, he probably has given up architecture long ago or is (hopefully for him) in the master classes already i am not sure if he needs those tips still :joy: sorry could not resist.

why do you think so? tons of alternatives i would say and hey we have rhino for mac,
thats most important anyway :smiley:

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The impression is that you have paid little respect to the fact that you are in a “confidential” forum at Rhino Mac. In the end, if you do not have other solutions (modify the complete post) write to consider a PC. ?!?
I attended a V Ray course, where my teacher had 100% assured me that I could install V ray on Mac (at the time Rhino Mac was still in beta). Then during the course, he understood his mistake … he gave me your own “advice” … ( Rhino Pc)