Big meshes Autocad vs. Rhino

Hi all,

for testing purposes I have to import a few big meshes on which I worked on in rhino without much problems in Autocad… this is soooo painful, I dont know if im doing it wrong but I dont think so… the performance of ACAD is just plain awful compared to rhino, I am so glad I do not have to use this program on a daily basis …

I am currently searching for a good exchange file format which would include texture mapping information / coordinates and can handle a large polygon count and is able to be imported into ACAD…

Any ideas ?

best regards


obj is likely your best bet…you may be able to use vrml, or unity’s format as well… but I always use obj if textures are involved.

is is possible to decimate the mesh in a program like zbrush? (or reducemesh command in rhino) It’s likely you could reduce the polygon count dramatically, however that will mess with your texture mapping…

Hi Kyle,

yes *.obj would be my preferred choice too, to bad this ACAD program does not import it … when I run the import command in ACAD, I have these options for 3D file formats that I know of:

3ds - can do textures but not high poly counts
Pro E

Rhino ! - tried this but does not seem to work (still waiting for the import process… but probably frozen…) with (large?)meshes, to my surprise a nurbs shoe model imported quite good…

solid works

the problem is that I would like to have a file format that could be used by the most important (architectural) CAD programs (ACAD, Archicad, Allplan…) but up to now I have not found a solution for this…

hmmm…looks like it is really looking for nurbs formats…

no other polygon options? no fbx?

rhino import with meshes may fail based on these import options.

ok, update… it finally imported the mesh, but it really took forever, the (test)mesh was only a fraction of the “real” mesh, so this will be a problem … not sure if it came with the mapping coordinates… ACAD is really a pain for me to work with… in contrast to small test geometry I created inside ACAD, I have not managed to assign a material to this “thing” inside ACAD…

yeah, you are pounding a screw in with a hammer I’m afraid…Acad is just not set up for using meshes…

I would say: obj, dae, or fbx.
fbx is an autodesk format so I would go with it
Anyway, A NURBS modeler has nothing to do with a REAL polygonal modeler (modo, max or even zbrush wich can handle zillions of polygons but it’s a different world) and vice versa.

well, thanks for the input, fbx import was recently removed from ACAD as I understand (its not an import option in the current version), nice downgrade autodesk :confused:

.obj is also not supported as I wrote above… as well as dae…

As for nurbs modeler : Rhino does a pretty decent job handling these meshes given it is not a poly modeler…
Its more that the other programs dont perform and lack the import options… especially “industry standard” ACAD!

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@piem im curious. so you say 3dsmax is capable to handle more meshes than rhino? even if the rhino file has no nurbs geometry but only meshes in it?

Hi Andy,

your available file format list looks horrible and so I would look for an Autocad plugin to work around. For example I would test Simlab composer. Maybe you can go the 3D PDF way:

Here I found an OBJ exporter:

Here an other 3D PDF exporter


It sounds normal.
But regarding the polygon count capabilities, I meant to say Zbrush does, and probably Modo.
Anyhow and hopefully Rhino remains a NURBS modeler (and that’s my wish).
Every mesh can be read by any polygonal modeler…

what do you imply?

sometimes, when working on a weak machine i duplicate every nurbs geo into meshes so i can work in real time. so thats helpful for many.
i just asked in the first place because i had the impression that 3dsmax viewport rendering is capable to handle large meshes better… but i couldnt tell if there was any substance to this.,

thank you Micha!
or as we say Dankeschön :wink:

What do you consider a large mesh? One with 5M faces or 50M or 500M? Rhino seems to handle 5M faces without a problem. With 50M faces I have to be patient. I cannot imagine dealing with a 500M face mesh in Rhino 6. What is your experience?

good question… when i use rhino for urban planning models and export to 3ds/or blender the viewport seem speedier there.
but i havent counted mesh faces. there are already 5 with each 300,000, but this is only topography. how can u sum up all meshes and in a document?

try Civil3d or Infraworks. these two apps will help

Rhino is getting better with meshes as well. This is a more often used format due to the increasing 3d printing market and will become an everyday need for a horde. In Rhino v7 the subdivision model and consequently stl work will become much better!

The trick is u need to import mesh/Polys that has not been subdivided yet. If u try to import top-level subdivision polys, it will not work. Rhino cannot handle 10mil-over poly/mesh

Few notes:

  • Rhino doesnt recognize Crease made by other polys model.

  • Smoothing group doesnt get imported to rhino.

  • any custom attribute assign to the vertex is not translated to rhino

  • try to weld verts after it succesfuly imported to rhino. Reducing verts count.

  • import part by part.

For exporting rhino mesh to other app:

  • I normally use 3DS or OBJ, but always keep it in the lowest subdivision level.

  • For UV texture there is no problem so far during exporting. It translate perfectly.

Hope that helps

@vcube Hi Andy, did you find a way? I suppose so FBX would be the best way, since it support instances. But I’m not sure the Rhino FBX support is fully working.

Hi Micha,
I tried all kinds of options but as far as I can tell there is no way to get textured 3d geometry of this kind into ACAD, so I gave up on that…