Blocks management in Grasshopper

I think it’s obvious to all of us. McNeel leaves the space of certain functionalities free for third party developers, but I don’t think this is one of them. If it’s not integrated into GH or it has some weak points it’s half done. If you want this to go up in McNeel’s priorities, the best thing you can do is give them good reasons. If you don’t want to wait for them, the best thing you can do is pay for someone to develop what you need. The other option is to settle for what there is.

Correct me if I’m wrong (if not you can ignore me, no problem), as a general view, if you modeled everything with GH in a procedural way, you wouldn’t have this problem, would you? So this is to include Rhino in the modeling process, right? If GH can better support complex and heavy projects would also be beneficial to your workflow, wouldn’t it? Or can’t you use GH alone for other reasons?

I won’t ignore you Dani, your question is interesting.
I’m sure this will sound obvious to many, but I can understand that it is not the case for people dealing with smaller projects or “One of’s” like in sculpture, jewelry, …

We deal both with “standard” projects which are variations of our core products (sports facilities), and with “Special” projects like this one.
In both cases, we try to make use of Grasshopper as much as we can, but the reality of the matter is that “Manual” modeling is almost always required.
And even if GH generates all the geometry, there will always be special attributes to add down the line, adaptations to be made, etc…

Therefore, we need the ability to change attributes of any subset of our part-assembly structure, and we need to do that fast, easily, and without crashing.
We need control over the digital dataset which is our model, because in the end, this is what makes us profitable and keeps that pinkish hue on our cheeks.

If we were a normal lighting design studio, BIM is the answer. But we don’t just place down lights and and make lux calculations. Were creating massive individual pieces of art every project with vastly different and custom products and arrangements that change on a daily basis during the design process. BIM would crush us creatively, but there are features that we are desperate for. e.g block management, lights in blocks (please!) and proper 2D drawings! (I find it absolutely astounding how bad this is in rhino. No VisualArq is not a solution. I have some pent up hate for it)

Unfortunately we can’t just dump rhino, (I’ve looked into it a lot) but if something good enough came up I would jump ship so fast! I need to get the job done, not hold sentimental allegiances.


To add to what Oliver commented, I would say that grasshopper can be part of the solution but not the definitive answer. We have to take into consideration that, most people in a design team, don’t know any kind of programming knowledge, and even if grasshopper is visual, it’s still code and it is not straightforward for the average user. IMO, forcing people to use grasshopper for basic features as blocks would be quite dangerous and could frighten off many Rhino users. Also, there are many tasks that are just way more intuitive and faster to do it using direct modeling.
IMO the solution is quite “easy”, improve rhino blocks from scratch and add that functionality to grasshopper natively. With this solution we would have best of both scenarios.


Seems to me you guys need to use another software like @PeterFotiadis does. It is like using Paint to do what Photoshop does. Sure Paint is simple and nice, and Photoshop is a battleship but that’s how things work.

Peter, do you mind hopping in? How do you deal with blocks and in these types of construction? Does Bentley Systems apps offer a complete parametric block implementation?

Not at all, I don’t even use Elefront that much.
The things you are showing are multiple levels of complexity below the Morpheus Hotel. Is should be more than enough for you.

Hardly, it is an almost no cost operation. Replacing old geometry with new geometry is what Elefront is for.

Um no, I simply asked “why” in order to help you. People have a right to ask why you need to do x thing instead of assuming.

On the other hand, it definitely seems like you are telling McNeel employees how to do their job. Do you honestly believe they don’t have people specifically working on deciding what to prioritize? What do develop next? Considering multiple variable, audience, resources, time, if enough people would use it, if it would help to stay relevant in the market, etc etc.

You are just one guy, who everyone around him needs Blocks in GH and for some reason does not want to use Elefront. That is your data. McNeel has access to all the data. And what do they see? Most likely that you and the people that need a better block implementation represent the 0,1% people that use Rhino. All the rest don’t need it, is OK with the current implementation, or using Elefront is enough.

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Thanks for your input.

Bye bye now.

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Please explain the fact that to this day, ten years on, there is still no support for baking geometry in Grasshopper. It is considered a “custom” request. Expressing frustration about it or about the difficulty of finding one’s way through the APIs to do it yourself has led to scolding and a threat… So yes, if they are prioritizing, they are doing it wrong.

Baking geometry? Or Baking geometry with attributes? If that is the case, why prioritize something that is already possible? That would be a really bad way of prioritizing.

Meh, don’t bother Joseph.
The kind of fellow who tells you that you should not be asking for this or that…they’re juste a waste of time.


We disagree. Apparently you have swallowed the Kool-Aid. In theory, anything “is already possible” if you can write the code yourself or settle for someone else’s plugin(s). Neither of those options is an acceptable answer for a mature product.

Twelve years ago I was delighted with the Layout utility in SketchUp Pro. It was easy to learn and very powerful. I’ve tried Rhino layout and failed completely so far. Again, unacceptable.


Grasshopper is far from mature.

Edit: Still does not contradict the fact that it would be a bad way of prioritizing. And having a plug-in is not the same as having to code your custom tool. Don’t put everything into the same box, that’s being very ungrateful with the people that do this stuff for free, investing their own time into it, hours and hours of work, even support when they don’t have any obligation to do so.

Just think it logically. If David would haven been wasting time making Human plug-in native, you would lose more than you gain. Grasshopper 2 would be expected for 2022 or more instead of this year or the next.

The same happens with SketchUp’s block system, super easy to use and really powerful, and again it’s been like that since forever…


@ShynnSup please kindly stop taking up space in this thread by quashing legitimate unrest about McNeel’s lack of action on making some of these improvements.

I myself was trained as an architect so I know all about the intricacies of BIM and the “Paint to Photoshop” analogy is not only patronising but also totally incorrect, multi-disciplinary designers who are operating alone or in small studios (a LARGE part of the user base who use rhino not 0.1%) do not share the same copybook house/landscape projects that Revit/Dynamo and ArchiCAD are tailor-made for, we require versatility.

Wanting a more refined Block system both inside GH and out is not some niche feature as you seem to make out, this should be bread and butter for any CAD application. Yes, plugins like VisualARQ and Elefront make attempts to compensate for Rhino’s shortcomings but they require constant maintenance and bug fixes that can drive anyone who wants a reliable workflow crazy.
Do you really think I should have to fork out $795 (VisualARQ license) to have the capability of Vector printing in a “CAD” Program?!

Suggesting McNeel shouldn’t prioritise the needs of experienced day-in, day-out users is a dangerous path to take when it comes to ensuring relevance of 3D software, look at the mass exodus of 3Ds max users who jumped ship to Blender last year after almost a decade of non-innovation. I’m not suggesting Rhino is in that situation yet but some of the requests brought up in this thread have been crying out since before V5…



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WOW! You have got to be taking the piss. Stop wasting our time!

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You have no right to request that. In other words, please kindly stop from expressing your opinion, it wastes space. Ridiculous and utterly offensive. Even more, when my posts are the most contributing in terms of helping the OP solve his present day problem, thing I actually did by providing a working solution. Who are you to tell me my posts waste space?! Amazing.

Moreover, if the result of my opinion, for you, is “quashing legitimate unrest” then I must be doing quite a good job proving you wrong. Rest assure that I will continue to express my opinion whether it quashes yours or not. And if it does, if I were you, I would question the legitimacy of my complains. It appears, my opinions don’t get easily rejected as invalid/quashed like yours.

How is that patronizing?! The analogy isn’t patronizing nor wrong. Rhino was not designed for Architects. Period. That is a fact. All these things you ask it is lacking because architects were never, are not, and possibly never will be the main target audience.
Also, if I remember correctly, @osuire has expressed multiple times how he finds Rhino simple and nice. That’s what Paint is. Simple and nice, but for some reason, he is trying to turn Rhino into a BIM modeller, which it is not. Do you think Industrial Designers use BIM? They don’t. There are many BIM modellers out there which do all the things you require and more. Revit is a battleship, why should Rhino (Paint) do what Revit does?! Rhino is already extremely good at what it was designed to do.

Sure, in utopia, we would all love our software having the best from both worlds right? Being simple, easy, tidy, while having the functionality of +10 software, all in one. Guess what, no can’t do. You love grasshopper but don’t have blocks. Well, consider changing to Dynamo and sacrifice some of the things you love.

How good of a reason do you think this is? Seriously?

I don’t know about VisualARQ, but Elefront is quite reliable. Check out this:
I don’t think I can estimate how much that feature costs to develop or implement in Rhino. Oh wait, VisualARQ already did that, then I guess their estimate must be the most accurate one.

You can always go Revit for $2,425 a year… VisualARQ seems like quite a good deal.

This is quite funny actually, you are actually demanding McNeel to develop for you for FREE what VisualARQ offers for $795. Wouldn’t that be nice huh?

From VisualARQ FAQs:

Is VisualARQ a McNeel Product?

VisualARQ has been developed by Asuni CAD, a company specialized in software development and distribution for architectural design, engineering, landscaping and industrial design. Based in Barcelona, Asuni CAD and McNeel Europe belong to the same company group, working in close collaboration with this and other projects.

I wonder if group refers to as a corporate group, as in a single economic entity group…

I trust McNeel more than everyone to take this decision and evaluate the pros and cons, as this is their economic sustain. If Rhino dies, you change software nothing happens, McNeel loses their entire business. They are the ones wanting their software to remain relevant, more than anyone on this thread.

@osuire and company when I try to help them solve their problems with Elefront :joy:

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@ShynnSup … i’m not attempting to censor you but rather suggest that if possible we could leave this thread to highlight people’s misgivings and suggestions for improvement about the current state of block instances in Rhino.

it’s already degenerated into a bit of a playground fight atmosphere… if you could refrain from posting any more manifestos and/or memes, as it’s clear no one here sees you as the hero you seem to think we need.


That’s the exact definition of ungrateful.

There is a dedicated thread for that. No need to duplicate it everywhere. That is more of disservice to the community than what you are accusing me of.