Commitment to a new Program?

I’ve invested a couple or more years and over a grand in the Sketchup program. There’s much to recommend it. But…

There’s also a chronic ‘beta’ quality about the interface and plugins, and rganic modeling is never satisfying or simple enough.

I’m very grateful that I"m allowed to try this new version for Mac. I wonder however how much I’ll be required to pay for the program once it’s properly released. I understand from the notes that compatibility with SU files is not on the list for the first version, which of course gives me pause. What to do with all my previous work?

I think it would be a very positive and encouraging move to market to the SU crowd. Indeed, with all the installed user base, and all the product models available in the Google warehouse, I think a great number of designers would be ready to move over to a more professional program line Rhino if they could maintain the usefulness of years of their previous work.

I don’t know the downsides of programming compatibility with other applications, so I’ve only a vague notion of what I’m suggesting. But all the same, there’s a very large and growing users market for SU. Opening that door may well bring in a significant amount of buyers.

The fundamental problem there is SU is a mesh modeler. It is not accurate enough or smooth enough for manufacturing. It is an ‘Ideas’ tool.

Rhino is a NURBS based tool intended for manufacturing from the start.
It’s not possible to ‘automagically’ reverse engineer a faceted mesh into a smooth, accurate, surface model in a way that is quick or easy.

I like that term “automagically”!

So from what I’ve read, the translation of a NURB to a mesh is not as much of a problem and the reverse. Does that imply that there could be at least a one-way file transfer (R to SU) easily-enough facilitated?

Absolutely. It is trivially easy to make a mesh from a surface model. That mesh can then be exported to the SKP file format.
It is a long, slow, slog to make surfaces from the reference of a faceted mesh.

Well, with that in mind, I’d request you include an export to SU(mesh) option in the first release. At least then I could justify the addition of Rhino to the design workflow.

SketchUp import and export was added to Rhino back in Rhino V4. It’s in V5 and will be in V6 too. I don’t t think it will be in Mac Rhino when released because I don’t think there are any OS X developer tools for SketchUp.

I use both sketchup and rhino.
I find they can complement each other very well, depending on what you are drawing / designing.
I would strongly suggest you try/buy “moi”. This program is sometimes called the “sketchup of nurbs”. It reads and writes rhino files, using 3dm as its native format (its coded by the guy that originally created rhino way back when it was an autocad plug-in).
I don’t use a mac, but on windows you can even cut and paste between rhino / moi.
It doesn’t have all the features rhino does, but its core modelling tools are great, and very straight forward, and will run on a mac. (
Anyway, if you want to keep sketchup in the mix, moi has an excellent sketchup export - (currently far better than rhino’s) - that will export clean models that will readily push/pull in sketchup.


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SketchUp import and export was added to Rhino back in Rhino V4. It’s in V5
and will be in V6 too. I don’t t think it will be in Mac Rhino wen released
because there is no OS X developer tools for SketchUp.

Unfortunately, we are waiting on SU to provide 64-bit libraries. No word from them when or if they will have them. Currently they are only support 64-bit on Windows.

I think developer Tim managed a slight-of-hand maneuver to get the 32-bit SKP libraries to work through 64-bit Rhino.
I just looked in 32 and 64-bit V5 and they are there for import and export.

That was on Windows… the Mac is a different story. It might be possible but it might be a project for Marlin.

The Mac is a different story indeed! I’ve no love for the Apple corporation anymore, but I’m many years into the OS, and I’m not willing to make the effort to switch to another. It’s hassle enough just learning new program interfaces.

In this case, Tim is more of a Windows expert. Marlin is the OS X expert. Sometimes an operating system expert is needed to get something working… as is the case here.

Wow, thanks for the tip.

Just to clarify things,
You probably won’t need to convert to NURBS objects that come from SU. These objects can live as meshes in Rhino without problems as you’ll mostly use them as props, environments, references… You’ll be able to move-copy-scale them and they’ll be fine for visualization and rendering.

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In worse case you can slice a mesh up, generate surfaces and build a Rhino model from the surfaces/edges. I do this for some scanned data I work with.

Nice Tip.

Rhino for Mac is a 64-bit only application and Trimble only provides a 32 bit import/export library for SketchUp on OS X. We are patiently waiting for a 64 bit library.

I try to export out of SU a .dae file. However, when I try to import it into R, the file doesn’t show up in the folder were it resides. Is this bizarre? WTF is wrong with my Mac? Anyone???

I’m pretty well stuck/shutout of R as I cannot move share a model file between the two programs. I’ve really developed a dislike for SU of late because it lacks precision and develops problems later in the design process. I suppose I’m pushing that program too far, but I’m years into the thing. R would be a great replacement or adjunct, but I’m not feeling anything.

Rhino (either Windows or Mac) does not import .DAE files, only export to that file format. Rhino for Mac can import more than 20 different file formats. You can see the list of supported file formats in the Open File dialog. Can SketchUp export to any of those formats?