Graphic Designer looking for advice

Hello Rhino community!

I’m new to 3D modeling, but I’m ready to invest a significant amount of time developing this skillset. I’m primarily interested in product design.

My big question is this…Rhino vs. Solidworks + Mac vs. PC (bootcamp) …

I really like that Rhino has a Mac version, but it seems like it’s been in beta for quite some time with not very much hope of an official release this year. Mac based tutorials are sparse, so I’m watching PC based tutorials and hoping I can make it work with the Mac version. Also, it seems like I’m missing some functionality with the mac version.

So I’m debating if I should just use bootcamp and go with the PC version…and if I go that way, should I just use solidworks…Rhino seems fully capable, but solidworks seems to be the standard for the industry. At least with the industrial designers I’ve worked with in the past.

Any and all opinions are appreciated. Thank you for your time.

Well, as a graphic designer (who studied before computers, did I say Letraset & ruling pens?) who got into Rhino because he married a goldsmith, who prefers her pencil, paper & benchwork to computers, I would suggest Rhino + Mac. I also do have an older Mac running Bootcamp for WinRhino + T-Splines + Grasshopper.

I started with WinRhino in 2008, discovered RhinoOSX in July 2008 and finally sold my WinDesktop in 2009 and do 90% of my jewellery work with my Mac.

I looked at a lot of 3d software before sticking with Rhino. I have done display boxes & counter top displays as well as all types of jewellery. So for product design it can all be done with Rhino.

I don’t know Solidworks, though I did play with it on my old Windows machine. It depends on your learning curve.

As a side note; my wife is trying to learn RhinoOSX, she never worked on Windows, so the Windows tutorials are a bit of a problem with her. But each day the RhinoOSX help is improving and once McNeel releases an SDK then the plugin guys will hope on it, not to mention getting grasshopper ported to mac.



I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade here but…

When MacRhino is released there will be no public SDK so third-party plug-in development can not begin. Once a public SDK is available, the developers will need to decide if there are enough potential sales of their plug-in to justify the time and expanse of developing one. It will be a ground up effort as none of the Windows plug-in code will be usable in Mac.

Another wrinkle is Grasshopper. It is developed in Microsoft DotNet. There is no equivalent DotNet support in OSX. Grasshopper may never make it to MacRhino.

Clarification: Rhino is an industrial design tool. SolidWorks is a mechanical design tool. There is a little overlap but not much. One application extends and compliments the other. This is why both Rhino and SW can open each others native file formats. They should not be considered equivalent tools.

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Why not both (with bootcamp)? From what I gather, it sounds like Solidworks as your main environment with Rhino as a complement would work best in your case. Many people use similar setups, where Rhino is used to complement the primary workflow. Neither the added cost of Rhino nor the learning curve is terribly significant compared to Solidworks.

I’ve used both Rhino & SW extensively. A lot depends on the kind of work you want to be doing. Fine curved artistic shapes like jewelry will be easier in Rhino than SW. Machine design or models with multiple configurations will be easier (and much better; even with Grasshopper, Rhino simply isn’t much of a parametric modeler. ) in SW.

As a simple example, say you make a vase with five sides. Pretty simple in both Rhino and SW. But if you then decide you want the vase to have 7 sides, you can change one number in one obvious place in SW, but in Rhino you’d have to erase much of the vase you drew, then re-create the pattern with 7 sides, not 5. That difference of approach will pervade pretty much everything you do.

So think about the projects you’d like to make and pick a direction based on that, I’d say.

As for platforms, I use SW with Bootcamp for some things, but the performance hit is enough that I always prefer using Mac-native programs; it’s not that they’re necessarily better, but that they’re more responsive and less frustrating to use.

Best of luck learning modeling!

Thanks for all the replys!

I’m primarily going to be modeling small parts/products for production. Plastic and silicone.

It sounds like eventually I’d want to learn both of them, but rhino seems like a good place to start. The lack of plugin support could be an issue, but it seems like most of those plugins are used for rendering and that’s not a huge concern for me. Ultimately I could bring them into Cinema4D if I want them to be pretty.

Here is my 2 cents; I started out as a graphic designer/prepress tech and used a Mac since about 1990. In the last 5-10 years, I transitioned from that to product and packaging design. The last couple of years it has been working in Rhino all day. When I first started using Rhino, I was doing so using it inside of Bootcamp on a Mac. I quickly got tired of switching back and forth between Mac and Window and migrated everything to Windows (Adobe CS, Suitcase, KeyShot, etc.), which was a much better workflow. Once I was totally working in Windows, I then got tired of the hassle of dealing with Bootcamp and maintaining 2 operating systems and left the Mac altogether. I was a diehard Mac fan for a long time, but the practicality eventually won out and the workflow has been great.

I would highly recommend (whether Mac or Windows) that you start out with Rhino on Windows. One of the great things about Rhino is the ability to expand it by using plugins, which I use several, and that just isn’t available on the Mac version. There is also a ton of information available for learning Rhino and most of it is geared towards the PC version, so it would make it much easier to follow and use, if your using the same version.

As far as Rhino or SolidWorks, it does depend on what you’re going to be doing. As a packaging and product designer, I deal mostly in the conceptual aspect of development. I come up with a variety of options, rather quickly and they are presented to the customer as concepts, which is perfect for Rhino. Once a direction is narrowed down, it goes into engineering/CAD/tooling where it’s developed on a technical level and they are using SolidWorks. For what I do, I’d hate to use SolidWorks, but down stream, Rhino wouldn’t be the right tool for the job. There are some types of jobs (organic shapes and modeling) where I’ll actually create the parts in Rhino and they will be imported in SW for production, because Rhino can do it better. So it depends on the needs that you have.

I’ve been using Rhino on the Mac mainly because the price is right for a fledgling business (no need to invest in new hardware, either). I auditioned a few different CAD apps and found that with my design background and familiarity with the Adobe suite, the Rhino interface was extremely easy to adapt to. Another HUGE plus is its ability to import and export Illustrator and PDF vector formats. This was a HUGE time-saver for me, because prior to using Rhino, i was designing all of my work in 2D using Illustrator.

I’m very likely going to transition over to Rhino on Windows in the not-too-distant future… there are some plugins that would make my work MUCH easier (e.g. T-splines).

I would say for just starting out, if your needs are not huge, get Rhino on your Mac and upgrade when you think you need to. I find it still works extremely well for 90% of what i need it to do.

Thanks for your reply. This is really helpful and pretty much what I’ve decided to do for now.

I am coming from a similar background and experience and have been a die hard Mac user for 20+ years. I have been following along with Rhino tutorials created with the Windows version and find it pretty easy to follow along with them. If you get used to typing in your commands (which you will after a while) there isn’t a whole lot of difference between the Mac and Windows version in working through commands. One thing that will help is to go to Preferences > Themes and choose Rhino for Windows. T-Splines is very intriguing and I hope that Autodesk continues a regular development cycle (and perhaps makes it available on the Mac someday). That may be one reason I switch to Rhino/WIN at some point – at least to bootcamp – if they don’t. I’m happy to recommend some tutorials I found particularly useful if you are interested.