Grasshopper standalone viewer

sounds like a typical grey area. Besides the licensing, they don’t really tell you its actually Rhino with Grasshopper remotely in a custom web viewport. It sounds like its their application running, capable of reading Grasshopper and Rhino files. … In my opinion this is very questionable. But if you at McNeel are okay with this, why not. I would have never done something like this as a developer, but I also don’t know much about cloud computing.
Besides that. I would also never ever share my professional work in a cloud. That violates everything security and compliance rules are about.

Why doesn’t Mcneel do it on their own and offer it as a service?
It could become something like Autodesk’s 360

That would be a significant departure from our current business model. We have no experience providing this sort of service and are at any rate fully booked for the foreseeable future doing thing we do have experience in.

However we are working on Iris, which seems like at least a step in this direction, so who knows.


This is actually one of the main problems we are trying to solve with IOGRAM. For instance, in this video, I build a (naive) dental app with visual programming and export it as Win64 app:

Or here is a little pavilion “creator”. IOGRAM exports apps to Win64, OSX, Linux, and WebGL.

Also, the core of IOGRAM (Geometry, Components, Graph, Player) is open source and available here.


Dunno? But what would be illegal about it (not being defensive, honestly curious) Since I cant see (at least in any obvious way) that they are making money from it. It requires a gh file to use (so someone has to own a rhino) and once in the viewer it is only editable via slider. Also, it is not the only I have seen that does this - just the easiest to use.

Whether or not you make money is not a relevant factor in Rhino licensing. You are allowed to make all the money you can with whatever license you have, even educational ones.

Rhino licenses impose limits on how many computers run instances of Rhino simultaneously. If you have bought one license of Rhino, you are allowed to install Rhino on all the machines you own (your work computers, your laptop, your home computer, your parents computer for when you visit for the holidays, …). You are also allowed to run as many instances you want of Rhino on the same computer. You are not however allowed to run Rhino more than once at the same time on two or more computers. For that you’ll need an additional license.

McNeel has a very client-friendly profile (far from the blood sucking- impersonal presence of many other companies in the wider industry) and appart from any legality or not, I would like to know:
Do they have any objections against this service?
Probably it’s not your area but maybe somenone from the company could answer that.

A lawyer probably won’t come running after you when you do this, but, no, your parent’s computer is not one that you own.

Oh yeah, you’re probably right, that wouldn’t be covered.

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as I said, I don’t know much about cloud computing. My imagination is that they have a bunch of server all running multiple Rhino licenses. They need more, because if you are parallel running gh scripts you need enough capacity to allow a fluent calculation for every user. Now, in grasshopper such computation can easily become heavy. So imagine 20 people doing the same, I doubt they just running 1-3 computer, but I don’t know. And even if you just “calculate” on the other server, you need more licenses or you need to do something which does or is close to violating license agreements.
Please don’t get this wrong, I don’t want to accuse them of doing something illegal, they may even own dozens of licenses, but its just very weird. That why I’m asking.

In addition to that they offer 2 more professional service types, I’m pretty sure they want to earn money with it,which is totally okay. But as David said, this isn’t really important for being legal or not.
And what’s making this even more unclear is that its not really said what shapediver is. I couldn’t really find an answer on their page, which is a bit weird. Is it a parametric modeller (which it sounds like, but can’t be), is it a some sort of service, or is it a web viewer.
Still its amazing work.

Mathieu from ShapeDiver here, I guess I can address some of your concerns.

As you rightfully suspect, ShapeDiver makes use of servers running Rhino. You are also right that is is not very obviously stated on the website (although we do mention it in our FAQ, and maybe we can find a way to make it more clear.

As for the legal concerns, McNeel has known from day 1 what our plans are and how our service is set up, and their answer is more or less what David mentioned earlier in the conversation: we have to make sure that we own the appropriate number of Rhino licenses to provide our service in accordance with the Rhino license requirements. This also means that, as our business grows, we are continuously increasing the number of licenses we use.

Regarding sharing your work online, this is a fair concern, but it is also why the logic is concealed to our servers; only geometry makes it to the web browser. Now of course if you don’t want to expose your work to reverse engineering, ShapeDiver is not for you. The platform is about sharing and letting people interact with parametric designs, even those people who are not familiar with it. We always felt that it would be a nice opportunity for Grasshopper designers to showcase their work in a more interesting way than with static renderings. We also think that sharing an interactive model instead of screenshots and video snippets could facilitate discussions within the Grasshopper community and especially the forum.

However, while we provide ShapeDiver for free to students, artists and others for non-commercial applications, you are correct that we do intend to earn money from our service as this is how we currently make our living. Our main business is to help designers and companies create product configurators for their webshops and eCommerce platforms. The online 3D interface that we generate from Grasshopper models would otherwise typically take weeks of web development, which is the core idea behind the service.

I hope I managed to clear out some of those concerns. We are always happy (and proud) if our goals align with benefits for the grasshopper community as a whole, and if specific applications or requests make sense within our service we welcome all suggestions.

As a last note, we are always looking for skilled Grasshopper users with an interest in mass customization to discuss opportunities, to help us on projects or launch new ones. Get in touch with me if you have something in mind.