Layout & Drafting: What's the plan?


I’m a long-time user since V4 and absolutely love Rhino. In my field of architecture, it is an amazing tool for designing and visualizing ideas. Yet very few people use it as a main Program for producing plans and drawings, the workflow is always relying on programs like archicad, vectorworks, revit or even Illustrator for achieving a finished layout of your project. I think that’s a shame. It looks like some improvements are being made for the layout management in the current WIP. But since the release of Rhino 5, something like 8 years ago it feels like improvements have been made in slow motion compared to the aforementioned programs. So I’m wondering if it is even part of the roadmap to compete with architecture specific software when it comes to drafting capabilities, or is Rhino “only” aiming for the modelling & Parametric design. Or is there missing guidance in this regard, maybe a lack of understanding for designers/architects and their needs when it comes to producing a finished product for print. Every time I give Rhino a try for layouting and publishing a project it is a frustrating exercise of work arounds and I end up exporting to another Program.

I have a list of issues and ideas I was going to post, but it felt like there may be a bigger problem, or maybe this is not what Rhino is aiming to be?

Sorry for the rant!


I hope you will post your detailed suggestions. The developers at McNeel depend on input from professionals like yourself to understand how to improve the program.

1 Like

When you say producing plan drawings what do you mean? There are numerous variations of SD, DD, CD & Fabrication Level documentations. In traditional programs what do you like & dislike?

Think about what a ‘Architectural’ program actual does; Plans (a cut plane), sections (cut plan) Elevations (view projection) & Detailing (2D/3D) in a coordinated fashion (Data)

I would argue that Rhino already does those, in spades, and that the more you force vague conventions into a program the less customizable it’s going to be.

Agreed! I’m also an architect and I share the same feeling as you with Rhino. It’s a fantastic tool for modeling and designing, but it is really limited for producing final drawings.

The lack of a “live” 3D to 2D tool in vector format, clipping plane not being reliable and shadows not being crisp and precise are the main limitations to me. Also snapshots not being supported in layout is another big limitation. And let’s not forget about blocks/ nested block.

I’ve been waiting for a long time to get these features working properly, as I thought Rhino was very close, but I’m starting to lose confidence about getting something workable in the foreseeable future. I would really appreciate any official statement about this, and what is the roadmap for proper documentation in Rhino.


I’m not an Architect but do work in the field…I have to admit that I’ve used acad for so long that I haven’t even tried to use Rhino for my 2d shop drawings. I just build a 3d model in Rhino and then use make2d and export that line work to acad. Make2d has gotten faster but it still has a quirk or two that I wish they would fix.


I would encourage you to send in specific examples that do not work.
We can turn them into bug reports for the developer and he can use the to improve the tools.
Without specific examples, they will not be fixed because we can’t reproduce them.


True RCP views, Visual Hatch of the clipped solid face per layer () - these 2 would make our lives here complete. More or less. More more than less. :wink:


@Asterisk <-This—Modeling in Rhino is better than in any other software. Having a tool to get options for the clipping plane to generate live 2D sections with hatches and line properties for example ergo to generate 2D drawings on the fly would be a game changer.


What happens when you have revisions ?
Do you re-make the “Make 2D”, export again, and fix all the broken leaders, dimensions, annotations,… ?

Wake up people ! Rhino is 20 years late when it comes to the layout / drafting part.
I don’t need to be more specific than : catch up already !!!

this is all obvious stuff goddamit !

For those who don’t have a clue because they have been living in the Mariannas Trench for the last century, @jespizua 's post gives the specifics.


What type of drawing are you attempting to do? What objects are you starting with?

I am sure there is nothing ever as an official statement. But we continue to push forward in many areas.

When it comes to drawing sets there are many issues that we continue to push into.

Rhino 7 has some features in it that we attempt to step toward 2D drawings. Along with Layout managers, Smart Title blocks, Layout display performance, Formulas in text and scriptable printing we can automate a larger drawing set then before.

Architectural drawings have never been a simple section at 4’ above the floor. The change in graphic nature of the objects based on the view is key to getting good drawings. VisualArq deals with that for architects and the way the graphics are created.

Orca3d will deal with the way Naval Architects create 2d Drawings.

Elefront will help automate the creation of 1000’s of shop drawings and dimensioning all at once for complex projects building fabrication projects.

So, we continue to move in that direction, but it is important to note that each profession has different requirements so we try to improve where we can.

With the new inside tools we are able to leverage Archicad and Revit’s drawing capabilities by updating the models on the fly.

And yes, it could always be much better. But there are many people working toward this in different areas with trying to fulfill the various requirements.

Well, just focusing on the common requirements would be a good start.
3D/ 2D interactivity in vector format, including hatched sections for heaven’s sake, not that silly “Fake2D” that you guys have been force-feeding us for 20 years.

This feature is so commonplace everywhere else, it’s the elephant in the room !

Here’s a “Drawing basics” SolidWorks video from 10 years ago.
Open your eyes, McNeelies.


My workflow is straight forward: I build the whole house with all its layers (A simple layer example could be: concrete 20cm, insulation 30cm and plaster 5cm) with solids. For each material I have a layer (concrete, insulation, plaster etc.). Usually for smaller or mid size projects with a hand full of construction workers I need 2D plans with hatches and dimensions like a normal architectural plan. If the intersection faces could be defined in its properties like hatch type, line type and thickness etc. via layer and/or even object IDs (like classes) I would not need 3rd party software.


Specially VisualArk, that piece of …

Yes…I rebuild it and then just move what I need in 2d acad. I doubt I will ever use Rhino for my 2d work unless someone write a script that will import all my icons from acad, I’m just too set in my ways.


Let me put it in a kinder way than osuire—although I totally understand his frustration. Rhino is for projects beyond predefined and preprogrammed drag and drop elements—like the ones you have in archicad, vectorworks or the autodesk one. It is a tool that helps people to produce architecture more freely and more independently. If the output system had a more solid concept in a way that people don’t have to convert and export to other software in order to get 2D plans it would be fantastic for architects. And blocks could be replaced with smart objects– :slight_smile: just saying.

1 Like

You know what makes me blow my top ?
It’s that hypocritical attitude from McNeel :

Seriously… We’re trying to do the kind of drawing one would have done with a Staedler ink pen and a 200 pounds table 30 years ago, except we went through the trouble of modeling a detailed 3D model, and we’d like to reap the full benefit of that. And there’s also a big chance we’ll need to update the model a good dozen times, so it would be real nice if we didn’t have to re-do the whole drafting part.

I’ve done mechanical and architectural drawings, and if you can make automatic, interactive hatched sections, put dimensions and annotations that will update when sizes or attributes change, and eventually export that to a vector format, you’re pretty much covered.


I know you do not want to use 3rd party software, but VisualARQ is the best that we have in Rhino by itself to address those issues. It should do all those things you are asking for in this thread including Architectural style classes or Grasshopper driven smart blocks.

We have been adding tools trying to deal with larger drawing sets and smarter drafted text.

This is telling…
We have sincerely tried to integrate VisualArq in our Workflow ; and the whole staff here almost went crazy with the bugs and crashes.
We spent so much time in countless detailed bug reports, we should invoice them for our work on their software !
I’m not saying the folks in Barcelona weren’t responsive or anything, but the bugs overwhelmed us as we were Starship troopers.

This is just a huge waste of time, folks. Don’t count on VisualArq to solve your drafting issues in Rhino.

1 Like

Yep… Rhino 7 will have all the fancy doodles you had in Autocad 12 from 1992. Yay.

1 Like