Learning Rhino from scratch on mac

I am completely new to rhino and have it installed on my MacBook Pro.

Yesterday, I spend an hour looking for tutorials on rhino and found that virtually all of them are for windows rhino. The interface layout is completely different which makes things a lot less easy to follow.

Are there any videos for getting started on rhino for mac ?

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Not yet…


A highly recommended starting point is: in Rhino > Menus > Help > Learn Rhino > Open Level 1 Training Manual

While not the solution you’re looking for, and a little “messy” (as you say) the commands are named the same and the icons are similar. Typing the commands works well enough. The Tutorial Models are quite good to play with, and relate to the Training Manuals 1 and 2.

Lots of good help on this forum when/if you get stuck!

On a more philosophical note for the good folks at McNeel: pointing people to a good starting point is a definite area of improvement. Simply put, new users are often lost amid the flood of resources.

For example: If a new user follows the command hierarchy above, but instead chooses first item “Getting Started…” – which seems natural for someone, you know… getting started – the new user is directed to a bewildering page of hotlinks to resources and command descriptions. This page is useful for someone who is looking to “Learn Even More”, but not as a Start Here resource it seems.


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I suppose it’s probably too late now, but, even as a Mac person, I would have preferred that the Mac version UI of Rhino be VERY SIMILAR tho the Windows version. For people who have been brought up on the Windows version that want to move to the Mac platform, having to relearn the Mac version is cumbersome.

Autodesk tried to Macify their Autocad for Mac, and pretty much made it unusable for those who have been using the Windows version.

I’ve started using the Rhino tutorials and am having to use the Windows version and, as time allows, try and interpret the training with the Mac interface.

This different was always intended.
The purpose of the project was and remains to attract designers that would never consider running a Windows tool. We understand that command flow and expected application behavior are very different between Windows and Mac users.

If this project just ends up costing a lot of time and treasure to shift some Windows Rhino user over to Mac, then we will have failed.

The goal is to make a bigger pie, not cut the pie into different sized pieces.

Well, the new Single Window Modeling interface can be configured to be somewhat similar to the Windows layout. People following Windows tutorials shouldn’t be too lost. You’ll need to look at the Themes section of Preferences and choose “Custom” (don’t choose Windows, you’ll do better with Custom), then start tweaking and seeing what the different options do.


Yes, and Marlin has warned that the Windows menu theme is temporary and will be removed as the Mac Rhino U/I is formalized…

+1 for a different (and much improved) Mac UI, as well as the goal of the expansion of the pie.

Given the quality of the MacRhino UI developments thus far, I predict that eventually the reverse will happen – WinRhino users will begin to clamor for the MacRhino UI – especially new users – and by 2050(?), they shall coexist happily as doppelgängers.

I think you will cut a much bigger pice of cake if you add both GUI’s to both mac and PC version.

I know no designer who is not willing to use any design software due to a pc’ish GUI! But I also know very many who wished they could use a MAC for their Rhino needs, as Rhino can be the only reason they have to stick to Windows.

I would also fully support the idea to develop a new gui and then let these in the future merge into the best of two worlds.

Having to make tutorials, hold classes and have hardware for both worlds just doesn’t make sense. Just rewriting the Level 1 and 2 books for Mac would be a pain in the a to do and to maintain. So please keep it as simple as possible, please merge the two in the future.

A common U/I would even be harder than two because Mac and Windows can’t share any U/I code at all. The task would then be to use two different development systems to try to make the same interface. We have made big changes so the core surfacing code can be used in OSX and Windows with minimal tweaking, but sadly not the U/I.

Apparently the designers I know are much more close-minded than Holo’s. :wink:

Many (perhaps to their detriment) refuse to go anywhere near a Windows interface because the tools – while powerful – are unfriendly, working in a non-intuitive and/or clunky fashion that often causes more frustration than pleasure.

Despite software program after software program bailing on the Mac in the 90’s, many designers I know did not migrate. Today, the shoe is on the other foot as Windows tries to capture the subtleties that Apple has relentlessly pursued. Users of both platforms win as this game unfolds and tools become more and more friendly.

My wish for MacRhino is to capture the power of WinRhino while improving the finesse. And so far, most work is headed in the right direction.

While I use both platforms, like many I know, I would happily give up Windows with nary a tear if I could. It is a tool of necessity – tolerated, but rarely enjoyed.

The Mac is not perfect, but it generally produces more smiles than grimaces.


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I absolutely agree that one shall strive for the best GUI possible. And not copying from Windows to Mac IS the only way to go.

I remember well that weekend back in 96 when I first tried Rhino, and it gave me a huge grin on my face. I WANTED to work in Rhino compared to all the black and dark GUIs of the other software that I was used to.

And that feeling is important!

That certainly didn’t happen for Autocad Mac. As most everyone using Autocad has been based on the Windows platform (even the Mac R12 version of Autocad was identical to the Windows version), expecting those looking to go to the Mac to become enthralled with a Mac oriented UI was/is a mistake.

Sure, there may be Mac people who are going to Rhino for the first time who will be able to take on the Mac UI with no issues. But how many new Mac Rhino users are totally new to the program as opposed to windows users moving over to the the Mac platform from Windows?

Actually, I don’t plan on removing this. Even though I personally don’t like the ribbon bar, I understand the need to have some UI commonality for teachers in a classroom setting.

So, what would you choose as the default settings for the “Rhino for Windows” theme? The point of this choice is to get a reasonable starting point.

I do.

I mean, if they absolutely had to… sure

but I think you’d be surprised by the amount of people who don’t use pc because of the pc’ish GUI.
(ie- a big chunk of the people on mac)

Not trying to cast stones here, but Autocad leaves a lot to be desired on any platform, regardless of gui. Because many of Rhino’s methods grew out of Autocad, this means that there is room for improvement for Rhino, regardless of OS. Challenges include noun/verb vs verb/noun actions which differ between OS’s, and dynamic keyboard modifiers while drawing, among other things.

Hands down the most enjoyable cad package I’ve ever used (and I’ve used quite a few over the past thirty years) is PowerCADD. A little known cult program? Yes. But with a devout group of followers (many who used to use Autocad solely) much can be learned about intuitive user interface—especially with regard to what I feel is Rhino’s biggest weakness: snaps (which are powerful, but utterly non-intuitive and inconvenient).

As for whether new users prefer MacRhino to WinRhino? My experience with several hundred students new to Rhino is that when given the option to use either, 99% chose to work in MacRhino—despite it being far from fully functional two years ago. Kind of amazing when you think about this.

Best thing Rhino could do right now to further help new users? Incorporate the dynamic Help feature on the right sidebar, which WinRhino has. (Oh… and add Grasshopper for the crusty vets! :wink: )


Just some counterpoint on this, Marlin. My students don’t really struggle with the differing GUI between OS’s, and nor do I when teaching.

I’m going to go out on a limb here (and face criticism from some, I know) and suggest that you ditch the Windows toolbar while developing for one reason—Rhino badly needs to develop a new look and feel, along with a few simpler methods. You’re doing a great job so far and you will get better feedback from both new and experienced users about the best way for things to work if everyone is working with the same GUI while MacRhino is under development.

Once you’re ready to launch MacRhino, sure, throw in the WinRhino toolbars as an option for those who have developed muscle memory, but prefer to work on a Mac.



it’s probably a little too late for ‘complete UI overhaul’… (not just talking about rhino… pretty much any established complex program)

the interfaces at this point revolve mostly around a keyboard, mouse and flat panel… there’s only so much rearranging you can do while still being dependent on those conventions… it’s still going to be menus and icons and keyboard entry and pointing at things with a cursor etcetc…

next gen UI requires next gen I/O devices.

What I have is the following:

In Themes, I have “Show top toolbar” and “Standard” checked. That can of course be alternated with “Show ribbon” if you like that, I don’t, so I have it off (even in Windows). But for a Windows theme, by default I guess Show Ribbon should be checked, as it resembles Windows default. In addition I have “Command options dialog” checked, and “Main” in the sidebar palette. “Include osnaps in sidebar” is UNCHECKED,

In Tool Pallet, I have everything as default. What WOULD be nice here is the option for floating tool pallets to fly out with “Left click and hold” WITHOUT having to hold the Alt key. That would really work more like Windows.

Lastly, I have the left sidebar narrowed down to 2 icons, and the right sidebar with Properties showing on top and layers on the bottom.


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