Missing ground plane and a wish

I noticed this in the previous WIP, and I see in 6.0.15125.8091, 5/5/2015 the ground plane is not showing up when turned on.

The wish for ground planes would be to be able to align it with saved CPlanes and not just the world. This would be very handy for such things as vehicles where landing gear / wheels get changed and thus change the vehicle’s sitting angle, but I don’t want to have to move around the body to match the world XY orientation of the ground plane.


Hmm- yeah, I see this is different from V5 in that Shaded does not show the GP, only Rendered. @andy, is that by design?


This is correct. The only view mode that displays the ground plane is rendered, and because making this an option for display modes was considered too confusing for mere users, the option to do so has been removed.



Please add the ability to show it in technical modes too, if it is removed there as well. That too is a “rendered mode” imo.

Hi @andy , @jeff, All

My reply from earlier today did not come through ( It was probably the short outage of discourse or a mistake on my part)
so I try to repeat my little rant yet now without (some of ) the sarcasm.

There needs to be a special locked Rendered Display mode that is truly linked to the Render settings. This will leave the user freedom to manage the GP in other Display modes and keeps an intuitive UI.

First to make sure I did not mistake the new behaviour:
The setting for groundplane (GP) on/off is set through the toggle in the panel for GP and Render Backdrop settings in Document Properties, these 2 are linked and both will always have the same on/off state. Furthermore the visibility of the GP is only for views in rendered displaymode (or derivatives?).

To summarize: The user control and availability of the GP display is crippled in favor of a fidelity between rendered display mode and the render results.

I personally use the GP a lot for evaluation purposes in both Rendered and Shaded modes, and find it disappointing that the versatility and potential of the GP is lost by this change. And consider that the GP is an addition on the render mesh level. So any Shaded type mode should have access to the visibility of that Groundplane. Suppose I’m working on a boat design; I like the water (GP) to be visible when Rendering but it’s annoying when evaluating the design and material in Renderd Display mode.

Can I ask what the confusion would be if a groundplane visibility toggle would be set per display mode?
Step 1: set the GP on/off in the panel for GP
Step 2: have a display mode that either shows or does not show the GP
I could have a shaded mode with GP on and one with it GP off, or better I could easily toggle it in the panel of the Display mode.
The argument of this being confusing is not valid when that same list contains toggles for shadows, Backface handling and BBox Display (whatever that may be)

Suppose all is well:
We have an overall switch to enable the GP in the document and can toggle it’s visibility in the Display Modes.

Correct me if I’m wrong but from where I am standing there is an underlying issue visible resulting in problems like the one we are discussing:
There is a longstanding desire to have high fidelity between the Rendered Display Mode and the render settings. In other words there is a dogma that the Rendered Display Mode should reflect -as much as possible- what a Rendering will look like.

If so it is all wrongly setup; We can edit the Rendered Display Mode with all possible settings that will not show in a final rendering: We can turn mesh wires, curves and annotations on , cull or color backfaces, tweak render materials etc…
So the idea that the current rendered mode needs to be linked to render settings IMO is pointless with a display mode that can be customized this much. And I do not understand why all of a sudden it’s a concern with the GP and the needs to get it hardwired.

So what happened as far as I can see, is that for the sake of a dogma that is not enforced otherwise, the functionality of the GP has been crippled.

Now how about this:
We introduce a new Display mode, we call it ‘Rendered’ (like the old one).
This mode only has the options to be set that are hard wired to the Render settings.
So backface culling is no option as it is not possible when rendering, nor is BBox Display or Options to set custom lighting or material.

It will be a true high fidelity Display Mode for previewing the outcome of a Rendering.
And when it is there in place we can give access to settings like there are in Post Effects of renderings (Rhino Render) that currently are so well hidden

  • Fog
  • Curves
  • Annotations
  • etc…

It would be good for 3rd party renderers to also create such hardwired Display modes to preview their results.

To round up:
Please consider doing a more robust overhaul of the Display Modes functionality and create a sound solution for the desired fidelity to Render Settings instead of working around symptoms by hard-coding and crippling things like GroundPlane functionality.

In addition: Technical pipeline modes should have the GP on as well. Yet not for the ‘2D style variant’ but for the Artistic/Shaded ones it should…so there you have the first issue to solve.

Thanks for reading
For anyone who came this far :wink:



I agree with everything you said.

Hi Willem,
I guess this all makes perfect sense from the perspective of a user who sticks to Rhino’s inbuilt offerings for rendering. For me who only used 3rd party products for photorealistic work the renderered viewport hasn’t been usable for reliable render-preview during the Rhino 5 lifespan, and I’m not sure that this will change in V6. The reason is that numerous concepts offered for Rhino’s default render engine can not easily get accessed by third party vendors.

In other words – rendered viewport then displays stuff which will not appear in the final image. The engine I use is is excellently maintained but it can’t support a single of the render-mesh modifiers (curve piping, edge softening, shutlining etc), the ground plane doesn’t transfer, Decals don’t work either and Rhino5 doesn’t give control about viewport display of materials with > than on one UV-Projection channel, (this last one should apply to any engine).

This is not meant as a complaint, this just lists the situation from my perspective. For previewing renders the interactive framebuffer which is offered by probably any third party product has fully taken the role which the rendered viewport used to have pre V5. It is the only way to preview what’s actually in and what not – and it in the case of Maxwell can also get displayed in the full viewport (as Neon).

In the last couple of years I have only used the rendered viewport for illustrative renderings, always without groundplane, without shadows, without environment, the compositing gets done in Photoshop. While I see that my exact workflows may not match what most Rhino users will do, a lot of customers will be affected by the limitations I outlined above (if they now use Vray or Arion or Octane or Maxwell or… does not matter).

Whatever gets done – one should also in V6 be able to deactivate default viewmodes, which are auto-recreated and and which have hardwired settings.

I don’t do a lot of renders, but I do use the ground plane in both shaded and rendered modes for different types of screen captures. I think it is inconvenient to have it only available in rendered modes.


@KelvinC and @margaretbecker may want to jump in here and explain why it is so confusing.

Note that all of these things are available through the SDK. It is not hard to implement them at all.

Andy, I really assumed that this was a long known issue and don’t intend to speak for the developer in charge here. All I can say is that one obviously may send modified meshes directly to the engine in the 32 bit version of the Maxwell plugin, which however also requires users to run the 32bit version of Rhino. No avail in the 64 bit version of Rhino, for as long as Rhino 5 exists.

It’s got nothing to do with any of that. All of the data is available. Doesn’t matter which version of V5

That’s new to me, one should best check with @jdhill direcly.

My overall point was that the role of Rendered Viewport has changed to a degree that I’d say I don’t need it any more, at least not for the purpose of previewing photorealistic output.
Interactive Framebuffers of every mayor engine give a WYSIWYG preview, including all third party features in terms of instancing and physics simulation, which Rhino isn’t natively aware of. To me it makes sense to leave users all freedom for future usage of that viewmode.

I don’t get this at all. To me, the ground plane is on or off based on the setting in the Ground Plane panel. I don’t see why it should be controlled per-display mode. I must not have been awake when this was discussed, or I probably would have protested. Just sayin’.


While we’re all getting riled up over ground plane and renderers, another issue / question I had with ground plane was with renderers that don’t support it (in my specific case V-Ray). In V5, if I have the ground plane on, then switch renderers to V-Ray, the ground plane pallet closes but the ground plane stays on in the viewport, which means I have to switch renderers, then turn off the ground plane, then switch back to V-Ray. Is turning the ground plane off for non-compliant renderers something the renderer should do, or is it something Rhino should handle (who should I bug about this)?

And while I have already expressed my displeasure at losing the ground plane in anything but the pre-canned Rendered mode, I will take this opportunity to reinforce my expression of displeasure with an enthusiastic “Boooooo” :wink:



Do you understand that users may have a difference of opinion about whether ground plane shows up in shaded mode?

In V5, GP showed up in all modes with shaded meshes (ie - everything except wire). Many users - including Bob - have complained that it is difficult to model with the GP on, but when they press the render button, they want the GP to be there. Similarly, they would like to be able to work on a shaded viewport and see what the rendered result will be simultaneously in a rendered view…or possibly even a real-time rendered viewport like Neon.

My question to you is not “do you think it should be on or off”…it is “do you understand that there may be differences of opinion amongst users?”

  • Andy

I have given this some time to sink in and my conclusion is:
Add a “ignore” option in the display mode, that should please all, it would need a separate “button” in the floating viewmode tab as well (just like points and curves has). Wireframe can have it off by default.

Turning on GroundPlane and not seeing it is confusing.

Ignore what? The ground plane? Isn’t that just a more confusing way of saying “Show ground plane”

And besides…“Turning on GroundPlane and not seeing it is confusing.” is exactly what is happening now in shaded mode.

Yes, a toggle to show or ignore :wink: (or hide if you like, bit it isn’t really hiding it, it is just ignoring it, but I see it was a bad choice of word)

And maybe now is the time to discuss if shaded mode should show ground plane by default.