Modeling Quickly with Dynamic and Automatic CPlanes, a 3D Wall tool, and a 3D Hole tool

Greetings! I’m really enjoying Rhino overall after working almost entirely in FormZ professionally for the last dozen plus years or so. I learned Rhino at SCAD back in 2003-2005 and I’ve taken a lot of online courses and feel pretty comfortable with completing a project in Rhino. There’s many things Rhino does better, and yet still some that FormZ does much more efficiently. Namely fast solid modeling. I’m working in environment design, exhibits, displays, furniture, and architecture.

After a rather exhaustive search I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to ask for help on how other users are drawing and modeling quickly without automatic cPlanes? I find this basic functionality to be missing and incredibly slow to use in Rhino, as I am accustomed to them being automatic when modeling in FormZ when in Shaded mode. You could simply start drawing on any solid or surface in formZ, and the cPlane would appear automatically, with the grid and grid snaps, just like you had defined it as a reference plane first.

I can get close by manually invoking the POnSrf option when drawing, but it doesn’t provide any visual feedback like drawing the grid on the surface like FormZ. And it won’t stay turned ON.

Why can’t we have the One-Shot snaps allowed to be enabled at all times?? Please? I always want to be able to draw attached to objects surfaces. If this was enabled in Rhino, it would really steal the show from FormZ for it’s wonderful interactive modeling.

In my hopes of making Rhino modeling more efficient like FormZ, I’ve gone so far as to write a couple of macros to speed up some obvious shortcomings.

The first is what I call a 3D Wall. This allows you to draw a polyline series and then automatically Slab it for width and height, without the need for multiple tools for this very basic 3D modeling need:

!_Polyline _Pause _Pause _Pause _Pause _Pause _Pause _Pause _Pause _Pause _Pause _Pause _Pause _Pause _Pause _Pause _Pause _Pause _Pause _Pause _Pause _Pause _Enter _Sellast _Slab

Maybe there’s a way to call an unlimited Pause so you can make as many segments in the Polyline as you want? I couldn’t find it so I just added a bunch of Pauses to get the feature to work on most any wall I would draw. Give it a try and tell me why this isn’t already a tool in Rhino? It would be nice if it were as visually interactive as drawing a 3D wall in FormZ, but it’s not bad for a macro.

The second macro I’m working on brings us back to my first wish for an automatic and dynamic cPlane. A 3D Hole tool. In FormZ you could literally select an option when drawing a rectangle that would automatically cut a hole in whatever object, solid or surface that you draw upon. This is because the automatic cPlane (they call it reference plane) would be created for you as you hover around on the objects surfaces. The closest I can automate this in Rhino is with this macro:

!_Rectangle _PersistentOnSurface _Pause _Pause _Pause _Enter _Sellast _MakeHole _Pause

But again, there’s not the level of visual feedback I would expect from a more developed 3D hole tool.

Any suggestions here? I love the stability and power of Rhino especially with imported geometry, but the basic solid modeling speed is not up to par that I am accustomed to. Open to any suggestions.

Many Thanks!

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Have a look at how easy these auto cPlanes are in FormZ. They simply appear when mousing over a surface, and respect the grid snap setting as well.


Anyone have any thoughts on using Rhino like this?

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My thought so far is, Rhino is not primarily a tool for working with planar faces, on the contrary.
These tools (FormZ SU etc.) do this sort of thing very well. I’m sure there are ways to improve how Rhino works but what you show is pretty specific to planar mesh type objects and not arbitrarily curved surfaces…



Thank you Pascal. It’s true, like most architecture modeling, we are working almost entirely with planar solids. In FormZ these solids are easy and much better than the surfaces SU produces.

I remember Rhino being a great surface modeler, and hoped the solid tools had caught up. Things like the UseExtrusions and OneView command are a step in the right direction, but I think more can be done to speed up basic planar solid modeling, while making it more interactive and intuitive.

Hi @the.Capt
Actually everything is in Rhino to do your request. One problem is solid tools vs modeling with curves is a mess currently and McNeel shows no sympathy or regard to making it better after all these years.

Rhino has custom cplanes etc that could do what you request if the developers wanted.

Problem with cutting holes is McNeel can’t decide which route to take and let the developers of their tools create in a vacuum. Much to the detriment of their users.

For instance does a user create the holes and the body as curves and extrude or use the solid tools hole command or do you Boolean out the holes from a solid?
Here’s a good example of why these tools are all flawed.
If you create holes via extrusion and have history on you can change the curves scale or move them and the object updates this is awesome. Big caveat if you change the thickness of the model with holes you loose the history updating, can you believe McNeel doesn’t extend or fix that.

If you use solid tools make hole you can’t update the hole as easily as an extruded object and it’s verbose to use compared to your examples especially if you try the place hole command. Another example of McNeel working in a vacuum. (Incidentally I think place hole is bugged in that the arrow doesn’t reflect the user input.)

Another way is to use Boolean cutters which works but again lacks history and is not an extrusion and may introduce mesh artifacts or overcomplexity in the model.

Then there is solid points on which will allow you to move and scale edit the holes, but not as easy as moving curves with history on.

So which of these commands do we use? They all fall short, either being verbose and clumsy to use, or not updating via history or breaking history if the thickness of the model is changed. This is a rather long tiring example of commands thrown in since V3 that were never integrated properly and instead of becoming a powerful modeling strategy just leave the user disappointed and left with more work to do when it should be easy.

Given rhinos current toolset there is no reason why we can’t have better 3d solid tools, the solid tools are great but they lack cohesion with Rhino’s history and curve approach. If all this would be integrated it would be cakewalk to do what you are showing in the video and we would finally have a complete solid/void strategy instead of 20 tools and commands that fall short.

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Thank you for your thoughts here. Good to know some history to the problem.

Speaking of History, I’m not actually all that interested in having any History active to these functions. It’s easy enough to simply sub-object select the edges or points and move them precisely with snaps if anything needs to be changed in the future. It’s just not really complex enough of architecture and display modeling to justify needing History, IMO.

I’d just like to see the basic solid tools to be a bit more interactive. Rhino has some great things going for it, and I’m sure if enough people are interested in Archviz in Rhino, then some of these updates would go a long ways. Rhino still beats the hell out of trying to model simple solids quickly with precision in 3DSMax, which feels incredibly archaic and inefficient.

Yea I agree, I work a lot in max but strictly, rigging, rendering, fx I do all my modeling in Rhino.
I too would like the solid tools to be more I think it’s due, I don’t think they need to do much just get the ducks in row so to speak. Another nice tool is “create solid” might work for you as well.

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