Modo or Blender - from a Rhino users perspective?

Modo or Blender?

To those productive with Rhino: If one was to dedicate time/money to either Modo or Blender (time is money, nothing free), all things considered, which would you pursue first, from the perspective of a complementary tool used in a manufactured product environment?

Modo vs Blender comparisons are elsewhere, but often video game/animation guys. Interested in the Modo vs Blender opinions of those on this forum.

Opinions when used for conceptual design exploration, with said concept data leading to significant development of DFM data in Rhino, Creo, SW, etc.

If only time to invest in either Modo or Blender, which, why, don’t bother?

Thank you!

Extra Credit - Modo/Blender vs TSplines (Fusion variety…plugin RIP), same context please

I purchased modo when it first came out. A great little polymodelling tool, albeit it crashed a lot. I kept upgrading in the hope it would crash less and I’d be able to use it as a rendering tool (to replace 3dsmax which I was using with vray) and got to version 601. It still crashed, a lot, so gave up on it. Plus, trying to create materials in modo was a complete mind-warp.

But on the positive side I did learn to model in quads and model with subdivision surfaces. I then applied this knowledge/techniques to how i model in Rhino and found that I didn’t really need the polymodeller any more. I used to use it for creating soft furnishings, everything else was done in Rhino.

If i was forced to learn a polymodeller again it’d be Blender.

I don’t have any experience with Blender, I heard good things about is, but also followed by “pretty good for a free app”, so I can’t share any insight on it.

About Modo:
I worked in many poly/subD modeler before (Silo, Max, Maya) and Modo was my last stop so far, for modeling has been a huge improvement in terms of fluidity (how fast tools are, selections, etc), precision (you can work with lots of numerical precision so you can prong things to CAD with a lot of confidence) and really powerful form creation/exploration tools like actions centers, morph maps and falloff.

@mcvltd point about stability is true. It was a crashing piece of shit until version 801. Now it’s a lot more stable in every release, but if you are used to the stability of Rhino or Photoshop, well… it won’t happen. I say in heavy modeling days you will get 1-3 crashes a day (my guess blender will be a lot worse).

Another thing to keep in mind is the new procedural modeling (i’m just starting to learn that). That can also give you a lot of flexibility. more info here: And here:
I haven’t used this stuff yet, but it seems to be well developed and mature.

There’s also Meshfushio to add details and explore variants in Modo. That got a lot of hype. But I have not been successful getting it to work in complex geometry. It’s still raw and unstable. But the day this works well it will be pretty cool:

Last thing: the UI is deep, and lots of clicks/tab/menus. It’s a total nerd tool. So not for everyone. I think the modeling part is a lot easier. The rigging, rendering, particles, sculpting and animation is where things get complex, and all those capabilities are half ass, not world-class. So that seems like a strategic mistake on their part.

I recommend you get the trial at a time you can explore it and dive into it a bit before you decide. It’s not for everyone.

Another crazy option: Zbrush
Even deeper learning curve and more of a 3D sketching, zero dimensional control but powerful for those who master it.

Tsplines in Fusion in my opinion is slow and limited of form creation, a lot more CAD friendly but it’s a minivan, not a sports car. So it depends what you value more. Also I suspect stability might be worse than Modo, but I’m not sure.

I hope this helps,


I have been a Blender developer done 2003. I have no knowledge of Modo, but I can say that Blender is a great tool, and with the poly modelling tools, animation tools, texturing tools, scripting, rendering engine Cycles (which I happen to be integrating into Rhino WIP as Raytraced mode), physics, fluid, smoke, compositor and video editor it is a very useful addition to your toolset. And the price shouldn’t be a roadblock :wink:

Let’s not forget either that Blender has had some work done on tools to prepare meshes for 3d printing - no doubt that can be useful for manufacturing too.

Also, of you happen to report a bug you should find that in general you’ll have access to build with a fix for it pretty soon.


Both modo and blender are used in industry for modeling purposes- Tesla Motors for instance has a modeling team that uses modo, Tata Motors and Kiska have modeling trams that prefer blender.

Both work with Rhino via OBJ transfers for the most part . Both have stated goals of working with CAD packages better in the future- Blenders next iteration plans on a CAD flavored interface option. Modo has traditionally had a decent pipeline with Solidworks and the ability to open up CAD files with plug ins developed by the foundry

In my own experience the Blender religion on its interface is garbage- but there are users who have created configurations and add-ins that create a VERY compelling and speedy modeling experience.
The core technologies are very powerful - the modifier stacks are powerful, the radial menus allow for a consistent interface with Alias and other CAID packages. Another reason In favor of Blender is the integration of Cycles into Rhino v6 as well as the openNURBS format that keeps the door open for future interoperability

Modo in my experience has been slow and clicky- IVe given it many chances - since the developers are awesome people. Modo training and plugins have been a bit of a vacuum on my wallet and I haven’t had a lot to show for the expenditure.

Seems like many designers have really clicked with both packages so your mileage will vary. Since you already have Modo you can try blender out for free

and you can try blender out for free even if you don’t have Modo! :smile:

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This post may be of some value to you. As far as I’ve seen Claas is one of the only people putting out product design focused videos using a Blender->NURBS workflow.

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A very belated thank you @nathanletwory @mcvltd @gustojunk @thomas_parel for your time and thoughtful insights.

Had planned to dig into this at year-end downtime, and as a project wound down. Project deliverables dragged to the new year, spoiling that plan. However, on some recent long flights got a chance to watch significant portions of tutorials for both.

Torn where to invest energy. The simple goal, similar to everyone I assume, is to add tools to the box - capabilities not efficient to accomplish, or simply not possible, with core tools. Example - designing textures (into the geometry) and subsequently resin printing them.

While the case for Modo is strong, leaning towards Blender. Something is gnawing at me (besides cheapness) to try open source, and considering everything else used is commercial. Add the coming Cycles integration and possible (assumed) interoperability potential between Rhino (and Fusion, etc) with Blender, leaning that way, assuming I get past the funky interface. Modo does ‘appear’ more polished and professional, but can’t say from experience whether that statement is functionally accurate or meaningful…

Thanks again guys!

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You may want to peruse the open movie projects already realized with Blender: . I certainly am biased, having been very active since 2003 all the way until 2013-4 (now my time goes to Cycles integration in Rhino :wink: ), but I think Blender as an open source project is one of the best organized projects I have ever been part of (and I compare against all the commercial projects I’ve been in since 2001). Actually, lets put it this way - Blender and Rhino are on my Best Organized Projects list on the shared first place (:


p.s. hmm, fanboi-ish? :wink:

Been there done that…lends credence. Thanks

Nothing wrong with being a ‘fan’ if ONE truly believes…


Able to link us to those? Thanks in advance!
Beautiful and fluid configuration. Makes the blender experiennce something completely different and better.
The following addons are useful workflow enhancements for blender

Hard Ops Add On:

HardOps has a sister addon called Boxcutter:

Speedflow Addon:

As mentioned before Claas Kuhnen does excellent explanation of blender workflow and how it can be integrated into CAD. With new Rhino subD capability on the horizon this starts to be more powerful.


Richard, I think either package will be an excellent addition to Rhino. Some of those Blender add-ons that Thomas posted right before this post look really good!And a lot of the skills will be transferable to each other, even to a future production-quality solution inside Rhino if that ever materializes. Have fun!


Blender. The 2.8 is incredible!!

Will we be able to export a .blend file from Rhino soon? Would be amazing.

My workflow is now totally between Rhino and Blender. Blender for Rendering, Mesh Modeling, Complex scenes. Rhino for drawings (also 2d) and production files.

Nathan has written a plugin to read 3dm in blender if that’s any good? See thread below…

And with my Rhino theme and keymap it should be even easier to get into Blender 2.80

(both key map and UI theme are hosted here)

These are awesome developments. I have tried opening up Blender a few times over the years and always gave up on it due to the steep learning curve of the user interface. Blender 2.8 has had me give it a second look and the new features look promising and the interface is much friendlier to someone who’s used to CAD software. I’m looking forward to using @nathanletwory 's keymap and feel right at home.

Rhino+Blender seems like a very powerful pairing. Advancements in interoperability is only going to increase this!

I did learn Blender 2.8 and the learning curve is a bit steep, I agree. But it is so much worth it!! Rhino & Blender are an incredible powerful match! Will we see a .blend export and import option in Rhino? That would be awesome!!

The future holds many mysteries. Technically it is possible, but considering the amount of work it isn’t very high on the list at the moment. But it might still happen.

What would you suggest is the best file exchange format between Rhino (5 mac) and Blender (2.8) for design work? .obj for in and out?