Newbie question, trying to decide if Rhino is right for me?

Disclaimer: Sorry for lengthy post!

Over the past year, I have been getting more and more into 3D printing and am trying to figure out which modeling software I should invest my time into learning.

I am familiar with Rhino (beginner+ level). I took one course in college (many years ago) and have spent the past several months reacquainting myself. However, I am growing increasingly frustrated with the program. I am not sure if it’s due to my lack of experience or if it is because Rhino simply doesn’t work the way I want it to.

I keep finding myself trying to get Rhino to work like Photoshop (PS) as it’s second nature to me. But Rhino does not want to act like PS. I’ll give two examples to clarify what I mean by this.

Ex1.) Say I am designing a box with extruded letters on one side. My workflow to create this form in Rhino would be:

  1. Create the box nurb by extruding a square shape.
  2. Select a point on the square’s surface to anchor the text to.
  3. Create the text as a 2D shape, anchored to the reference point.
  4. Fine tune the text’s properties: i.e. font, size, spelling, etc.
  5. Extrude the 3d text.

This is the point that I start running into problems with Rhino. After I extrude the text, I would like to be able to still have the option to go back and change the fundamental properties of the text like I did in Step 4. In PS this is very simple through the use of smart layers. But it seems like you lose that ability in Rhino once the text is extruded. After extrusion, the only way to change the text would be to drag the control points of the nurbs. And if you boolean the text and box, you even lose the anchor point of the text. It would be like using the “merge layers” or “rasterize” commands on a text object or smart layer in PS - You lose the ability to change the font for example.

This example can be applied all over Rhino.

Ex2.) Say I create a star and a circle shape at two different points on the Z axis. At this point I could still manipulate the two shapes individually as they were created: i.e. change the fillet of the inner corners of the star, or rotate / scale the positioning of square (independent of the star). Once I convert the shapes into a surface or loft them together, I lose the ability to manipulate the shapes independently of each other.

It seems like Rhino throws away the history / linkage / metadata etc. of the individual root shapes that make up nurb forms.

Does this make any sense? Am I just missing something in Rhino?

I still might stick to Rhino if I am indeed just overlooking a relatively simple concept. However, I would like to entertain the idea of other softwares as Rhino is probably a little complex for my purposes and because I can’t get used to the UI, despite having a decent understanding of it (IMO).

Considering all of these factors, what other programs might work better for me?

I didn’t really like Sketchup, (probably because I learned Rhino first). Ironically, it felt too oversimplified.

I am curious about Fusion 360, Solidworks or any other ones you think might suit me. Would these programs be more intuitive for me considering everything I’ve described?

Thanks for any help!

i’d recommend going through both of these courses… very low cost, tons of info.

then decide if rhino works for you-

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Yes, it makes sense, when comparing Rhino to Photoshop, although you can turn History on for some processes inside Rhino. You should keep in mind that tracking each and every bit of historical information, tremendously slows programs down, especially in 3D, since there’s loads to process.
Have you ever considered maybe using Grasshopper for some of these processes that you want to be more dynamic. It’s pretty much made for this! You can parameterize entire models or only parts. That’s up to you.

I guess Fusion, but I don’t like it even a bit. It’s bloatware and cloud-based! Performance is horrible. *goosebumps*

Not really, like described above, the two things you want to achieve above can be done in Rhino with Grasshopper null problemo. You can even make is so that you can control your Grasshopper definition from within Rhino.


Try Grasshopper


What kind of models do you do?
Do you really need Nurbs or you can live with meshes?

For that kind of stuff I’d probably stick with a parametric solid modeler like Fusion360. I personally find Rhino far too ‘fiddly(?)’ to use as a day to day modeler (product / industrial design) where I need fully parametric features and don’t want to fiddle with basic things like fillets. For me Rhino is great when it comes to creating complex / organic curves & geometry and also grasshopper.

These are my feelings exactly. Thank you for giving me the vocabulary to articulate the issues I’m having!

Throwing someone into grasshopper and expecting them to use it without a decent foundation in rhino is not a recipe for success.

I wouldn’t exactly agree with that. There are plenty of users who start with Grasshopper without knowledge of Rhino.

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