Outputting drawings from Rhino for Mac

Hi, I know this is a complaint I have had before, but I feel seriously trapped with Rhino for Mac. How Am I supposed to get a good quality drawing set to print out of Rhino for Mac? In the past I have ‘export_selected’ each drawing from a file and saved as an illustrator file then put together into a multi-page PDF. This results in beautiful drawings, but is a pain in the ass because when a change is needed, the illustrator conversion needs to happen all over again. Change line colors, weights, fills, page layout, etc. I would like to simply Print to a Tiff, or PNG that I then layout in InDesign then when I make changes in the Rhino file, re-print to TIFF and InDesign updates. I have tried -ViewportCaptureToFile but it feels clumsy in handling high quality resolutions, doesn’t create very clean lines, and takes a while to boot. Anybody have any other ideas? Rhino for Mac can’t print well, nor can it render well, so what is it for now that it is a commercial release? When it was in Beta I could understand these short comings, but now that I paid real money for it, I find the shortcomings crippling.

Have you tried printing to PDF? That should give you all of the options that -ViewCaptureToFile plus many more.

Run the Print command, set up the output the way you want and then click on the PDF option in the lower left corner of the print dialog.


Thanks for the quick reply. The print to PDF does work, just without good control over resolution and PDF’s do not do well as images in indesign. They do not compress very much and end up creating unwieldy file sizes.

We plan on added the missing tools as we go along.
The initial release was intended for Industrial designers that generally don’t have a big need for printed drawings like many other disciplines do.
Since we had the tools needed for our core users; industrial designers, why should we have held release any longer?

I think I hear that Layouts are on the development list for 5.2, but that’s just a guess and not a promise.

All the “dot” updates (5.1, 5.2, etc.) will be free.

I’m not exactly sure if layouts are going to help @carterskemp given the workflow being described. It sounds like the missing feature is the ability to print directly to an image file. @dan and @marlin, I don’t think this functionality is currently exposed in Mac Rhino but I’m also a little unsure if there is somewhere I should be looking beyond the print dialog.

i’m guessing carterskemp would be best served with the viewCaptureTo commands… the problem with using them right now is there appears to be no anti-aliasing applied to the export… (?)

here’s a screenshot with 4x AA in the viewports

then a ViewCaptureToFile of the viewport…

(you might have to click the images to see them at full size for a more obvious comparison)

also… i’ll go ahead and bump this one again :slight_smile: …i think it would be a less clumsy feel.

ViewCapture -- UI sales pitch :)

That’s what I am trying to describe also. Rhino for windows has a print destination of an image file. This is essentially the exact same functionality as the ViewCapture command, but with all of the options provided by the print dialog.

oh… ok. didn’t realize windows had that via print dialog… then in that case, what you said sounds right ‘missing ability to print directly to image’.

the not so painful workaround on mac would be:
instead of choosing ‘Save as PDF’ here:

…choose ‘open pdf in preview’… then File->Export-> tiff/png/etc

it gives better results than -ViewCapture.

a bug i might of just come across which would be helpful if i could make it work properly is in “Linetypes and Line widths”

‘Match Viewport Display’ doesn’t seem to do anything where as i’m expecting it to make the lines of the print appear to be the same thickness of lines as they appear in the viewport"
any ideas about this setting?

hmm. wow… getting images via the print dialog & preview.app combo is, as far as i can gather… the way to get the best 2D image exports out of rhino for mac.

here’s the same view as the other two i posted earlier (screenshot & -ViewCapture)… now at 3000px wide…

about as clean as one can need i think…
@carterskemp …if this image at full size looks good for your needs, i’ll list the steps i took to accomplish… need to go to sleep now though.

Jeff, I believe this pertains to Line Patterns, not thickness, i.e. the length of individual strokes of a dashed line. But you are right, the two available options seem to make no difference in the resulting print, in both cases the line pattern is scaled with the viewport size.


And another minor niggle: in the “Print” dialog, I cannot select “Hairline” as the default line width. It looks like it can be, but when viewing the print, the default line width has reverted to the last entered value before hairline. Viewing the print dialog again will confirm that.
I do not think it is a real problem, few people will select hairline as their default width, but it should be removed from the dropdown list.


i see what you’re saying. thanks

then in that case, it’d be neat if there were a setting that would automatically scale lineweight to match the look of the viewport… if i make a jpg that’s 4x the size of the viewport then the lines will be 4x thicker…
something like that.

If you are going into InDesign, you can try exporting as a .ai file (I’m assuming you have Illustrator too). This way you’ll get a vector graphic that will scale and print sharp at any size, and ready for page layout.

However, open the file in Illustrator first and save it (converted). InDesign 2014 throws the following dialog if you place the Rhino exported .ai:

I’m speculating that the Rhino .ai output format is not very current, and if my memory is correct, Win Rhino does the same. Been that way for many years. Illustrator deals with the outdated format and updates it (converted), and then you can place the file into Indesign if you choose, or just stay in Illustrator. You can edit the file, i.e, color, line weight, in IL too.

Hi All,

Thanks for all the responses to my post.

First, my response to the various responses:

  1. -ViewCaptureToFile does work, but not with the precision that I would like. For it to work correctly with InDesign’s ability to update links, the view must be exactly the same each time. Also to get it to have a resolution high enough it must be set to some pretty high dpi’s and then it takes a while to output. Not ideal, nor really even usable when trying to output 15 drawings or so.

  2. Although the Preview to export might work ok, it just seems like another clunky work around for a program that is otherwise very very powerful. We are talking about a commercial release here. It is no longer just beta software.

  3. Putting the file as an .ai file straight into InDesign does not work. It will result in a drawing with zero line-weights. That step through Illustrator is also a problem as it requires futzing every time you export. I have yet to get a Rhino exported .ai file to have the drawing actually land on the page. Also, again, if you don’t then spend a considerable amount of time in Illustrator, you will not have any line-weights in InDesign.

Ok, so thinking this all the way through and being a little more clear about my own issues with the flow of work into a high quality presentation:

Right now the absolute highest quality finished drawing work comes when I export a drawing as an .ai, then open in Illustrator and apply all line-weights and fills in Illustrator, then placing that .ai file into InDesign. Illustrator has, right now, the best line control of all the software. Detailing the way corners are handled, fine tuned color fills, etc. BUT, BUT! This is quite difficult when needing to make changes, as Illustrator is quite bad at drafting compared to Rhino, so then any decent amount of changes is easiest back in Rhino, but then all the line-work done in Illustrator is completely lost when re-exporting the drawing back out of Rhino into Illustrator.

So then, right now the best compromise between ease of changes and highest quality results is Layouts in Win Rhino. I can completely layout a drawing set, even put in a few images with PicturePlane. Changes are updated automatically as expected. Unfortunately this method is quite limited in terms of a full on project presentation as the layout feature set is quite limited compared to InDesign in terms of PDF output, image cropping, text handling, etc.

One way I was thinking of going is the high quality print to image, where the link in InDesign is then is auto updated whenever I print to a file, but then this now requires going back into Windows. Again, since all my software is currently in the Mac environment, I really really really want Mac Rhino to be able to output with control.

So, rambling done. I think John_Brock’s response is the most helpful for me. Wait for updates.

Thanks again for all the reponses.

I’ll paraphrase for you…

  1. Get your drawings “right” in MacRhino BEFORE exporting to .ai if super high quality vector is the goal without time consuming do-overs.

  2. Toss the Mac, no one uses them anyway (just kidding) and use WinRhino until MacRhino is on par (AND COSTS THE SAME)

  3. Go to Staples, buy an “EASY” button, output raster graphics…hum/chant, and be happy…

Just fooling man…good work, good report!

We have a very similar work flow in our arch office. We use Cadtools plug in for illustrator which gives the program some drafting abilities, scale, dimensioning, etc. It may be with a look.

Agree to CadTools, another thing for speeding up the workflow in Illustrator are scripts. I would recommend the scripts from Hiroyuki Sato: http://shspage.com/aijs/en