Rendering vegetation and proxy objects

Rhino WIP/Raytrace test on an Evermotion tree imported as a linked block from an FBX file (296MB)

Display mode performance:
Wireframe - Ok
Shaded - too slow, impossible to work with
Raytraced - 6.33min (see result below)

I was hoping to get something similar to my Rhino 5/Thea rendering (below) using lots of 3d trees inserted as proxy objects, 3d grass and 3d scanned people. (render time: only 3 hours! on a MacBookPro I7-4870 2.5Ghz/ GT750M)

I shared the results in order to point out that:

  • vegetation is important for architectural rendering
  • proxy objects are a necessity when working with high-poly meshes.
  • and the fact that all this is already possible in rhino 5 using thea or vray
    (those 2 plugins are the only ones i found that support rhino viewport integration, camera sync, 2 point perspective and proxy objects)

Will this be possible in rhino6 without additional plugins? Is architectural visualization a serious goal for the future?



I am not sure about proxy objects, but if you put a tree in a block and instance that you should be able to put a huge forest in your scene with little additional memory overhead. Raytraced can handle those, it will use mesh instancing behind the scenes (Cycles).

2-point perspective is still on my todo list.

What do you mean with camera-sync? Raytraced (Cycles) is already integrated in the viewport and offers interactive realtime rendering…


Hi Nathan, thanks for your reply!
Cycles indeed could become a viable solution. It wold be super nice to have a strong rendering engine as part of rhino!

About block instancing, memory is not really a problem. It’s the display performance that kills the workflow. With a few blocks in the scene, rotating, panning zooming, selecting becomes impossible in both shaded and ray-traced modes. This is why proxies could be a good option.

Or is there a way to replace the way a block is displayed in the viewport with some simplified representation?

Other questions:

The number on the lower right side of the viewport that increases when rendering, is it the samples per pixel value? For me it stops at 200 but there is almost no change between 100 and 200. Is this normal?

Will render to texture be integrated to be used together with the Bake command? This would be a great option for VR and augmented reality applications.


You can change the number of samples by using the RhinoCycles_ChangeSamples command when a raytraced viewport is active. A visible change in quality will be scene-specific.

Not that I currently know of, but it would be a good feature to have. This is probably something that the so-called changequeue on which the Cycles integration builds should handle.

I am not sure how this would work with the current setup or how you’d use that with interactive rendering.


About render to texture, i am asking because i can see it implemented in blender cycles:

Baking render could be very useful when it comes to real time presentations for architects, especially because Rhino is very good when it comes to UV mapping, very accurate, very easy to use compared to other software.
Ambient occlusion, at least, could be stored as texture to be used several times without recomputing.

Low poly representations of high-poly linked-blocks seems to be the only option for a good workflow. It wold be a great feature to have! Otherwise the only option is to spend thousands of euro on high-end graphic cards just to be able to navigate trough the scene.

Ah, you meant texture baking. As I wrote this week in another thread, that is already on the wish list ( at the end of my post at PBR workflow in Rhino 6? )


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Hi Bogdan -

You can set the display modes (not raytraced, I guess, but the more standard ones) to degrade the display to boxes if things get too slow -


It has been a while since I tested with well over 500k block instances on the old GT 420, and for that card the view manipulation was quite good. I imagine it be even better on my GTX 760. I don’t have access to quadros to test though. But I certainly will do some forest test when I get back in the office from my holiday.


You could try post production and insert high res Trees in PS. Its a saving time for low end graphics, specially with gaming graphics.
And for you, that use Thea Render, you will need CUDAS… More cudas means, more fast rotate viewport and more fast renders time in Presto AO. The others engines inside Thea is mainly CPU (and for that you should try the best CPU intel i7 for your budget). Go check HOLOMARK benchmarks.
Unfortunately you have a macbook pro laptop. And it is not the best machine to work with complex files. Macbooks Pro are mainly for Adobe Design and Design purpose. Not construction, engineering or architecture. In fact, they are to expensive for what they offer under laptop case. With that price you can get a a powerful desktop machine to build your complex files and render scenes, still save money to buy a medium end “not mac” laptop to work on the way, for files in wireframe. Like Cad, Rhino or else.


Vegetation is crucial for architectural visualization and is currently something not dealt with well in Rhino. (I wasn’t aware of the BBox Display option mentioned above so I tested it on a vegetation-heavy model from one of my visualizations and unfortunately it didn’t seem to help all that much).

Enhancing functionality in this area would also help in other areas of architectural visualization as well (crowds of people, cars, dirt, etc.).

From my perspective, Rhino seems quite popular with architects but many end up using 3ds for visualization precisely because it’s stronger in this area.

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Did you see this thread? Maybe some of the suggestions and ideas will be helpful:


I couldn’t agree more with you jkjenner!

Vegetation, people, cars all other 3d assets help define the right scale for the building within the site and the ambiance, with correct shading, reflections and color bleeding.

There are so many libraries of high poly 3d objects that architects can make use of! I found 3d drone-scanned landscapes on Sketchfab! Archiproducts is full of high-poly contemporary furniture!

Rhino, not only is very good for architecture but it is also very cheap compared to autodesk products.
I hate importing into 3dstudio or any other software for rendering! Bad workflow, huge waste of time!

For architects, the rendered image is part of the design process. It is important to have as many of them, as fast as possible as the design gets changed several times.

Jarek, i checked your thread! Very informative! Using some simple sketch to replace the high-poly object is exactly what we need! Tweaking the display mode is also a very good direction, this makes the workflow smooth even on cheap, every-day-use computers.

My suggestion for Rhino6/Cycles:
When importing something as a linked block (linked block is best for memory usage), there should be an option to set up an object display mode similar to what is described in Jareks thread, maybe automatically running the ReduceMesh command to create the low-poly representation.

I am surprised that all this is not listed among the new features of Rhino6/Cycles. It seems that all the ingredients are already there. Not to mention a good marketing opportunity: 3dsmax license 2000€/year, Vray 1000€! Everybody will be more than happy to get rid of this software forever! Not to mention those professional rendering companies that are charging architects with 1000€/image.



Maybe a new display mode could be a first step in this direction - “Reduced” mode. In this mode only meshes (+rendermeshes) could be shown and only a set percentage of the polygons is visible.


Hi Bogdan,

can you explain how you got these beautiful trees into your render? what is the source and process?

The trees are from So I just imported the fbx file into Rhino and arrange them into my scene.
That image was rendered in Thea render.

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thank you!