Rhino lost hobbyists to Autodesk. Are architects to Blender next?

I still contend that Rhino has lost essentially most if not all hobbyist market share, but at least they could survive on Grasshopper… or can they?

Blender conference just posted this video:

Will McNeel survive if they loose the architects too?

Are jewelry and movie set designers now the only niche Blender still rules in?

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You probably already knew before I even posted but I’m all over topics like this :wink:

Is there a typo in that sentence? Seems opposite. Possible that I read it wrong.

Back to the topic(s):

  1. Hobbyists

I’m not so sure that Rhino isn’t still insanely popular with hobbyists. My anecdotal knowledge tells me that Rhino is a powerful player in the jewelry sector. And jewelry designers earn a ton of $$$ using Rhino. The cost/revenue ratio is through the roof. And all this before the release of Grasshopper Gold (which from what I can tell received a lot of praise).

However, if Rhino did in fact lose a lot of market share in many of these niche markets, I’m simply naïve to that fact. Maybe something else came out that I don’t know about. I do know that something came out for creating furniture/cushions that absolutely blows everything else away (including the designer’s budget).

2a) Rhino and Architecture:

I researched the @#$%# out of this subject. And my conclusion:

  • Rhino doesn’t nearly reach it’s full potential as far as architecture is concerned.
  • And there are many small barriers preventing it from reaching that potential (and possibly drastically increasing it’s market presence in that area) but only a small number of people are really willing to contribute.

The two points above apply more to the “Full Rhino Workflow”. By that I mean producing full drawing sets in Rhino. Rhino is already heavily utilized throughout the design process in various ways (too many to discuss) and is a long way away from being replaced by Blender.

2b) Blender and Architecture:

I have a HUGE amount of respect for the tools people are creating in Blender. It’s getting better and better all the time. In it’s current state however, you’d better free up your schedule before you consider doing anything in the program; you’re going to have to put in serious time. That’s really the trade-off isn’t it?

I love that Blender is keeping the bigger players on their heels. They can’t just release overpriced garbage anymore (unless you work under a dumb manager who soaks up all the marketing hype). Firms and studios are having a hard time incorporating Blender simply because things take too much time, and require too high a skill level, to remain competitive; it’s too risky (for now) for all but the most ambitious designers.

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What does that even mean? What hobbyist market? The one that completely failed to materialize in the crappy-3D-printing boom and bust? Rhino’s lost the market of people who think they’re entitled to free software?

And oh no! Someone posted a VIDEO! Making a sales pitch! This is to be taken seriously! Yawn.

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Isn’t Blender a mesh tool, while Rhino is a NURBS modeller? Well, NURBS plus some Mesh stuff as well, and GH, and most of all - a C# 3D programming platform.

// Rolf

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I have never truly worked in architecture, except during my studies. But I have switched professions slightly over the years, working in different sized companies on completely different problems. My observation is that there is always a Rhino license around to do some special work. No matter if the company is rather small or large.

Also being a hobbyist myself, I can confirm that Autodesk Fusion360 does everything I would need to do, often better and free of charge. I had this discussion often, but I don’t think that for most hobbyist it makes sense buy to Rhino privately. Especially for the majority of people on this planet, where a thousand $/€ is still a lot of money.

Architecture however is very special. There is a mentality of trying different tools and abuse them to fit into very specialised workflows. I would bet no tool is good enough to reflect all this. Rhino actually does a good job in integrating into very different workflows. However there is a also a very irrational component to it. Often you see tools being hyped, because office X is using it, or University Y does some research on it. Its not always about solving problem, but rather about creating new problems :stuck_out_tongue:

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I haven’t come across any SDKs that match what Rhino offers, especially when you factor in how straightforward and robust it is to use. It’s not just about buying the software; it’s about the extra mileage you get by building on top of it. The lifetime license is a steal, and when you throw in custom development for specific business needs, the value skyrockets.

The web integration is a solid feature, too. I’ve been freelancing for a long while now and I ve been helping jewelry shops and furniture sellers get their custom software and 3D web configurators up and running.

Honestly, Rhino’s a game-changer in the jewelry and marine industries because of the value it delivers. I wish more companies took a page out of McNeel’s book.

I think the same applies to other industries but who knows curious to hear other people opinions.

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Mandating a specific software for a university design workshop, like this guy, seems pretty stupid to me. I hear nowadays they are spoonfeeding software skills to students. When i was at uni, no one cared how people produced their drawings. Teaching software at uni is a waste of time, if you ask me.

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I fall entirely within the 3D hobbyist market; and I certainly do not think that I am “entitled” to anything.

I think Rhino for hobbyists has a remarkably strong case in the modern era for a paid piece of software. If you were happy to pay for software, and you beleive it worthwhile, then Rhino is certainly the first software I would direct anyone towards.

Autodesk have a very strong hand if you are prepared to go the subscription route, as they have thier Indie subscriptions, which are far cheaper on an annualised basis than Rhino. This allows complete commercial use up to a specific income ($100,000?), which is great. But you are still trapped in the dystopian hellscape of leasing stuff; which is a killer if you aren’t earning anything from it.

I know we as “hobbyists” may appear “entitled” and inferior beings; but I know many, many skilled and very talented people out there. Even my relatively sedate and lower-quality renderings often get two questions from other hobby artists:

  • What did you use to make your ?
  • What did you use to render you ?

In some way, I think hobbyists can make a great contribution to the community. Blender is a monster peice of software to learn, and it’s user interface, as much improved as it is, is still a bit clunky for me. But it has a really great capability for aesthetic things like physics simulation, VDB support, and supports all three GPU vendors out of the box now: something no other software achieves I beleive.

I think the community for 3D hobbyists is reasonably strong, and perhaps an untapped resource, if not for profit; perhaps for community engagement. Little things that Blenderartists does is… engage with artists. I was lucky enough to be asked to go into Rhinozine. As an “entitled” user, it made my month!

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This is so very true… (working in architecture)

All the specialized, highly developed applications, that I know of at least (Archicad, Revit), feel… old, and plump. I use them if I must.
Rhino’s ‘light-footedness’ feels so right in comparison.
It surely won’t hurt if McNeel continued to cater to our needs here. They do.

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Who said that people are entitled, if they buy Rhino for hobby usage? There are lots of people in the world who spend way more on a hobby and will never have a doubt in buying Rhino or even more costly software.

My point is just that if you never get a return-of-investment, its for many people quite an barrier to breach.This is often not just a mental border, but it can be an economical border as well. And with Fusion360, FreeCad, Blender and other apps, you get quite powerful software for paying no money at all. It is for many personal projects more than sufficient.

And because of this, I definitely assume that this makes Rhino less attractive to hobbyists. But, I don’t know the numbers. The opposite could also be true. High inflation, more rich people, all this could cause a different trend. Who knows…

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I’m quite OK with Rhino positioning itself as a professional tool and leaving the free/low-cost software makers to fight it out for the “hobbyist” market.

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It was more a response to the…

What does that even mean? What hobbyist market? The one that completely failed to materialize in the crappy-3D-printing boom and bust? Rhino’s lost the market of people who think they’re entitled to free software?

I may have been overzelous here.

In terms of hobbies, it is seldom the case that hobbies are ever “free”, they usually just come with a cost that you deem acceptable. People who are into cars, audio, knitting, film, kite-flying… all spend probably more money than they may think supporting said hobby. One of the more recent hip things… drone piloting, that gets expensive fast!

The cost of Rhino is very good if you are into doing a hobby compared to a lot of other paid software, and you can drop it and pick it up again if you like.

Blender is also an odd one, because it is free by virtue of the fact that it is quite massively supported by large vendors. There are quite a few showcase pieces of software and capability in Blender that have received a good amount of funding from industrial partners.

I think Blender is really improved over recent years, but it comes down to personal taste. For me it is a bit overwhelming in capability. It’s also a matter of integration. Rhino has a really nice base of renderers, for those of us who don’t want to go through exotic export loops and material gymnastics just to get it rendered. Though many of these renderers are subscription now, they are still easy to use if you want that sort of thing.

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I may have been overzelous here.

In terms of hobbies, it is seldom the case that hobbies are ever “free”, they usually just come with a cost that you deem acceptable. People who are into cars, audio, knitting, film, kite-flying… all spend probably more money than they may think supporting said hobby. One of the more recent hip things… drone piloting, that gets expensive fast!

The cost of Rhino is very good if you are into doing a hobby compared to a lot of other paid software, and you can drop it and pick it up again if you like.

Blender is also an odd one, because it is free by virtue of the fact that it is quite massively supported by large vendors. There are quite a few showcase pieces of software and capability in Blender that have received a good amount of funding from industrial partners.

I think Blender is really improved over recent years, but it comes down to personal taste. For me it is a bit overwhelming in capability. It’s also a matter of integration. Rhino has a really nice base of renderers, for those of us who don’t want to go through exotic export loops and material gymnastics just to get it rendered. Though many of these renderers are subscription now, they are still easy to use if you want that sort of thing.

Blender is just as good as Rhino, different purpose.

  • Rhino is an accurate nurbs modeller.
  • Blender only withs meshes.

They are different scopes even though they may overlap.
But Blender is really HQ just as much as Rhino tbh.

Can’t deny that. I love browsing Blender works on Blenderartists; it really is fantastic what it can do. I think there is even some sculpting now?

I think my point is, in reality, if you look at the resources/partners of Blender…

It’s no longer quite the community-driven software as it… sort of… was. It’s rather industrial now. And it’s certainly high quality, no doubt. And as always, free. It’s also really good that both Vray and Octane have Blender support now too, if you are that way inclined.

Ok, I missed that. Yes I’m not disagreeing here. Personal preference matters. Btw I currently prefer Fusion360 for my hobby projects, because its a parametric modelling software. Its suits better if you have more functional use-cases and you want to easily modify things. You trade control and precision from a direct modelling software for simplicity and smarter functionality. But overall its a time-saver, which is another aspect of hobby usage. Other than that, yes I do believe Rhino will loose architects sooner or later. It has enjoyed a hype around Grasshopper itself, but after over ten years, it is not the latest and hottest thing to do anymore. Unfortunately, this has always been the case. Especially because you see a lot of noise from architecture coming from the academic environment.

offering to learn a software is not mandating, but for most students it is a first dearly needed step which enables them to start communicating their ideas. you can take classes at a different course/university if you have this option and if you really think that will gain you more thrust, in the end you decide what you use but you have to start anywhere anyway.

i am all for learning new stuff if the old one does not get it done. before studying architecture i was in luck and emerged in an environment using c4d which easily could be used to do your design and communications with. but for the sake of the university i brought it over me to learn Rhino and i was really happy about it because it enabled me to think a bit different. Software technology is after all often a limiting factor, knowing more apps just opens that bottle neck maybe wide enough to escape it.

on the other side looking at Blender over and over and over again it sounds so tempting but i always found the UI so freaking awkward to work with that i never got into it. i also never saw anything i really needed which other packages dont offer in that or a similar way or which at least enable me to do in a similar amount of time with different techniques. yes blender is free yes blender is hype, but its always the same, people will try to call you convince you, format you and justify that you will need that for your life that they feel more solidified justified in their choices, it is not really about what it can do in that sense.

so mandatory is also a social/marketing environmental pressure which is there just the same and in the end its always a fight and a run to survive which makes this provocative topic very relevant.

:smile:

Phil@SimplyRhino

Hobbyist appear to usually prefer free or very low cost software, even when they spend much larger amounts on other aspects of their hobby.

Amateur boat designers (based on posts on Boat Design Forum and other forums) usuallly use free or very low cost software such as DelftShip (sub-division modeling) and it’s near clone FreeShip, the free version Fusion360 (which has significant limitations for designing boat shape objects), and a variety of old software.

Amateur furniture builders used to use Sketchup because it was free and promoted by magazines and websites. More recently Fusion360 has become popular, largely because it is free, though there still are a lot of Sketchup users.

My guess is the revenue available in the hobbyist market for software is very limited, due to hobbyists expecting sofware to be free or almost free. (And some hobbyists are willing to use cracked software.) I also doubt there is much movement from the hobbyist market into the commercial and professional market.

The educational market is a different story. While the possible revenue directly from sales to the educational market is limited. there is a lot of movement from the educational market into commercial and professional market. Users frequently want to contiue to use the software they used as students. For employers it can be more efficient to use the software new hires already know than to train them on new software. Faculty consult and publish and influence software decisions. That is why software such as Rhino and Autodesk’s products are made available for free or at very low cost to the educational market.

From what I know the selling numbers tell that Architecture is the primary growing market for Rhino.
In my opinion because Architect are bored to keep using Acad and other “old” softwares.
Revit, totally a different story, isn’t yet able to give the flexibility you need in modern architecture.
For now Architecture remains a very good market.
Blender, an amazing piece of software, can fit only for concept design phases or rendering.

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I believe that, too. Rhino hasn’t tapped into it’s full potential in this industry.
It’s sooo [disgusted gesture] that many architects still (have to) switch to the expensive BIM solutions for decent drafting. (Our office still uses Autocad for shop drawings… even looked into Bricscad shortly to ditch Autodesk).
So much on the good side - a gigantic geometry codebase, Win/Mac, support for all the relevant programming languages including Grasshopper, a tight and fast approach to modelling… But when it comes to those ‘high level’ features, which are more about management and a streamlined start-to-end workflow, there’s still so much homework to be done.
Homework, like DWG export from layouts. Stuff like this (Did this in Sketchup Layout recently instead of Rhino)

Yes, this is the old litany about: add this feature, and we don’t need that application anymore… something Mr. McNeel himself is humoured about in this interview… Make Revit, Archicad and the lot obsolete one day? Hell yeah.
Hope I get old enough to see this happen. : }