Rhino to Blender Cycles?

Hi Guys (inparticular @nathanletwory) ,

The addition of cycles in V6 has done a great deal to bring rhino up to speed with other 3D programs I frequently use in my workflow like blender, so I’ve been wondering if there are future plans to further integrate the workflow between these two applications.

The most obvious being the potential for a cross-functional material library i.e.(something similar to a VRscene.file like V-ray uses so models can be opened in separate applications but with their original material properties etc.)

I work in a visualisation studio predominantly based around architecture so use Rhino for its ability in handling CAD files etc. but often run into difficulties when buildings designs are changing the same time we’re animating flythroughs. At the moment our solution for this is using vray as previously mentioned as a middle man between programs, but this isn’t always a seamless process.

I guess i’m bringing this up now mostly in light of Blender’s plans for Eevee and realtime rendering:

Looking towards the future, having the power to quickly export a blender ready (cycles) file from rhino could allow immediate integration with Eevee as they use the same material files.

Acknowleding that I am potentially asking a bit too much I thought it was worth a try, as I see this as a much more viable option than my current workflow with v-ray. I know this was similarly spoken about in this thread: Cycles and Eevee? but I thought I should start a new one as this is more about creating a scene filetype between rhino-blender as opposed to a ported render engine from blender later on.

any response/information would be greatly appreciated, and thanks again for your great work on rhino cycles


Technically it is possible, but there are no plans for such total-scene conversion in the near future. What I can see happening in a “near” future is a conversion tool for shaders, but it all depends on how much time the Mac version of Rhino 6 is going to take from my life. The best thing would probably to create a .blend exporter. the sDNA of Blender is quite well documented, it should be possible to create an exporter for Rhino.

Too bad that Eevee is GPLv3, otherwise it’d be a nice job to integrate into Rhino like Cycles :slight_smile: Instead you should just keep asking @jeff and @DavidEranen for similar quality from Rendered mode…

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Hi jcmv_design,

If the buildings are being designed or exported to Rhino, and the animations you are doing are only flythroughs, why not just create the animation in Rhino/Bongo to save yourself the pain of all the exporting? If your animations are complex, then I get it, blender might be needed. But . . . for simple a fly through why export to Blender?


@nathanletwory Great to hear! By the conversion tool do you mean something that would essentially translate material properties into an OSL file/script?
And awesome to hear something like a blend exporter. could be possible. I figured with your knowledge of blender’s development and converting cycles to rhino, it would “basically” be something like reversing that process?
I think creating cross-compatibility between the 2 programs could go a long way in converting many in my situation, chained to 3DS max lol.
Looking forward to when you get some time to try it out :smiley: :smiley:

@Ryan4 I find Bongo’s animation capabilities extremely restrictive. Most of the other guys I work with are from gaming/animation background and would be near impossible to create cohesion between our workflows, thus why I use 3ds max at the moment because I can at least export alembic. files to blender for them to use etc.

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No, instead of OSL just generate directly a Cycles node shadergraph. RhinoCycles uses the very same nodes so pretty much a 1 to 1 conversion is possible. There are only few minor differenced: RhinoCycles has some custom outputs to TextureCoordinates node, a Matrix math node, and a RGB to Luminance node (RGBtoBW, but with different weights for the different channels)

Totally Understand. I didn’t realize you were working with a team on different software and thought you were simply doing fly throughs. I use Bongo a lot but I’m not doing anything too complex to be honest that it can’t handle.

So, does the rest of your team use Blender Currently? I might have a few questions for you on that if you don’t mind?

I’ve been thinking about and looking into blender is why I ask. The current animation I’m working on today could benefit from Blender simply because of a couple of small items that I’m luckily able to pull off in my VFX software HitFilm. But learning Blender is something I’ve been thinking about for a while and was waiting until Cycles came to Rhino before giving it more thought. I’ll always use Rhino because I work with a lot of product engineers supporting the in visuals and animations and blender would give me that extra edge with animations and now that Cycles in is both . … that would be great.

Blender is great for VFX, postpro compositing, color correction, camera/object tracking, and so on. I often use it also to create final video format from bongo frames.

Isn’t there some overlap between bongo and grasshopper? I guess the bongo audience is rather small, other programs are much more popular when it comes to animation. Maybe make some of the bongo stuff possible with grasshopper and therefore end bongo completely? I don’t really know if this is something that would make sense, it’s just a feeling.

Similar situation with flamingo, brazil, penguin and cycles. Are they all developed by mcneel? If so, four different render solutions seem to be a bit redundant. looking at the brazil homepage, tells me the development has stopped many years ago anyway.

Sticking to the topic, I see why eevee doesn’t make a lot of sense for rhino since eevee has realtime/animation in mind and rhino isn’t really geared towards animation.

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Hi Nathan, that is great to know and hear, thanks for the input. Currently, I use Hit Film Pro for VFX and all PostPro, it’s an awesome program I find more powerful that After Effects EXCEPT for motion graphics, which After Effects has the edge on.

I think getting an integration from Rhino to Blender would be amazing. I tend to stick with Bongo as much as I can for animations as ALL of my models are coming into Rhino and it’s just makes things easier. However, with this latest project, I’ve gotten requests to do some things that Bongo just can’t do at the moment. I wish Bongo was being developed faster, but I understand it probably has a small user base and limited resources to push development. Plus, the support on this forum is terrific and LUC is always there to help with Bongo questions and that’s worth a ton!

I think ending Bongo will be taking a step back. Not everyone uses Grasshopper often. I’m hoping that Bongo V3 will add major functionality, INCLUDING Grasshopper integration for those that use GH. Rhino just got an amazing update both in performance, modeling enhancements, and now rendering capability. Adding more robust animation support would be, to me, a great next step for the program.

If someone with the knowledge made a direct .blend exporter that’d be amazing. it’s not difficult to get Rhino into Blender as a obj, fbx etc. but in my experience it can be finicky and meshes need cleanup in Blender. I know the Rhino mesher has been improving a lot lately, maybe that’s not such an issue anymore.

Absolutely, that would be great and beneficial for my work as well (animate explosion drawing for example). Just thought grasshopper might be capable of taking over what bongo was meant to do until now. But I don’t know bongo that well, again was just a feeling.

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We’re after the same thing, BETTER animation capabilities!!! I’m using Bongo more and more and have stressed what it can do lately. They’ve talked about some really cool features for Bongo 3, i’m just hoping V3 isn’t too far off.

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Will have to try bongo 3 as soon as it becomes available as beta

I’m very eager for Bongo 3 but I’ve heard no mention of when yet. Last I heard they were talking about some basic physics stuff, GH integration as well. Luc or Marika if you’re reading this, any word on a BETA date for V3?

Note that it still means a lot of typing to get a .blend exporter in Rhino done (and a .blend importer, if you really insist).

There isn’t really a library of the reading and writing code that one could link against. And the current code is all GPLv3.

There are some java and python implementations for the .blend format out there, so maybe those can be shoehorned into doing this for Rhino.

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Yes, Blender is our main animation/visualisation tool. With my role being more of a model optimizer / importer, as I have an architectural background and sometimes receive models from revit, auto cad etc.
Thus the desire for an easier workflow between the two, making my life more enojoyable :wink:

I’ve been thinking the same thing for quite a while, if Grasshopper could introduce a timeline component similar to say, how TouchDesigner integrates theirs. I think the possibilities could be endless, having the ability to reference animated geometry imported from other programs or rhino would be amazing.

I’m not quite sure what McNeel are hoping to do with their other seemingly abandoned/outdated plugins like bongo, but I agree that utilising grasshopper as a place to find all your plugins seems much more logical.

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Sounds Fantastic, would love to try it in the Rhino Beta when you get some time to have a crack at it!
And yes a blend. exporter would definitely be the priority, I wouldn’t be too concerned about Blender to Rhino as I imagine most of the animation data wouldn’t carry over too well.

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Animation data not, but things like UV maps and perhaps even shader graphs could be useful.

While talking all these things you need to keep in mind one inherent difference between the two (not looking at nurbs): Rhino doesn’t have object origins like Blender. All geometry data is in world space (with the kludgy exception of block instances).

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