Rhino to Blender Cycles?

As I recall someone was working on OpenNurbs for Blender years ago. Does anyone know if that got anywhere? I haven’t seen nurbs mentioned in the same sentence as Blender in quite awhile.

Hi jcmv,

maybe two other options are interesting for:

  • the Enscape for Rhino plugin is something like Eevee, you can very quick render fly troughs and create RT VR. This tool allow to render interiors in nearly V-Ray quality within seconds. www.enscape3d.com
  • V-ray for Unreal - an easy way to open vrscenes at Unreal https://www.chaosgroup.com/vray/unreal
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Hey @Micha,

Yes thanks for the suggestions I have tried both recently. I think V-Rays conversion system to unreal is very promising, i’ve only tried it a few times so far but the results have been pretty seamless with not a whole bunch of tweaking needed.

My purpose for starting this thread isn’t so much about creating a realtime engine that would be on par with eevee, it’s more about opening up a simpler workflow between Rhino and Blender. Each program has its advantages over one another so I think allowing users to utilise them as needed is the best option.

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I understand. Blender has a great potential and I would be interested too, to see a good connection.

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I too have been running into limitations with Bongo which has me looking at Blender. After decades at the helm of Rhino, Blender is just a totally different UI and I know I am in for a steep learning curve. Bongo however will not animate VRay materials or work with any render farm services and frankly sometimes just doesn’t seem to function as it supposed to (buggy). Hardware has advanced to the point where my still shots only take a handfull of minutes, its animating where I need a render farm. I know I can not be the only one wanting to create fly thorugh animations with objects moving that are high quality and realistic from inside of Rhino. Does Enscape support object animation?

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To use Blender you’d export your model(s) to some format Blender supports: OBJ or FBX are pretty good candidates.

No, no chance. Also there is no interest of the Enscape team that user experiment with it (no scripting of the Enscape export is possible, so that I could be used per Bongo.). I afraid there is a technological limit.

Blender - did you know that there is a free Vray for Blender? Maybe you get your animated Vray materials.

Also very interesting is the Blender real time render Eevee. This is something like Enscape, but seems to be much better. Animated objects should be no problem. I have seen impressive videos on youtube. I think, it’s only a question of time that I start to learn Blender. :wink:

Did you have seen the post of @nathanletwory, where he post this link of a 3dm importer for Blender?

So much interesting new stuff at the Blender side that looks like a nice addition for Rhino user. It’s time that the grey, rainy autumn starts. :slight_smile:

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That is Blender 2.80 and onward, for the record.

It already started more than a month ago. If not in your place yet you should move to Finland :wink:

But I agree that Blender is a very useful companion tool.

I installed Blender 2.8 now and I ask me, which steps needs to be done to get the 3dm importer working. I suppose so I need to copy some files to a directory or? Sorry, I’m a totally newbie.


  • Install Python 3.7.1 (64-bit), have the installer add Python 3.7 to your PATH as well. Make sure pip gets installed (using the defaults from the first button, together with the checkbox for adding to PATH should get that set up).
  • Open a cmd.exe (start > run > cmd.exe)
  • install rhino3dm.py using: pip3.7 install --user rhino3dm
  • Save the file https://raw.githubusercontent.com/jesterKing/import_3dm/master/import_3dm.py to a place you can easily remember (desktop or downloads is fine)
  • Start Blender 2.80
  • In top menu press Edit > User Preferences...
  • Select the section Add-ons
  • In the bottom of that window select Install add-on from file...
  • Browse to where you saved import_3dm.py, select it and press the Install add.-on from file button in the top right of the file browser
  • Done. Probably a good idea to restart Blender.

If you just now downloaded Blender 2.80 you can either use the operator search menu by pressing F3, or through File > Import.

I’ll add some screenshots later.


@nathanletwory Thank you very much for the detailed list, I got it straight working. :slight_smile:

Enjoy :slight_smile:

I’ve finally made this work. Thanks for the instructions @nathanletwory. It looks like a great start with layers! :slight_smile: . I am wondering whether the meshing settings will be adaptable based on the geometry? Also, quite looking forward to material definitions and camera settings in subsequent updates. Cheers!

What do you mean by that, based on geometry? Could you elaborate?

Regarding meshing settings: currently the importer reads render meshes that already exist in the file - if there are none objects will be essentially empty holders.

Meshing is something that eventually will be supported with the rest of the Rhino Inside / Compute technology, meaning that meshing will be done by a Rhino installation on the same computer.

Materials as per the Materials table of a 3dm file already is done. What is lacking is RenderMaterial access from the RDK.

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Hi Nathan,

Are you saying that once Rhino’s RDK allows Blender to access the Rhino materials, that we’d be able to export a Rhino Model into blender AND keep the same material definitions?

If so, this is very interesting, because that means that we could do general everyday renders in Rhino Cycles, and then export to Blender for complex animation sequences, while keeping the same aesthetic (if the same materials are also ported over).

That’s been my biggest issue with doing an animation that is above and Beyond what Bongo can do – once I export to another program, I’m remaking all materials, lighting, etc and it can be a challenge to get the same exact look. Projects often start out with just still shots (Rhino Only), then clients decide down the line they’d also like an animation. So . . . the same look is needed between the stills and animation. Most of the time Bongo works for me, but it’s starting to get challenging to keep using Bongo with some client requests and Blender would be quite handy!!!


Right now I make a very simple conversion using the simplest of simplest Principled BSDF setup. The Rhino Custom material shader graph is much more intricate than that, especially wrt textures and such.

Eventually it can be possible to have the exact same material definition in Blender as Raytraced uses. At the moment some data access is still missing, preventing us from having that. But once that is resolved we should be able to have quite a close match.

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That sounds great Nathan, looking forward to it. Hopefully, the data access that you need will be in Rhino 6.x rather than 7, 8 etc.


It is not data access in Rhino 6.x, 7 or 8 that matters, but the access provided by the rhino3dm.py module used to access the 3dm file.

Ahh, ok, understood. Thanks for the clarification!

What I was alluding to is automatic mesh settings adjustment based on the complexity of the geometry. For example, a sphere gets subdivided many times to preserve smoothness, whereas a plane does not. However, after testing this a bit via obj, it actually appears that if the object is simple it already act precisely in this manner, so never mind my question :slight_smile: