Rhino vs Plasticity For Entertainment Industry Concept Art

Hi there,

I am an artist in the entertainment industry, specifically, VFX and games. I would like to inquire from experienced users of Rhino whether Rhino would be suitable for my needs. I have no experience with Rhino. All of my work is created with polygons inside Maya or sculpting packages such as zBrush and Mudbox. This post is not to suggest Plasticity is better than Rhino. I do not know either. I am simply trying to understand if Rhino would be a suitable option for me.

It has been brought to my attention that artists in my industry who primarily design and model hard surface assets, such as guns, cars, mechs, armour, etc, have been shifting from Fusion 360 to Plasticity due to its ease of use. Plasticity offers the freedom to create shapes that are otherwise very challenging with traditional polygonal modelling.

Would Rhino be suitable for free form shape creation? Are shapes easily manipulated, adjustable, etc? I would mostly be using this to concept assets that would then later be converted to polygons by hand inside Maya.

One thing that led me to investigate Rhino is that it has a node graph, which I believe is called Grasshopper. It appears that procedural techniques can be leveraged during the design and creation process, which is very beneficial. I understand that Rhino is also a more mature software compared to Plasticity, so I assume it may be more feature rich.

Thank you for any insight you can provide on this topic.

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Hi @Jonny_M

You would be comfortable working in Rhino as it’s os is more like Maya’s than Plasticity’s is.
The great thing about Rhino would be if you wanted to make real world models out of your work then one can’t live without Rhino. It’s the best for making “real” things. Like if you had to make assets for film that become props or sets or for crafting real toys.

Plasticity is cheaper and since you’re not building models that will be fabricated Plasticity might be the better bet. Also V8 is currently in “birth” so it might or might not be buggy.

But if you need to fabricate models Rhino is the best. Also Rhino has decent documentation ability to create PDFs for clients easily and do pretty decent rendering. Grasshopper might or might not have a steep learning curve for you but it is an amazing add-in that ships with Rhino. Making things parametric for a complex model though is not that easy and is pretty time consuming. I model for VFX, animation and games and I found that many times making a model parametric in Gh is just too time consuming. But many times I do partial parametric models that I can update more quickly though GH fanatics would say that’s a bad definition.

But since both software have trial versions definitely try the trials before you buy. Don’t get suckered into purchasing before you try no matter what others tell you.

I realize you’re using Maya which is the industry standard, recently I’ve switched to Blender and find it’s amazing software. Blenders Geometry nodes are more user friendly than GH and give great results. I find myself using Blender the most for animation, rigging and rendering also works great with other softs like Unreal where I port most of my stuff. I find blender able to handle larger files much better than Rhino.

Take a look at the Rhino gallery there many great props and sets for games etc. made with Rhino.
RM

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Hi @3dsynergy!

Thank you very much for your detailed response. It’s greatly appreciated.

At the moment, I do not have any real world production needs. I am simply looking for a tool that will allow me to freely create hard surface shapes without thinking about topology. It sort of sounds like you might lean towards Plasticity in that regard?

I will definitely evaluate both trials and go from there. I just wanted to inquire from the Rhino community to gain some insight on the modelling aspect.

Thank you.

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Hi Jonny, you might also look at all the plasticity beginner videos and Getting Started with Rhino videos. These can help to decide which might be better for you. A bit of time investment , but worth while. Both are on YouTube. —-Mark

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you should talk to @FilmDesigner

He’s a long time Film industry pro and uses Rhino at wizard levels.

also @cosmas who is a lead set designer for many A-List films, and is also a guru level user.

Plasticity is new, not many folks using it yet (competitively speaking) so you may have trouble sharing files as you will have to data transfer without the benefit of native file formats. It also may or may not be around in a few years.

Rhino has been around 25 years, we aren’t going anywhere and is widely used in entertainment design.

but please feel free to download our 90 day free trial and give it a go, we’d be happy to help you get rolling, as well as being very interested in your thoughts.

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Lots of factors that play into this question.

Cost:
Plasticity $149

Moment of Inspiration 3D $ 295

Rhino $995

Fusion is subscription at around $680 per year

Application:
_Are you creating game assets
_Concepts only that assets get handed off to someone else
_Creating fabrication ready drawings or prototype models (3d print) , milling, laser cutting etc.

Each of these applications offer a multitude of options. In my case Rhino is the best option for affordability, ease of use, flexibility. It also has become an industry standard in the art departments and talks well with solidworks, fusion , blender, maya etc.

MOI has over time gotten more options and functionality but it is trailing behind Rhino in many areas but has improved on a few things over Rhino . It has been used by many concept artists for hard surfaces modeling and is very affordable if your looking for a comparable modeler to Rhino.

Fusion again like MOI has been used by a lot of concept guys however unlike MOI it has far more options and advances. It does offer many of the same features as Rhino but where it hits a wall with me is the cost and the subscription not to mention its an Autodesk product.

Plasticity is a bit of a game changer and Im seeing a lot of concept guys switch over however at this point its lacking on many options from what I can tell but what it has done is make the modeling process more fluid and frankly like solidworks in some ways or even poly modeling but with out the feature design tree or the cost.

For me Ive used Rhino since version 1 and its grown over time to what it is today. For the diversity of what I do its a no brainer. But thats me and Ive been using it a LONG time.

I dont like to tell people use this or use that because frankly its really a personal choice based on what you can afford and how your going to use it. If you think you have the potential to learn and use grasshopper then Rhino would be a good choice. If you plan to do construction drawings or 3d printing Rhino can do that to. But if your just creating models to produce a concept it might be overkill unless you are handing that asset over to someone like me who will turn what you model into something real sitting on a set. If you are use to sub d modeling then Rhino has that option as well although it may not be as robust as what Maya may deliver. The only software that Rhino really cant compare to is Z brush. Just different process and application . But you can take a zbrush model and using the new tools in Rhino 8 convert that into a model that can be engineered and then rapid prototyped.

I hope this helps. Please feel free to ask any more questions as they come to you.

cheers
Scott

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If you have all the time in the world to fight with fillets in Rhino, you can use it, if not, use Plasticity. Also, forget about making fillets in Grasshopper. I suspect many Rhino users may not be fully aware of the speed at which concept artists work while fiddling with the design. Rhino might be more geared for precision work than speed.

For your needs, they are not.

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I haven’t really posted any gifs in the forum yet but if I did, I’d post one here of like a dude or someone opening a door into a infinite cosmos of bright light or something that blows their hair back and maybe the skin on their face like high velocity then they shut the door like :open_mouth: :exploding_head: :rofl: Grasshopper! :smiley:

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To help give some context…

  • The guy that is writing the code for Plasticity was a long time Blender user and basically is bringing over that type of UI/UX experience to a more CAD like environment.

  • It’s built on the same kernal, Parasolid, that runs Solidworks, NX, Solidedge, Inventor, F360… etc. so you’re, generally, always getting pretty robust, solid data.

  • One of the best places to see what is going on is in Plasticity’s discord as well as the ongoing roadmap Plasticity - Roadmap

You can’t go wrong with Rhino which has some of the best all around tools available. There are some aspects that have been added to the last few versions that have really helped it to become a well rounded software. SubD and Push/Pull on geometry have been great additions.

The person that wrote Dynamesh and zRemesher has built some code for Quad-Remeshing that is also built into Rhino. But if you’re talking about real ReTopology tools then that’s not Rhino. For that kind of work, and another package that I’d say is probably the known as a 3D modelers modeler is Modo.

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Hi @markintheozarks, thank you for your reply. I will definitely look for the Quickstart videos. I downloaded Rhino, but the interface was extremely small. I managed to scale up the icons, however, the text is still very small.

Hi @theoutside, thank you for your reply. It will be great to get insight from them! At the moment, I don’t have any need to share files with Plasticity. It will simply be for my own personal use regarding concept art. I appreciate your consideration with that topic, as it is completely valid and something for me to be aware about.

Thank you very much for the detailed response @FilmDesigner. In terms of application, I would be using this software mostly for high poly concept art, which in turn would be retopologized for game/film. I do not foresee sharing these files at this time, as I am looking to use this for personal use.

One thing that has sparked my interest with what you have said in your post is about real world use. I wasn’t looking into this type of software for real world construction when I made this post, but, now you have me thinking. Would Rhino be suitable for drafting real world structural blueprints and 3d models, for homes and various structures?

Lastly, I see some suggest that controlling fillets is finicky with Rhino, and perhaps modifying shapes on the fly is not as fast as Plasticity. Would you be able to elaborate on this and what this means, please and thank you? For example, my friend recently showed me Plasticity, he took a cylinder, boolean subtracted a shape and then beveled all of the corners. He was able to adjust the curves and move the boolean in realtime by clicking and dragging. Is this sort of functionality possible inside Rhino? Thank you again for your time.

Hi @barden00, thank you very much for your reply! Would you please be able to elaborate on this? What about fillets is problematic? How and why are shapes not easily adjustable? It sounds like you understand the concept art process, so I am very much interested into any additional insight you can provide on this.

This sounds like using Houdini :smiley:

Thank you for this information. I will definitely take a look at the Roadmap. It’s great to get some history on the project. I don’t need any retopology tools at the moment. I’m quite comfortable doing that process within Maya. I’m mostly just looking at these programs for rapid shape design and iteration.

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In terms of application, I would be using this software mostly for high poly concept art, which in turn would be retopologized for game/film. I do not foresee sharing these files at this time, as I am looking to use this for personal use.

Gotcha. Well I do share assets with VFX all the time and it hasnt been an issue since as you said they retopologize anyway. From that perspective anything but sketchup will hand off good geo to VFX to start with.

One thing that has sparked my interest with what you have said in your post is about real world use. I wasn’t looking into this type of software for real world construction when I made this post, but, now you have me thinking. Would Rhino be suitable for drafting real world structural blueprints and 3d models, for homes and various structures?

Absolutely. Every set I design and you see being designed in many films are done in Rhino and that includes full construction documents as well as rapid prototype files. You can see posts Ive made in the past as far as how Ive used it. As for Architecture , its probably the industry that uses Rhino the most in combination with other software.

Lastly, I see some suggest that controlling fillets is finicky with Rhino, and perhaps modifying shapes on the fly is not as fast as Plasticity. Would you be able to elaborate on this and what this means, please and thank you? For example, my friend recently showed me Plasticity, he took a cylinder, boolean subtracted a shape and then beveled all of the corners. He was able to adjust the curves and move the boolean in realtime by clicking and dragging. Is this sort of functionality possible inside Rhino? Thank you again for your time.

Ahh fillets. Fillets , fillets , fillets. Yes I think finicky is a good way to put it. Lets just say (imho) that is a subject that Rhino is behind on compared to many other software. That being said , Rhino is a surface modeler much like Alias Studio not a solid modeler like solidworks, fusion 360 and Plasticity. What that means is you create surfaces vs just starting with a solid although you can do that in Rhino as well. But the fluid nature of creating fillets and the success rate in doing so is lets just say not optimal in Rhino. Doable , but not optimal. But its not a game changer for me and I dont think I would balance the merrits of one software over another based on one function. For its lacking in fillet creation Rhino more than makes up in other areas such as Grasshopper and being verstile enough to allow car designers, architects , industrial designers and set and prop designers to all use Rhino . Now earlier I said Placticity was a game changer, in many ways it is because of how accessible it is from a novice standpoint and how quickly you can go from idea to model . But it is in its infancy compared to Rhino and I cant speak to the support offered. The price is great for what you get but its what you dont get that always concerns me when I see something priced so low. It tells me there is a very limited set of options . Yes it does allow you to “click and drag” to create and thats wonderful but I cant speak to more than that since I dont use it or have it. As Kyle said Rhino has 25 years of development behind it and a support team second to none. But use your judgement.
Only you can know what you need and what you can afford. For the price Plasticity is a great option , I mean thats what, a week of coffees from a Starbucks :rofl: But what I will say is for the price and for what you get with Rhino its been a great investment for me and its been my go to tool for 20 years.

One other note.
Plasticity will have a fairly quick ramp up on learning curve.
Rhino is a steeper curve compared but when it comes to more complex systems the learning curve typically is steeper.

On a second note:

Working in the film industry means being adaptable. One week Im doing a prop the next week Im doing a space ship or sailing ship or a large factory or town. These can often be very large very complex models. Rhino can handle that . Im not sure the extent of Plasticity in terms of doing that kind of work. So far all Ive see done with it is small parts and product design items and a car or two. I havent see a large environment or set or anything architectural done yet. Just food for thought.

S

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You will have to scan through the videos but Pixel Fondue has a bunch of Plasticity videos which will give you a better idea. Not advocating one way or the other but you should understand what it can do vs what Rhino does. The type of modeling in Plasticity is not what your going to get in Rhino just to be clear.

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I totally agree with Scott about the construction documents capability of Rhino. As someone who spends all day either 3d modeling and then creating construction documents of the sets that I have been designing I couldn’t be happier with what Rhino has to offer. If you look at the construction documents page of my website:

cosmasdemetriou.com

you can see examples of drawings created in Rhino.

The other really strong asset that Rhino has is the people at McNeel. They really are an amazing company that really care for their customers and are there for you when you have an issue. For me - as someone who transitioned from 30 years of hand drawing to Rhino - this was invaluable.

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For tech support you can not only call in to them during working hours Monday- Friday, but you can also “chat” with them. If you post questions on the forum you sometimes get answers on weekends - or at odd times of day from their reps in Europe.

They also have a very wide selection of instructional videos that are really helpful to learning the program.

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You can see exactly what Im speaking to on @cosmas website in regards to larger scenes and elements. Rhino handles that kind of complex environment no problem. I have yet to see anyone do that with Plasticity. But that doesnt mean it cant , I just havent seen anyone do that. And there website doesnt really offer any information or examples of anything even remotely like what @cosmas and I do.

Yep they are a great bunch of people up there. Kind , helpful and supportive . Ive never had an issue reaching out and getting help from them.

:joy: Ikr, I bought a license just for testing purposes, like ‘fillets’ mostly. I use it maybe once a month. If they ever get the 3D mouse ta work, I might use it more lol.

It would be great to hear just your overall view compared to Rhino from the stand point of what you can do with it. Say if you wanted a large building or an office space with furniture. Can you do that in there or is it more of a part by part basis like solidworks where you create parts to add to an assembly?

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I wouldn’t try and do large scenes with Plasticity just yet. That’s not where it’s at. It’s mainly focused on objects at the moment. It’s only about 3 years old so it’s gonna take some time, if that’s the direction of things, for that to happen.

I use both quite a lot and, as a whole, you’d have to set up some aliases in Rhino to really get the same level of on screen type modeling methods that are built into Plasticity. So not better just different.

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