Sculpturing animals with Rhino

I have used Rhino for simple geometric shapes, but I need to sculpture some animals. Any suggestions? I am not sure where to start from, and what techniques to use. Thanks

It is possible to use NURBS of course, here a tutorial for a dog made with Maya, which looks well done. For Rhino it would be pretty much the same. It probably could still be improved joining the limbs to the torso, but whatever you need it for this may be a good start.

Usually this kind of modelling is done with Polygons and Subdivision Surfaces and if you are trying to animate the animals then you might want to prefer this method. It might be possible to animate NURBS but i have no experience there.

Thank you Richard, for your suggestion. I will certainly have a good look at this.

Try the clayoo plugin.

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Oh that’s what it’s called! Thanks

I have been watching some T-Splines videos on YouTube. They seem amazing!
But are they currently available for Rhino 5? I saw some comments that the licence were terminated earlier this year. Thanks

Tsplines was bought by Autodesk. It´s dead. Clayoo is the only similar plugin at the moment.

Ok thanks for clarifying that.

September 27 |

Tsplines was bought by Autodesk. It´s dead. Clayoo is the only similar plugin at the moment. Visit Topic or reply to this email to respond.
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September 27 |

I have been watching some T-Splines videos on YouTube. They seem amazing! But are they currently available for Rhino 5? I saw some comments that the licence were terminated earlier this year. Thanks Visit Topic or reply to this email to respond. To unsubscribe from these emails, click here.

keep in mind that mcneel has something very promising cooking

Fusion360 incorporates some of the T-Splines technology. Depending on your situation, you may be able to use it free, even commercially.

Like the others said @Voula sub-D is the way to go. I love T-Splines. The licences are not terminated, they still run …you just cannot buy any new ones.

I do not sculpt as a lot of that detail gets lost in jewellery anyway…but many use the workflow of sub-d for the basic shape and then sculpt in the finer details.

I used clayoo 1 for a longtime but moved to T-Splines a couple of years ago. A TDM rep told me the other day that it is getting better …will be interested to see how you go with it. I would not try it again unless I heard something positive from someone who is using it extensively. Clayoo 1 was torture.

Here is a video of Sculpting a Clayoo object using TDM`s sculpting tool which I think comes with Clayoo 2. You could also play with Sculptris for free.

If you have no luck with Clayoo I would use T-Splines via Fusion 360 as was suggested by @cdordoni . Good luck.

As much as I love modeling in Rhino …and by extension, organic modeling with TSplines (RIP - pours out a 40) I’m genuinely curious on why folks seem to fence themselves into ONLY using nURBS.

Trepidation from venturing beyond the familiar? Absolute requirement by your industry to stay locked into nURBS?

TSplines for Rhino’s extinction allowed me to reflect on the goals I wanted to achieve. Do I need the precise curvilinear tools that Rhino provides? Absolutely. Still do. However, when it comes to the organic modeling side of things, a decade of TSplines modeling has taught that I not only want more of it, but I want the power and freedom to add as much detail as I wish.

TSplines, Clayoo and I’d even make predictions that Rhino’s future Sub-D feature will never converge with my expectations in level of detail. Maybe the devs might admit this, or maybe they’ll let users hobble along until a few come to the realization they should be sculpting/modeling with polygons all along.

At the very end of the day, whatever I create using whatever tool I’ve deployed has to be converted to an STL mesh for my SLA 3D printers. With this in mind, trying to force Rhino to natively create the types of detailed mesh most would have in mind when the requirement is an animal, a character, a vine trellis… spline-based modeling is IMO absolutely the wrong tool for the desired target. I love Rhino’s ability to ingest all sorts of files and meshes, but doing much else beyond that isn’t it’s specialty - despite numerous previous threads expecting otherwise.

In the pictured example, would it be possible to add a feather texture? Not effectively… within a few more steps of detail or subdividing faces, the model will bog Rhino down. Convert it from TSplines to a STL mesh early in the game? I’ve not only lost the ability to edit the model (move the head, lift a leg) the heavy mesh might again tax the system.

The better tool for detail-freaks? Any polygon sculpting program. Here are my starts with the freeware/abandonware Sculptris from Pixologic:

The sculpting app allowed the model to be whipped around and rotated regardless of the increasing detail sculpted into it. Given my final target size, I paused here, exported a copy as a STL mesh, and imported that STL into Rhino to check scaling and modeling SLA supports. For a free program, the end-results are far beyond anything that slogging through Clayoo or TSplines could achieve.

If my intention was for larger prints, I’d return to Sculptris and easily add individual strands into the lion mane or scales to the dragon body.

I’ve since put the effort into learning ZBrush and the revelations are even more mind-blowing. Meshes with over 10 million polygons are twirled around effortlessly on this 2012 notebook. Tools like ZBrush’s Decimation Master will intelligently take a heavy mesh and convert it to a 200,000 polygon mesh with no noticeable loss of detail for easy handling inside Rhino. The latest release added a feature called Live Boolean that makes 3D modeling a game-changer.

Ultimately the point is if you’re at the crossroads of selecting a modeling tool to further your abilities with Rhino, it should be a tool that provides the greatest range of results for the effort you’ll put into modeling.


Your post has prompted me to get out of my comfort zone and have another look at Z-Brush before 10 years pass for me :slight_smile:


It would be great if there was a little more acceptance of meshes on the manufacturing side. Some machining services aren’t interested in in working from a mesh even if its perfectly usable on their system, and the material is wood or foam.

Thank you for sharing your experience and choices. Very inspiring.

First question is are you Mac or windows? For the mac there are some inexpensive poly modeling software that are very powerful.To experiment with poly modeling on the Mac, try Cheetah 3d. it does not do the displacement painting but is very reasonable to purchase. It also has animation rigging and a very powerful node based rendering system. ZBrush is a very powerful displacement painting poly program that is more expensive but is available for both Mac and Windows.

I’d suggest to take a look at Blender along with Sculptris. Both are awfully powerful for the price ($0) and have impressive online support. As others have said, if nurbs aren’t a necessity for manufacturing etc. a poly modeler is absolutely the way to go.

Will Clayoo be necessary with V6 and it’s subDs?

Hi Dennis - SubD is not a V6 feature, it’s a ‘WIP’ feature - meaning it will be available only in WIP versions of Rhino until it is ready to be released, and it is far from ready for V6.


Sorry. I didn’t realize WIP and V6 had separated.