User Interface is Intimidating

Hi Jeff, same in Windows… I thought it could be in-command, command-options sensitive. Sorry @rabbit if I am hijacking your idea, just thought it’s a really good one ; )


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there’s just less options in MOI is all… otherwise, it’s moreOrLess the same as other applications.

to get any sort of meaningful/notable UI changes, we need new input/output devices… because as long as we’re using a mouse and a keyboard and a flat panel, we’re pretty much limited to clicking on icons with the mouse and typing stuff…

i mean, i’m sure there are some improvements that can be made to rhino’s UI but these ‘improvements’ are going to be minuscule compared to what could be accomplished if we change the way we communicate with a computer.

got it… i read too fast without properly digesting the details :wink:

Have you tried MOI? Takes half the time to do Rhino tasks. Moi snapping and scaling, translate, rotate work intuitively and quickly. Rhino is a good value, but the interface is antiquated.

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Hyundai realized they didn’t get high end design. Smart.

Hyundai to hire ex-Bentley designer Donckerwolke to succeed Schreyer

Dirty Harry, “A man has got to know his limitations.”

Rhino is a good value proposition. The Rhino team and culture don’t get modern interface design. They need to hire an outsider from Keyshot or MOI or even Ashlar.


Hire me. I’ll fix your “too many icons” problem. XD

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^^ I like MoI3D and Michael Gibson is probably a very nice person, but MoI looks like a Website made on Windows 95… And the whole HTML used for the UI, man, no CSS, no jQuery like libraries, no proper documentation, no proper scripting. MoI is super awesome exactly as long as you love it the way it is…

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That is a radical suggestion, but that may be exactly what is needed. An outsider with a fresh look. I’ve always thought that MODO had the best UI for a 3D app. I’d like to see some of that aesthetic in Rhino.

Of course, any complex or powerful software will have A LOT of commands. Its not just 3D, take a look at any of the Adobe Creative Cloud apps, like Photoshop or After Effects. I think the same guy who was intimidated by “too many icons” may just be in the wrong field … or is a big, whiny baby.

It reminds me of a Steve Martin joke. “Did you know that the French say ‘Bonjour’ instead of hello? It’s like they have a different word for EVERYTHING!


yeah, I’ve tried it. the Z axis setup is awesome and I’ve made a couple of requests here asking for similar capabilities in rhino.

that said, I personally can’t work twice as fast in MOI or else I’d be using it… in fact, I find the vast toolset of rhino to be superior in my particular uses and these tools allow me to work faster in rhino as compared to moi… ymmv of course

Regarding this topic, I do think that the interface is a bit outdated in its appearance and interaction, but an experienced user will tend to customise everything with keyboard shortcuts and enter commands via command line so this apparent workflow hindrance is mitigated over time. I do understand the starting poster’s point that it may overwhelm the new user, unlike someone looking at Sketch Up or even C4D.

There are a couple of features that I really love in other 3D packages, though, and would be a blast if replicated in Rhino.

In Maya, “…the spacebar, in addition to being a good way to switch views from panel to panel/camera to camera, is also the button used to activate the Hotbox. While looking in the Perspective view (or a different camera, or any panel you might have open really) press and hold the Spacebar. What you’ll see here is the Hotbox–an on-demand substitute for the menu sets that normally appear above the main window. While holding down the spacebar, you can click each menu the same way you would to access the normal menus at the top of the screen–it’s essentially a “portable” version of all the menus, that appears centered on the location of your mouse.”

Having said that, I regularly use the pop-up menu, but it surely could use a lot of improvement.

For panels I’d look to Houdini, also it would be amazing if I could have a small dockable Grasshopper window… like in Houdini. B-)

Ok and a tree view is often handy. I like very much the latest “scene explorer” implementation in 3DS Max, which doubles as tree view and layers panel.

There is a fine UI in nearly every Windows program.
It is called ‘Menu’.

One click only to explore the whole menu.
And a next click on the wanted item.
Even possible with one click: Click and hold, release over the item.

In the meantime we can READ the caption, and something more in the status bar.
While we read, we will notice the existence of other commands (which are not the wanted ones yet).

If we don’t want to use the mouse, a tap on Alt activates the menu, and the arrow keys are for navigation then.

Once Alt is tapped, also all the possible shortcuts are seen, e.g. Alt, d, i for import.

If the menu had icons, same as the toolbars, it would be even better.

But McNeel says, this leads to ‘visual clutter’.
On the other hand, in some places where those icons are not really useful they have them:


Icons for the menu are easily possible:

Just a quick test with the workspace editor.
It doesn’t look so pretty because of an unnecessary scaling, it should be easy to tune up.


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I think that a sufficiently large quantitative change becomes equivalent to a qualitative change. In comparing the MoI interface to that of Rhino 5, I see a transformation that exceeds the merely quantitative … it’s a whole new experience.

A similarly elegant (even if purposefully limited) interface as an option in Rhino would be revolutionary.

I like the interface and it’s easy to customize toolbars for your own workflow. Maybe a video on customizing toolbars is in order.

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Hi McNeel Team,
Let me just start by saying Long time rhino user here (Since V3) and a big fan of the application but I have to agree with users suggesting Rhino GUI is out of date.
Sure it functions but could it function better… absolutely.

If we take a small sample of other CAD offerings out there, Autodesk Inventor, Solidworks and even good old AutoCAD they all continually improve their GUI. As a user of these applications for 18 years now I can say with confidence the GUI on these is far better and more productive than that of the GUI they had in the nineties. Rhino’s GUI on the other hand has not had much development since the nineties… and it shows.

lets remember its not all about the productive enhancements either, the user experience is important also. In a crowded market place such as the CAD industry is if your users dont particularly like using your software they simply choose another one. How often do we update our smart phones simply because the OS available / compatible on the latest handset is a little more flashy than what we can install on our current device?.. all the time! The tech industry relies on it.

I think the GUI on Rhino needs to become what I would call fluid and dynamic. The middle mouse popup toolbar is a great example where the GUI could become more dynamic.
It should recognise what particular command is in progress and vary the available list of buttons /options available. In fact it should popup automatically with a circular array of options in a semitransparent window so the user can still see their model geometry behind.
The current in command options are available in the command line and you have to either select the desired option by clicking up there or enter the applicable keyboard shortcut. Sure it works but yawn……… its boring and uninspiring. Have a look at what Autodesk Inventor does with its popups that are all command specific. Its fluid and beautiful!
The whole Rhino GUI could do with a refresh in my opinion.

If I could use one descriptive word for Rhinos GUI it would be “uninspiring” and that is not a great thing when sole purpose of the application is to facilitate creative design.

  1. If the issue is new users, I think the effort should go into better and more contextual help. For instance, how about a toggleable tooltip mode where hovering over an icon opened a panel with answers to the questions “what is this tool?”, “what options are applicable to this tool?” “what is a typical situation which would call for this tool?” and a hot link to deeper information in the help file. The help file itself needs more depth on tool usage, often the explanations don’t go far enough in the area of helping the user understand why the tool is needed in the first place, how to best apply it, and what the differences are between that tool and others which may accomplish a similar result. Sure, all those commands are confusing when one can’t understand the subtle reasons why they were added to the toolset.

  2. Personally, I dislike overly simplified interfaces, because I can’t see the available tools and have to decipher the clever means used to hide them before I can explore what they do. Please show me all the stuff so I know all the program can do.

  3. One of the things I like most about Rhino is that it allows me, the user, to make decisions about what I want my interface to look like. The ability to create custom toolbars, move icons around, delete or add icons, script simple macros to custom buttons, and modify the icon images all together make Rhino a joy to use. Sure, it takes a bit of learning (again, better help file needed, more examples of how buttons can be scripted to do simple things like set options or combine two commands into a string), but the payoff is so satisfying.

  4. One personal gripe is that designers always see the need to “freshen” the interface with each new release. In my opinion the button icon images in V2 were about as clear in communicating function as one could get, and subsequent redesigns served only to make them less so, as more effort was put into making them look new than making them communicate more clearly. Plus, with each redesign I had to learn to recognize new faces on old friends. Does this: really represent an improvement on this: ?

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^ 2. How do you imagine Rhino should look when showing you all the stuff it can do?

+1 to the idea of work spaces similar to what Adobe does. Even a ‘simple’ and ‘advanced’ mode might be nice compared to the current everything and the kitchen sink approach. Overhauling the workspace editor and how custom toolbars are handled would also be a huge help. It’s far to arcane and confusing as it is right now.
That said, in the fairly short time I’ve been using Rhino (since v4) the overall interface has quickly became dated looking compared to other programs. Looking at newer programs like Fusion 360, Modo, shapr3d, Blender, etc. there’s definitely plenty of different interface concepts that seem worth exploring.

While I agree that Rhino UI could use some well-thought of improvements, I like the current command-line approach and hope it is not going anywhere. Some of the ‘modern UI’ approaches with parts of the UI changing / disappearing depending on the context are confusing and not easily customizable. The advantage of what we have now is you can get rid of anything you don’t need which I like a lot.

my 2c



My thoughts are not to offend anyone, but it looks like to me 3 people designed the UI in different rooms and then said how do we put this all together. First is the command line( type all in ). Next is the dropdown menus ( has evrything uou need if you feel like going through them each command. Then there are the icons. They take up so much space , but are where you need them.
For me , I like consistancy. Everything in the same place all the time. So if all menus dropdowns were the only thing available , that is what I would use. Same for icons.
We want faster computers. We need a faster UI . If the UI is customizable, then I suppose it is me that hasnt learned to take advantage of that.
Ont thing I do wish is that the viewport tabs could go on the bottom line with xyz cordinates line . A five sided surface tool would be nice. Rhinoceros support is so great, this forum too. It is stable, consistent and reliable.
Talk about non efficient, this note typed on Iphone uggg! —Mark