V6 User Interface

After opening V6 WIP, I found out that the UI hasn’t changed a bit.
Are there ideas for improving it?

To my opinion there’s only a future for Rhino when the UI radically changes with V6 and not V7.
Please take a look at the UI of Spaceclaim and Autodesk 360 in order to find out about the future of modeling. I believe there’s a very clever vision behind the total product Autodesk 360 whether we like it or not.

For myself a new UI isn’t necessary as I know my way in Rhino, but I consider myself an old timer in the software industry.
However for new Rhino users that receive training, the (ever increasing) mountain of commands in Rhino is very confusing. And to find out that the same command is to be found in the surface and solid menu with a different option makes it even worse.

The current Rhino UI is already outdated and future generations won’t feel attracted to it. Not to mention touch screens and other innovations.


Interesting… that is not something we hear from users. In fact, it seems that they have a huge list of other things that are extremely important to them.

Aside from a few UI tweaks, don’t expect any major UI changes any time soon.

Of course, we could be completely confused.

Hi Gerard,

Bob is right, I have never heard here in trainings, that Rhinos UI is old fashioned or outdated. Hm?



Well of course the GUI widgets are a little “classic” looking and the panels could work better but I don’t see aping whatever Autodesk or Adobe (certainly not Adobe ugh)are doing would seriously address the issue of how organize and get at sooo many tools. You can try to make smarter tools that eliminate the need for others (which someone will want to keep around anyway,) or you can pretend to address the issue by increasing the number of options panels but really just shuffle things around. You could properly implement every current UI fad and it would only slightly cut down on the clutter. There’s just. So. Much. And we’d probably hate anything really revolutionary.

Yes Bob I agree with you that current users have conformed to what Rhino is today and ask for other stuff. However if we look around to new software, UI concepts change rapidly and there’s a boat to miss.

The psychology behind 1000 buttons is that new users feel overwhelmed as their first idea and desire is to know and use them all. I experience that over and over again with people I teach. Finally they end up using only a few commands and don’t get any further with Rhino than that. As with Acad, most people only use 5% of Rhino’s capabilities and I relate that to the same type of UI.

A UI that only presents possibilities when people click at an edge or surface, is more intuitive and less overwhelming. People are also invited then to try out something else and learn from that.

Maybe this UI could be a ‘learn’ mode and later people can switch to ‘full control’ mode.

The last thing I want is to desire the UI never to change just for my comfort as a user and teacher.

Context-sensitive stuff sounds fine in theory I guess but the issues are: 1) if you’re not even sure what you need to do how are you going to know what to select to get the tool you need? 2)Unless your context selection is pretty darn specific, you’re going to narrow down 500 commands to… 300? and 3)Having your UI changing constantly is not going to do anything to help with learning.

I guess that DOS adepts also stated that nothing beats typing commands. However Apple and subsequently Microsoft introduced graphical UI’s which opened computing to a much larger audience.
Everyone knows examples of products that didn’t evolve and finally died. Evolution is more than updating/improving commands and piling them up. It is also about first impression, look and feel and user experience.
Your arguments prove that the solution is not easy to find and implement.

Please tell me why you don’t work on a DOS PC? Maybe you like to, but the world around you has changed forcing you to change also. Does Rhino wants to be part of the change or eventually extinct? This is all about strategy and vision and not about fear for change. Are we afraid of the complaints of existing users?

It is easier to do what you are asking when you simplify the UI to do a single task or be focused on only one discipline. RhinoGold and Matrix are good examples.

Of course, the Rhino SDKs are very rich. You can completely change the UI. You are welcome to build your own “modern” UI.

BTW, we are not afraid of complaints from existing users. In fact, that is how we decide what is most important to do next. Our users are our salesforce. Like any company, we have to focus on keeping our salesforce happy. That means focusing on what they are complaining about rather than giving them something new to complain about.

1 Like

Over here I don’t see it as my responsibility to build my own UI. Being a user, reseller, trainer and consultant, I see it as my responsibility to forward my concerns. For me it would be much easier to not publish this topic over here.

When your sales force is rapidly growing you are completely right. As I mentioned in another post, I sold 2/3 V5 upgrades compared to V4+V4 upgrades. This means that we lost 1/3 of our sales force and I have no idea why.
Over the years we trained nearly 500 people Rhino and this gives me a little feedback. We stimulate every trainee to be active on the NG. However I seldom see one over there. This means we have no idea about their perception, questions, problems, satisfaction etc.

At last several advanced Rhino users found out that their complaints on the NG are not picked up or blown away in the storm of noob posts.

Hi Bob,

I have the same sentiments as Gerard.
It is very, very complex matter without a doubt and there is no obvious solution.

In my opinion as a user and designer the UI in it’s current state is good for: a) power-users; people using Rhino as their main tool every day and b)specialist users, using Rhino for specific tasks, leaving most of Rhino’s features untouched.

Other users will explore the UI only up to a point and just accept this is what Rhino can do. They simply do not have the time to do in depth research on everything Rhino has to offer. They need to deal with project deadlines and reliable workflows
They accept apparent short comings, deal with inefficient workarounds and use other software to complete tasks in time.

A client of mine was oblivious about layouts and did a full rework of exported illlstrator files each time a design changed. It took me some effort to convince him to explore layouts and their enormous time saving potential. It was however frustrating to explain where to find different features related to layouts and details.
Features like for example HideInDetail are only discoverable if you really seach every crevasse of Rhino. My guess is this example applies to many more feature-sets eg solid-editing, gumball features, sub-object selection, a whole range of exotic yet extremely usefull commands, etc.

In my opinion this is for a large part due to the way the GUI is organized, it is designed for a software much leaner and with one main dedicated objective; nurbs modeling.

The effort made in V5 with new tabs and panels only solved the issue of screen estate but not the issue of a worn out paradigm.
Rhino is no longer a nurbs modeling software, it is a platform for a much broarder part of the process of developing an the spark of an idea into a the physical realization of it’s consequences.

I have honestly no clue what a better UI would look like, simply because if you wake me up in the middle of the night and ask a Rhino related question, I can probably answer it. It takes ignorant intelligent lazy and witty people to come up with fresh ideas. Only they can envision how a platform like Rhino is best controlled from the perspective of both the average and the demanding user.



True it is not your responsibility. Nor was it ours when we were an AutoCAD Value-Added Reseller, but specialized UI for AutoCAD was one of the “value-adds” that we provided. With it we had a very tangible difference that won us most of the AutoCAD business in the region and much of the US.

We have talked about providing the same ones for Rhino but so far we have left that to the resellers and 3rd party developers. Of course, we could like Autodesk, take the business (and margin) for ourselves but I don’t think we would be providing a service to anyone except us.

Aren’t you afraid to dig in? Shielding development from input by complete novice users could create a increasingly inward looking setup. Not unlike the atmosphere on the old newsgroup.

Maybe my greatest concern as a longterm user, is that Rhino will some day cease to exist because if this. I feel Rhino starts to be like a stack of books that gets too high. The piling in this is that the current GUI paradigm cannot support the increase of features. The implementation of features is crippled by a structure not designed for it.

You imply everyone is free to develop a GUI.
That imo is unrealistic for a GUI meant to accommodate the complete vanilla Rhino feature-set.
Let alone it will be an plug-in by a third party that when becoming successful, will be subject to increased interest of “investors”.



We do teach classes to novice users in a classroom next to the developers. The insulation is not very thick.

Hi Bob

As English is not my first language I find it hard to estimate RMA’s standpoint on this givven your short answers on only specifics of replies.

Am I right to conclude RMA at this point does not endeavour in a redesign of Rhino’s UI?


UI redesign is not a high priority for Rhino 6. There will be some small changes but nothing major.

What are the small changes you have in mind?

I’d say make all tools more visual. Like sweep2 and networksurf. Mac is on the right track.
That way users will see the options more clarely, and more likely explore them.

I’m really not sure what radical changes you are talking about.

From the what I can see at a quick glace at the websites and UI tutorial videos, there isn’t any radically different UI in Spaceclaim. You really can’t compare Autodesk360 as this is just a collaboration platform and a viewer. Obviously this UI will look cleaner.

Spaceclaim UI looks like Revit so I will try to report my experience with that UI. The interactive highlight of editable objects is nice at first. But all the blinking will get annoying and dramatically slows everything down once you created a few more objects than your average tutorial. For the interactive and “intelligent” rulers: I found the intelligence to generally decide against the reference, I wanted to use. So I ended up, manually drawing dimensions, which is no improvement over the old way.
Last but not least, I have absolutely no idea how all the nice extending should work if you allow more than straight lines and arcs.

UI support for high-res screens is something I’d like to see in V6 - buttons with up to 1024x1024 pixels for example(this is what Apple does for Retina displays). In V5 this the maximum is, I think, 32x32, which is very small on, e.g., a 4K display.

There are more than 6,000 open issues of all types. Many require minor UI changes. We will get to as many as we can for each new release. Only a few are UI only, but the very high res display issue is one example that @stevebaer has started to look at for Rhino 6.

1 Like

I have already done quite a bit of work with respect to high DPI settings in V6.

If there are other high DPI issues that need addressing, I would like to know about them. Thanks!

1 Like