What's the latest greatest rendering plugin?

I bought Rhino 6 but I’m still working in Rhino 5. I must say I’ve been way out of the loop the last few years of rhino development. I love the ease with which I can use Neon within Rhino and I do simple scripts for animations, etc, all the time. Am I correct that Neon is discontinued, I can’t find any new info on it. What’s the equivalent of that (or better) that is fast, works within a rhino viewport, looks as good or better, and doesn’t cost a fortune? Not an insane learning curve would be nice as well. Thanks, and apologies in advance if these are all stupid questions… I am very out of the loop on what’s the latest stuff.

1 Like

PS: for my work, I need realistic reflections in mirrored objects:

Good to see you back Heath! Missed you and your creative self. I went to Denver just this time last year and walked miles across that big park to go see your menagerie of animal sculptures. Waited in a stupid long line to buy a ticket and went inside the gate and asked where you pieces were and the guide pointed back out the gate that I had just spent $36 bucks to get through. Your animals were out in the entry plaza all along!

I tried to keep up with the rendering scene and was very happy with Octane for a long while. I am now using Thea 2.0 for Rhino6 and real happy with it. I put wall mirrors in a boat interior just last week and was happy with the result. I'll look for an example.
1 Like

Simple stock mirror material with beveled edge reflecting the helm forward with LCD nav panel and self illuminating red night light bulb. I like how Thea uses Rhino clipping planes and lights and is quick and easy to set up. This is from within the Rhino perspective modeling window with near realtime feedback.

2 minutes 350 passes I think

Neon was replaced with Raytraced, which comes with Rhino 6. It may suit your needs as well (it is the integration of the open source raytracing engine Cycles from Blender 3d), although naturally there are a great many good third-party render plugins available :slight_smile:

Ha! Sorry about the $36, I owe you. :wink: Thanks for the info, the render looks good, wondering about the speed as I do a lot of animations with 10 to 40 seconds per frame, but I try to “fake” a lot of details so I can speed up rendering times. I’ll check out Octane as well.

I’ll try out the built-in rendering engine… in the past I’ve not been pleased with the results, but it sounds like this is a different engine. Thanks.

Is there a list of all the third party plug-ins for rendering somewhere?

Yeah, I don’t do many animations but will try. That boat project has a lot of ‘expensive’ metal finishes in terms of time. Hardly optimised. I’m familiar with the shadow and reflection studies of your sculptures and am sure you can take advantage of the present in app rendering improvements. If you want me to run something through a Thea animation just ask. I need to work on my animation skills and would love to help. The ‘Presto’ renderer in Thea is pretty fast and I rarely ask more from the other more advanced modes.

Great, now I see an update to Thea for Rhino V2.01 so am downloading it and will have to see whats new... Thanks, dude
1 Like


Here you go, have a look but keep in mind that they have a version for Cinema, SketchUp and Rhino but I’m not sure what the specifics are. Shore is purty though.

I just started playing around with the in render chamfering and filleting of edges which is so important to picking up highlights in a render. Not having to do so in the Rhino model (edge softening) is such a time saver. 
1 Like

Very nice. I will download the trial soon.

Hi Heath,

I know that you are asking for improvements in a very old workflow, but just wanted to check to make sure: have you considered what other workflows and solutions are at your finger tips now?

If you are doing large sculptures maybe the idea of preparing offline-rendered content on static/predefined animations to show in a 2D display might not be as engaging as full realtime/real scale immersion?

Have you considered just exporting your mode to Unreal Engine, set your materials there (look up PBR workflow) and you and/or your customers get to walk around your model in VR. Or you can to it onsite in AR and show/sturdy placement/rotation/scale in the context of where the piece will go. Like this: https://youtu.be/18Eo8qhunvU

Just a thought,


Thanks Gustavo! It’s definitely a good thing to step back and re-evaluate from time to time. Two things, though: I played with Unreal a few months ago for an hour or so and couldn’t figure much out, so I probably gave up too soon, maybe I’ll try again. The VR thing is cool, but, sadly presentations are all 100% on flat screens or projected still, as it’s generally large groups discussing the work at once, and usually it’s sent via a link or in email. So we’re still a bit aways from immersive presentations… I’m just glad we no longer have to send in physical slides. lol

Aaah, yeah that makes sense: the buyers/client is a group. Not a person.

Since you mentioned animation you should keep that in mind in your choice. We love Octane’s render quality but the integration with Rhino (materials/viewport appearance…) is absolutely terrible. Also you are out of luck when trying to animate heavy models in Bongo using Octane. It needs to recast geometry every frame.

Vray is mucho better in those regards (a bit harder to get great results compare to octane but still nice).

The Raytrace mode is the best in terms of integration and support, but only if you are happy with their rendering quality/speed.


1 Like

Hi Heath,

Just wanted to say hi. Indeed feels like ages since I read your name over here. Always inspirational to see the projects you were designing and building.

All the best

1 Like

There should be a Rhino Hall of Fame. I nominate Heath as the first!

Hopefully with his permission


Thanks Gustavo. I’m not doing animated parts or anything that fancy, just changing the view… usually a fly-bly, or turntable type of situation on static objects. Boring animations. :wink: I’ll give V-Ray a look, it looks nice.

Willem, Hello and thank you! As I start trying to run V6, I may be around more trying to get new stuff figured out. I’ve been so comfy with V5 that honestly I only bought V6 to support McNeel, but I figure I ought to start seeing what the new stuff is that I am missing out on since I bought it!

1 Like

Jody… too kind! Thank you. :slight_smile: