Wish There Was a Grasshopper Reference Comparable to Rhino's

As someone who is learning Grasshopper, I wish there was a reference for Grasshopper as good and similar to the Rhino help/reference.

As a new user I want to know what each component does, and have an example of how to use them–in the help/reference.

Currently, there are many tutorials which tell us what to do, but I find it difficult to know what I am doing, without knowing exactly what the components I meet–does.

As a learn, I am forming a list what I don’t already know, I realize that it would help me if there were more information about lists and the data tree, which seems vitally important to be competent with Grasshopper.

UI-Wise, Grasshopper is neat, though I wish I could dock it to Rhino with more integration, and perhaps similar icons.

I also wish that the icons were also visible for the components after you lay them down, at some zoom level. Still, I am amazed at the coding for the wires, and that it all works as well as it does.

It would be handy if as you created, say a integer number input, if the value were automatically placed as the legend, such as int = 5, otherwise panels will continue to be attractive numerical input components, which will circumvent type checking and slow grasshopper.


Perhaps not as good as Rhino help, but at least you can get an idea about the components from this link:

You also have some info here:

The above link has some good stuff on DataTrees as well:

You can chose to display Icons, or as in in the screenshot below, the plugin “Bifocals” can show also the name of the component (useful to have both, if you chose to display Icons). As for me I prefer text only, but anyway.

I’m afraid that this would often cause chaos in the component layout. I often attach a small size Panel to display data content, while being careful not to use it as a “throughput” for any number values for the reasons you mention.

I hope I understood you points correctly.

// Rolf

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Yeah, lack of documentation is something we’re looking to remedy for the next version. It’s a huge job so it’ll probably lag behind the actual product quite a bit, but at the very least we will have a documentation platform in place.


Ril, standing just behind you, the primer on your site looks like an excellent resource!
Just a little more resolution on the images, but thank you!

I will study the others, as well.

From the user’s standpoint, Grasshopper still seems to be quite separate from Rhino3D. Having worked with it, it seems well-worthy of integration into Rhino 3D.

Perhaps even someday, the components might even be accessible in 3D, Eclidian space, as they were from Quake, ironically depicted in this 20-year old screenshot.

BTW, I am honored to have a reply from Grasshopper’s creator. : )

No matter what is created it won’t be as useful as this and the old forum (Grasshopper3d.com). The community has developed quite a great resource. Just use the search feature.


That forum likely has a wealth of useful information. I think that a good, thread-based QA forum is important.

For my type of learning, I still like to have a reference, so I can RTFM, instead of asking a lot of the same questions.

Thanks for the link.

so I can RTFM



instead of asking a lot of the same questions.

That’s why I suggest the search feature. First search, if you find no answer, ask the question.

I feel that I am not up to asking questions yet.

I think David Ruttens intro-videos is a very (very) good start:

// Rolf


Hi Ril,
I’ve been going through several tutorial video sets, about 4 hours a day.

Yes, I had gone through the David Rutten’s ones. They are brief, but good.

I liked the Grasshopperprimer reference. When I started this thread, this is largely what I was asking for.

Jose Sanchez’s tutorials are are pretty good: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLj1JeZhReAqehzDMDMj-URjk1IS5AUTAo

Kinetic Architecture ones were good in the begging because he does try to instill a situational awareness, but in the later videos, he is losing me on the connections.

Paramarch has a lot of tutorials, but I feel that I am running before walking.

Honestly the best way to learn gh is to have problems and work your way through them. If you don’t have many problems on your own try and solve other peoples problems on the forum (you don’t need to post answers but it will make for good practice). None of this will happen over night, gh or any programming language in general take time + repetition.


Because I asked for better reference material, you are trying to 'splain how the learning process works?

good luck

Why thank you : )

I think Brenda’s suggestion is completely pertinent, and comments like “learn your way through like everybody else did” are not constructive. GH is lagging behind Rhino in this issue, in part because GH is always in the bleeding edge. Either way, David Rutten was quite explanatory in this issue. Looking forwards for 2.0 consistency! (and Mac equal dev :slight_smile: )


no one suggested “learn your way through like everybody else did”, what was suggested is that the best way to learn is to solve problems, whether a manual exists or not. In my experience with gh every situation has slightly different so no “manual” is going to give you the answer. Say a book teaches you how to do an attractor, chances are when you need to use an attractor on a real problem the requirements are going to be different, different rules, different variables, etc. The only concrete thing one should learn is how data trees work which are sufficiently documented in the grasshopper primer. Along with that, reading component descriptions and input / outputs is very useful as well as searching the forum and the thousands of gh examples, videos, workshops, which are available.

If you want a good physical book I already posted above the AAD book.

To clear confusion, I am obviously not against better documentation from McNeel, what I am saying is whatever they will document is more than likely already out there, so the lack of documentation actually in GH from McNeel isn’t really a burden if you want to learn now.


The grasshopper learning curve is actually quite steep, because there is a difference between mastering the UI (easy) and gaining all the background knowledge (hard). Working through tutorials is tricky, because understanding one particular workflow doesn’t automatically give you the ability to solve problems for yourself. No matter how good and well documented GH is.
And this is what Michael is saying as well, the only way to become better is solving a lot of problems, and keep learning.

In my oppinion the reason why many people getting problems with grasshopper, is not because of grasshopper itself. Its rather because they are lacking knowledge regarding math, modelling, logic (algorithms) and sometimes even real intrinsic motivation to learn.


this is not going to add a lot of value, so for the lit ones out there maybe just skip this post. i bookmarked this topic because i think you made a good stir up to get into grasshopper, but being a dig head “masculist” yourself while asking for help is not going to get you deeper into the matter.

i too must say “learning by doing” is a good method unavoidable for analytical thinking. trying to actually help others is what brought me a lot of knowledge. running through some basics is essential, but after that there is no way around trying to solve something independent. getting the logic behind is what helps most, blindly learning your kung fu moves not knowing what they are actually for or how to use them on something new is never going to make you a master.

@Michael_Pryor has developed a valuable plugin for grasshopper, one which you may stumble upon growing deeper into it. i am pretty sure he is not trying to patronise you in any way.

splaining out.


I should have stated this on the top of the thread, it was my mistake to think that it was a given, but I realize that Grasshopper was developed and shaped using input from the users, and so, it’s only natural that the documentation would lag behind development.

When I first started leaning Rhino3D, I not only watched videos, but also did all the tutorials including the Hershey and Wisk bottles, and the car hood. I also read and reread all the the reference material–including the help animations, which were often helpful. Rhino 3D is a deceptively large program, with a rich tool-set. Rhino3D’s documentation sets a very high standard.

Of course, experimentation and trying things is helpful to the learning process, but it’s been my experience that reference material can make that process more efficient.

When I encounter a problem my (first) instinct is not to ask for help; my first instinct is to try find the answer in the documentation. I try not to create a thick swath of communication noise.

Personally, I felt that it is shortsighted to state that any source of information is superior to all that was or would come after. I see no reason to discourage people.
Ref: “…No matter what is created it won’t be as useful as this and the old forum…”

People do not always learn things in the same way.

I do not feel that quick access to contextual information, written by the software creators–is the same as a peer web forum. Both are indispensable, but they have different roles. Web forums often have FAQ’s. If you take off the questions, FAQ’s are really reference material, because they become descriptive ideas which teach, but they usually evolve and become more accurate over time.

When I learn something, I want to learn what I am doing, and not just learn what to do, and I do think that more reference material would help me learn Grasshopper.

[Although I don’t consider myself a programmer. I have programmed before, including a 2,400 line Arduino command-line stepper interpreter using sinusoidal smoothing. I also wrote a 3-axis CNC camera controller for a friend, and some small tomography scanner software, both for hardware, and capture that over-sampled and blended consecutive frames, done in OpenProcessing. I’ve been looking at Julia, but I need to find a graphic library that take the place of OP…]

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