parametric design

The Rhino of Software Jungle: A Guide on When to Use Rhino

ishika kapoor

Writer at Oneistox

March 22

06 mins read

The software world is full of 3D modeling programs. But how can a designer find the right one for them? A simple criterion for choosing software should be how well it allows you to develop your design freely, and the powerful Rhino 3D is one such tool to consider. In this article, we will guide you through the pros and cons of Rhino as compared to other 3D modeling software.

1. Made for All

Rhino is a NURB based software that works with curves rather than other conventional software like AutoCAD, Revit, etc that use line polygons. It provides precise and in-depth surface modeling for organic objects which other software like 3DS Max lack. Due to this feature, Rhino delivers high-quality 3D models and therefore attracts not just the architectural industry, but also industries like product design, fashion, automotive, multimedia, and graphic design.


2. Smooth Transition from AutoCAD

A simple question that arises when thinking about learning new software is whether we will be able to grasp it or not. Fortunately for many professionals like architects, civil engineers, interior designers and automotive designers who use Autodesk products, Rhino helps users by providing command sequences just like in AutoCAD, thus delivering an easier shift. Even for non-AutoCAD users, Rhino is quite intuitive and user-friendly.

The Similarity in command sequence between AutoCAD and Rhino3D.

3. All in One

It is generally quite labour intensive to go the conventional Sketchup route of generating a 2D plan, and then transforming that to 3D. Rhino has four viewports- top, front, right and perspective view. The viewport aids the user to work on a plan in the top viewport and its elevation in the right and front viewport simultaneously. Thus, this allows us the freedom to easily manipulate the drawing from various angles, saving a whole lot of time and energy.

The Presence of four viewports helps the user to visualize the project easily. (Source:

Users often prefer Revit over Rhino for drawing and modeling their projects because of the latter’s lack of documentation skills. But now, Rhino comes with improved features and efficient documentation, giving stronger competition to Revit.

4. Plug-ins for Everything

There are numerous plugins available online to enhance your design process and make Rhino even more powerful. Working on a new kind of file or data? Chances are that there’s already a plugin available for that. FoodforRhino is a great site available for free Rhino plugins.

To give you an example of parametric plugins, ‘Ladybug’ or ‘Honeybee’ are used for environmental analysis. These plugins conduct an accurate environment study based on the location of the site and generate alternate façade types based on the extreme weather conditions for the building.

Ladybug analysis the environmental parameters in Rhino Grasshopper (Source:

5. Compatible with 3D Printers and other software’s

Rhino supports and reads an extensive range of file formats like DXF(AutoCAD), SKP(Sketchup), 3DS(3Dstudio), including STL, the most popular 3D printing file format. So, it makes the work easier on a file from different software or for transferring purposes. Many software like Sketchup, ArchiCAD, Revit, etc do not offer 3D printing options which makes it difficult for prototyping. Whereas with Rhino, you have available measurements, surface, geometric and other tools to make sure your model is prepared for 3D printing.


6. Designer’s fantasy- Parametric Design

The iconic Zaha Hadid style or futuristic products that are always in the public eye often seem to be a bit challenging to design. The difficulty in design is due to the lack of flexibility in software that restricts the design flow. To ease your design modeling, you can use Rhino and become the master of your own object’s surface. Rhino offers mesh accuracy thanks to curve modeling technology, and often uses a widely-known plugin called Grasshopper to design parametric objects.

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7. But What is the Cost?

Rhino costs around US$700-1000. It is not a cheaper software but compared to other software that provides users a similar work performance, but is definitely worth the price. To the benefit of students and teachers’, special educational discounts are available. Rhino also offers its first-time user a 90 days free trial period, after which it provides a permanent license, something that most other software companies do not.


To conclude, you can explore your design to a great extent with Rhino. No matter what project or industry you belong to, it has something for everyone. If interested, you can learn Rhino on your own on various platforms, one of which is the Rhino+Grasshopper course at Oneistox. So stop hesitating, and start creating!

ishika kapoor

student of architecture
Ishika Kapoor is an architecture student graduating from Thakur School of Architecture and Planning, Mumbai. She is a sucker for good thrillers and art, and believes in the motto of trying something new every day. She promotes social causes through architecture and believes that when design resonates with words, it stimulates power.

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