Overview of Rhino


Rhino can create, edit, analyze, document, render, animate, and translate NURBS curves, surfaces and solids, subdivision geometry (SubD), point clouds, and polygon meshes. There are no limits on complexity, degree, or size beyond those of your hardware.

Special features include:

  • Uninhibited free-form 3D modeling tools like those found only in products costing 20 to 50 times more. Model any shape you can imagine.
  • Accuracy needed to design, prototype, engineer, analyze, and manufacture anything from an airplane to jewelry.
  • Compatibility with all your other design, drafting, CAM, engineering, analysis, rendering, animation, and illustration software.
  • Read and repair meshes and extremely challenging IGES files.
  • Accessible. So easy to learn and use that you can focus on design and visualization without being distracted by the software.
  • Fast, even on an ordinary laptop computer. No special hardware is needed.
  • Development platform for hundreds of specialty 3D products.
  • Affordable. Ordinary hardware. Short learning curve. Affordable purchase price. No maintenance fees.
  • Cross-Platform: The world’s most versatile 3D modeler, available on Windows and macOS.

New in Rhino 8

Rhino 8 brings new modeling tools like ShrinkWrap, a huge speed boost for Mac users, simplified modeling workflows, SubD Creases, improved clipping and sectioning tools, a more customizable User Interface, a faster Render engine, new Grasshopper data types, and much more

Thanks to thousands of prerelease users, we were able to field test and refine Rhino 8, making it the fastest and most stable version ever.

Model Creation Tools

Modeling Tools in Rhino

Points: Points, point clouds, point grid, extract from objects, mark (intersection, divide, draftangle, ends, closest, foci).

Curves: Line, polyline, polyline on mesh, free-form curve, circle, arc, ellipse, rectangle, polygon, helix, spiral, conic, TrueType text, point interpolation, control points (vertices), sketch.

Curves from other objects: Through points, through polyline, extend, continue curve, fillet, chamfer, offset, blend, arc blend, from two views, tween, cross section profiles, intersection, contour on NURBS surface or mesh, section on NURBS surface or mesh, border, silhouette, extract isoparm, extract curvature graph, projection, pullback, sketch, wireframe, detach trim, 2D drawings with dimensions and text, flatten developable surfaces.

Surfaces: From 3 or 4 points, from 3 or 4 curves, from planar curves, from network of curves, rectangle, deformable plane, extrude, ribbon, rule, loft with tangency matching, developable, sweep along a path with edge matching, sweep along two rail curves with edge continuity, revolve, rail revolve, tween, blend, patch, drape, point grid, heightfield, fillet, chamfer, offset, plane through points, TrueType text, Unicode (double-byte) text.

Solids: Box, sphere, cylinder, tube, pipe, cone, truncated cone, pyramid, truncated pyramid, ellipsoid, torus, extrude planar curve, extrude surface, cap planar holes, join surfaces, region, nonmanifold merge, TrueType text, Unicode (double-byte) text.

Meshes: From NURBS surfaces, from closed polyline, mesh face, plane, box, cylinder, cone, and sphere.

Rhino 8 adds dozens of refinements to existing tools and some new ones:

  • Modeling Simplified: Combine new tools to quickly sketch your idea in 3D.
  • PushPull: Grab a face and push or pull it, extruding or extending. PushPull speeds up modeling by using curves to add or remove volumes from existing surfaces.
  • Gumball: The move, scale, rotate widget gets new grips for extending and extruding.
  • SubD: SubD Creases, great for making fillet-like features.
  • Surface Fillets: FilletSrf has a new UI with dynamic radius previews.
  • Offset: Offset can now create multiple closed regions.


Editing Tools in Rhino

General Tools: Delete, delete duplicates, join, merge, trim, untrim, split, explode, extend, fillet, chamfer, object properties, history.

Transform Tools: Cut, copy, paste, move, rotate, mirror, scale, stretch, align, array, twist, bend, taper, shear, offset, orient, flow along curve, pull, project, boxedit, smash, squish.

Points and curves: Control points, edit points, handlebars, smooth, fair, change degree, add/remove knots, add kinks, rebuild, refit, match, simplify, change weight, make periodic, adjust end bulge, adjust seam, orient to edge, convert to arcs, a polyline, or line segments.

Surfaces: Control points, handlebars, change degree, add/remove knots, match, extend, merge, join, untrim, split surface by isoparms, rebuild, shrink, make periodic, Boolean (union, difference, intersection), unroll developable surfaces, array along curve on surface.

Solids: Fillet edges, extract surface, shell, Booleans (union, difference, intersection).

Meshes: Explode, join, weld, unify normals, apply to surface, reduce polygons.

Editing complex models in Rhino 8 is fast and easy:

  • Gumball: The move, scale, rotate widget gets new grips for extending and extruding.
  • Auto CPlanes: Smarter CPlanes automatically align to eligible selections.
  • Improved Mesh Booleans: Completely rewritten and more reliable Mesh Booleans.
  • RefitTrim: Take control of structure and continuity for well-made surface models.


Before After

Left: Light Mode

Right: Dark Mode

User interface: Coordinate read-out, floating/dockable command area, pop-up recently-used commands, clickable command options, auto-complete command line, customizable pop-up commands, pop-up layer manager, synchronize views, camera-based view manipulation, perspective match image, configurable middle mouse button, customizable icons and user workspace, customizable pop-up toolbar, transparent toolbars, context-sensitive right-click menu, multiple monitor support, Alt key copy and OpenGL hardware support with antialiasing.

Construction aids: Unlimited undo and redo, undo and redo multiple, exact numeric input, units including feet and inches and fractions, .x, .y, .z point filters, object snaps with identifying tag, grid snaps, ortho, planar, named construction planes, next and previous construction planes, orient construction plane on curve, layers, layer filtering, groups, background bitmaps, object hide/show, show selected objects, select by layer, select front most, color, object type, last object, and previous selection set, swap hidden objects, object lock/unlock, unlock selected objects, control and edit points on/off, and points off for selected objects.

Rhino for Mac takes advantage of macOS user interface conventions.

Rhino 8’s User Interface is far more customizable, even on Mac, with:

  • Window Layouts: Customize, save, share, and restore your favorite interface layouts.
  • Layer Manager: A complete rewrite, on Windows and Mac, including all new features.
  • Blocks: The Block Manager is now more flexible and powerful.
  • Surface Fillets: FilletSrf has a new UI with dynamic radius previews.


Display in Rhino

Features include extremely fast 3D graphics, unlimited viewports, shaded, working views, perspective working views, named views, floating views, full-screen display, draw order support, two‑point perspective, clipping planes, and one-to-one scale to view models at full size.

New in Rhino 8:

  • Metal: Blazing fast 3D drawing on Mac.
  • New Display Mode: Monochrome, a clean, minimal look, perfect for showcasing architectural work.

Rendering and Presentation

Rendering and Presentation

High-quality presentations are critical to most design projects.

Features include Rhino Render, a ray trace renderer with textures, bumps, highlights, transparency, spotlights with hotspot, angle and direction control, point lights, directional lights, rectangular lights, linear lights, and shadows, and customizable resolution, realtime render preview, realtime render preview selected objects, turntable, export to many common file formats used by renderers, rendering plugin support, settings saved in file.

New in Rhino 8:

  • Rhino Render: We’ve updated the Cycles engine for faster, GPU-accelerated raytracing.
  • UV Mapping: UV Mapping has been improved with a floating UV Editor, new unwrapping algorithms, pinning and a better texture quality in the display.
  • Procedural Textures: Native, per-pixel procedural textures in raytraced and rendered modes.
  • Display Modes: Monochrome, a clean, minimal look, perfect for showcasing architectural work.


Documentation in Rhino

Every type of physical product design relies on technical illustration and 2D drawing to concisely communicate ideas, specifications, and instructions to people in design, development, and fabrication. Our goal for Rhino was to make it easier to create 2D drawings and illustrations for every discipline in every notation system and visual style used worldwide.

Annotation objects include arrows, dots, dimensions (horizontal, vertical, aligned, rotated, radial, diameter, angle), text blocks, leaders, hidden line removal, Unicode (double-byte) support for text, dimensions, and notes. Dimensions in perspective views are supported.

In Rhino 8, we’ve added…

Digital Fabrication

Digital Fabrication in Rhino

As you may know, the Rhino development project started more than 25 years ago to provide marine designers with tools for building computer models that could be used to drive the digitally controlled fabrication equipment used in shipyards.

We continue to focus on the fact that designs are only useful once they are built and in the hands of consumers. With the cost of digital fabrication and 3D printing technology dropping quickly, more and more designers now have direct access to 3D digital fabrication equipment.

While we are not experts on all the fabrication, manufacturing, or construction processes, we do focus on ensuring that Rhino models can be accurate enough for and accessible to all the processes involved in a design becoming a reality.

In Rhino 8, try out…

  • ShrinkWrap: ShrinkWrap creates a watertight mesh around open or closed meshes, NURBS geometry, SubD, and point clouds: ideal for creating meshes for 3D printing.
  • Sectioning for Fabrication: Support for extracting curves, hatches, surfaces and slices of clipping planes.

Mesh Tools

Mesh Tools

Robust mesh import, export, creation, and editing tools are critical to all phases of design, including:

  • Transferring captured 3D data from digitizing and scanning into Rhino as mesh models.
  • Exchanging mesh data with many applications such as SketchUp® and Modo®.
  • Exporting meshes for analysis, rendering, prototyping, and fabrication.
  • Converting NURBS to meshes for display and rendering.
  • QuadRemesh: Quickly create a quad mesh from existing surfaces, solids, meshes, or SubDs—ideal for rendering, animation, CFD, FEA, and reverse engineering.

In Rhino 8, test out…

  • Improved Mesh Booleans: Completely rewritten and more reliable Mesh Booleans.
  • ShrinkWrap: ShrinkWrap creates a watertight mesh around open or closed meshes, NURBS geometry, SubD, and point clouds: ideal for creating meshes for 3D printing.

3D Capture

3D Capture in Rhino

Capturing existing 3D data is often one of the first steps in a design project. Rhino has always directly supported both 3D digitizing hardware and 3D scanned point cloud data. Rhino now supports:

  • Large point clouds. 3D scanners have become faster and cheaper, making huge scan files more common.
  • Rhino’s 64-bit support and enhanced support for graphic co‑processors have made working with these large point clouds possible.
  • LiDAR captures 3D terrain data for agriculture, archaeology, conservation, geology, land use planning, surveying, transportation, plus wind farm, solar farm, and cell tower deployment optimization. Rhino for Windows has robust support for plugins, such as RhinoTerrain™, that provide specialty tools for these new Rhino users.

3D digitizing support: Microscribe®, FaroArm®, and ROMER - Windows only.

Inspection and Analysis

Inspection and Analysis in Rhino

Design realization requires high‑quality 3D models in every phase of design, presentation, analysis, and fabrication. Rhino includes tools to help ensure that the 3D models used throughout your process are of the highest possible quality.

Analysis: point, length, distance, angle, radius, bounding box, normal direction, area, area centroid, area moments, volume, volume centroid, volume moments, hydrostatics, surface curvature, geometric continuity, deviation, nearest point, curvature graph on curves and surfaces, naked edges, working surface analysis viewport modes (draft angle, zebra stripe, environment map with surface color blend, show edges, show naked edges, Gaussian curvature, mean curvature, and minimum or maximum radius of curvature).

New in Rhino 8:

Large Projects

Large Projects in Rhino

File management tools for managing large projects and teams include: Notes, templates, merge files, export selected objects, save small, incremental save, bitmap file preview, Rhino file preview, export with origin point, worksessions (Windows only), blocks, file compression for meshes and preview images.


File Formats

Rhino is compatible with hundreds of CAD, CAM, CAE, rendering, and animation products. The openNURBS libraries allow hundreds of other applications to read and write Rhino’s native 3DM files.

In addition, Rhino 8 now supports:

  • USD Export: Universal Scene Description, an extensible format commonly used in visualization applications.
  • GLTF Import/Export: GL Transmission Format, useful for sharing 3D models on the web using WebGL.
  • Improved support for many formats.



Grasshopper is a graphical algorithm editor included with Rhino.

Unlike RhinoScript, Rhino.Python, or other programming languages, Grasshopper requires no knowledge of programming or scripting but still allows developers and designers to develop form-generation algorithms without writing code.

New in Grasshopper 1 in Rhino 8:

  • Object Attributes: Manage Rhino object attributes directly from Grasshopper.
  • Annotations: Document your design with Grasshopper’s annotation, hatch, and linetype components.
  • Blocks: Create block definitions and instances in Grasshopper.
  • Live Baking:
  • UserText: Add, modify, or remove user text from any Rhino object.

Developer Tools

Developer Tools

The world’s most robust 3D development platform for specialty modeling, rendering, analysis, and fabrication tools across a wide variety of disciplines.


Features include:

RhinoScript is Windows only
Note: While RhinoScript is still widely used and supported on Windows, we recommend that users and developers move to Rhino.Python for both Windows and Mac. See below.


Rhino.Python is a powerful scripting language in Rhino on both Windows and Mac. Rhino.Python is built for flexibility and clear syntax.

If you would like to give Rhino.Python a try, explore some of the links on the Rhino.Python site.


  • RhinoCommon is the cross-platform .NET plugin SDK for Rhino.
  • Available for Rhino for Windows, Rhino for Mac, Rhino.Python, and Grasshopper.
  • A true .NET style SDK, well organized and easy to learn.
  • Improved documentation. Details…

C++ plugins

  • Microsoft Visual C++ 2017 for 64‑bit Rhino
  • Plugin wizard creates multi-targeted projects for easy project and platform support
  • Dozens of SDK additions and enhancements to help create more powerful plugins
  • Renderer Development Kit (RDK) now integrated with SDK
  • Documentation
  • Samples

Renderer Development Kit

Available in Rhino for Windows, the RDK includes a rich set of functionality for renderer developers, including:

  • Support for C++, RhinoCommon, and RhinoScript.
  • Materials: Define custom material types that fully integrate into the Rhino material editor.
  • Environments: Define custom environment types that fully integrate into the Rhino environment editor.
  • Textures: Define custom texture types that fully integrate into the Rhino material, environment, and texture editors.
  • Built‑in Render Window: Rhino Render Window complete with tone operators, post-effects, multiple channel support, recall of recent renders, built-in zooming, support for HDR output, and window cloning.
  • Sun: Automate the new Rhino sun control with full access to the sun position calculation tools for your plugins.
  • Custom render meshes: Plugin system for defining render-time custom render meshes that can be used by any render plugin or exported to mesh formats.
  • Post‑effects: Plugin system for defining post-render frame buffer effects that any render plugin can use.
  • Many minor renderer tools.

Rhino Skins

You can completely wrap your plugin application around Rhino. Here is how using C++.

License Management for plugins

The Zoo features:


The openNURBS developer toolkit now supports Rhino 8 (and earlier) native 3DM files. Other 2D and 3D CAD/CAM/CAE and graphic applications can read and write Rhino 3DM files directly. These development tools are free to all software developers.

Localization Services

Our regional office in Europe provides a translation and localization service for third-party developers and anyone else interested in translating their products to French, German, Italian, Spanish, etc. Details…

Marketing Support

If you have developed a Rhino plugin that you would like to make available to other Rhino users, food4Rhino is the place to post the details about your plugins for Rhino and Grasshopper. It is free. Details…



The major goal for each new Rhino release is to make it easier for managers and system administrators:

  • Easy to share (float) licenses in a workgroup and company using The Zoo or Cloud Zoo license manager.
  • Tools for easy license deployment in larger installations.
  • Take more advantage of current hardware.
  • Automatic notification and download of current bug-fix service releases.
  • Provide more training and support options.
  • Package Manager: Discover, install, and manage your resources.

System Requirements and Recommendations

Rhino runs on ordinary Windows and Mac desktop and laptop computers. More details…

License Management, Sharing, and Deployment

Rhino offers flexible licensing options. More details…

Plugin Manager

It is easy to disable plugins. This is important for users who are testing new plugins or having a problem and suspect the problem is caused by a particular plugin.

Service Releases Automatically Update

After the first release of every major new version, there are bug-fix releases that download automatically. The users are prompted to install them.

Service releases do not install automatically.
You are prompted to install. You can also turn off the automatic download service.

Splash and About

The splash screen shows the thumbnails of the most recent files, along with details about the Rhino version, event news, and tech tips. It also notifies users when a service release has been downloaded and is ready to be installed.

Training, Support, and Community

Since your team’s productivity and frustration are at stake, we want to make sure help is available when you need it.

As with all versions of Rhino, support is included in the purchase price. There are no maintenance or subscription fees.

Support resources for Rhino include:

Beyond Rhino 8

Beyond Rhino 8

Serengeti, named after the largest African savanna, is where Rhino grows.

We like to involve users in every phase of the Rhino development process. As with prior releases, we will invite current users to try, test, and provide feedback on the next release while it is still in development.

Since many development efforts span more than one release, we have set up the Serengeti Project to give users a more direct influence on all future Rhino developments.

That means you can always have access to the weekly Work-In-Progress (WIP) builds of everything we are working on, no matter when or if it will be released. Rhino WIP builds are where we develop future features, including improved SubD support, Grasshopper 2, rendering and display improvements, and much more.

Service Releases

Rhino automatically downloads service releases to your computer and notifies you when they are ready to install. You can control when updates are downloaded in Rhino Options > Updates and Statistics. You can also download them from here.

For prerelease builds, under Rhino Options > Updates and Statistics select:

  • Weekly to automatically download prerelease builds of Rhino that contain the most recent fixes and enhancements. The McNeel testing staff tests these builds for stability and reliability, but they may contain bugs we haven’t discovered yet.
  • Service Release Candidates automatically download prerelease builds that the development team believes are stable, reliable, and ready for broader testing.

Wishlist management and discussion

Please post your Rhino 9 wishlist items as topics in the Serengeti category on Discourse.

Rhino 9 Development

Rhino 9 prerelease builds are available to Rhino 8 users in phases:

  • Work-in-Progress (WIP) builds include prototyped new ideas and technologies. WIP builds (often called Alpha releases) are not production ready, and some ideas and technologies may never be released. Rhino 8 users will be invited to get involved. Your feedback at the WIP stage has the most impact on the design of the features and enhancements.
  • Beta: Beta builds are released, once most of the core changes are finished and tested. The beta builds should be production stable but may not have all the features or user interface finished.
  • Final: We release a new version only when the beta users tell us it is ready. Beta users are informed when we stop development and release Rhino 9 to production.


  • All Rhino 8 users will be invited to participate in the Rhino 9 development process. There is no charge.
  • Each phase typically takes more than six months.
  • Each WIP and Beta build expires every few months. A newer build is always available before expiration. This ensures that bugs are reported for the latest build and that we don’t receive reports for bugs that are already fixed.
  • The final beta release will not expire for at least two months after the new version starts shipping.