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Rhino Feature

The Way of Rhino, Part 4: The Passion of the Rhino

excerpted from

Full article is available for a fee

Randall S. Newton, October 15, 2007

See Also

   Rhinoceros website
   Rhino Reading Room - at CADdigest.com

Over the years I have met quite a few users of Rhino, the freeform 3D modeling software from Robert McNeel and Associates (RMA). Some are designers in Fortune 500 companies, others are self-employed artists. All Rhino users are passionate about their work, and can tell you in great detail why their 3D product is like no other.

The one common characteristic of Rhino users is that they are designers of freeform shapes who want to define their ideas with extreme precision.

The Rhino ability to slice and heal slices on the fly makes it useful in rapid prototyping and related stereolithography applications.

Other specialty uses include:

  • Illustration and animation: A certain arachnid-like movie superhero was designed in Rhino; the product is often in joint use with 3DS MAX, SoftImage, LightWave, and Illustrator
  • File Translation: RMA wrote their IGES translator from scratch
  • Education: used in variety of disciplines where there are no standard CAD tools (as there are for engineering or architecture)
  • Pure and applied scientific research: wherever modeling aids the research process.

Rhino Version 4 Development Strategy

Rhino Version 4 was more than three years in the making; most CAD firms today are on annual or 18-month development schedules. The other numbers that describe Rhino Version 4 are also out of the CAD industry norm:

  • Number of new features or enhancement -- 500+
  • Initial list of product specifications -- 0; no list was created
  • Pre-beta testers -- 10,000.

"We don’t write product from specifications; users drive the development process," says RMA’s Scott Davidson, who runs sales and marketing and is unofficially Bob McNeel’s right-hand man. If RMA had vice-presidents, (it doesn’t) Davidson would be "VP of loose ends, outreach, and whatever needs to get done."


  • Passion for Version 4
  • All Those New Features
  • Where Rhino Goes from Here

The full article is available for a fee at CADCAMNet.

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