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
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
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
- 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."