Join Chris Reilly for an in-depth discussion in this video Rhino interface basics, part of Up and Running with Rhino for Mac.
- Lets look a little more in depth at the Rhino 5 for Mac Interface. So I've gone ahead and opened up an exercise file, rhino-interface.3dm just so we have a little something to look at as we go through the different components. So lets start all the way at the top with the menu bar and here we have all of the different Rhino commands grouped together by function. In addition, of course, to the very standard menu items that you will find in any program. Things like File New, File Open, Edit, Cut, Copy, Paste, things like that. We also have the View menu and this gives us tools for organizing the overall layout of all the different panels, in addition to controlling how we view the geometry of our file in the viewport.
Under the Curve menu we have tools for drawing straight lines and curved lines, both flat and in two dimensions. Under Surface we have tools for drawing single surfaces, either flat or three dimensional. The Solid menu gives us tools for drawing fully enclosed shapes. So things with surfaces on all sides. Things like Boxes, Spheres, Cylinders, Cones. The Mesh menu gives us tools for editing polygonal meshes. Now, most of the things that we make in Rhino are made of what is called nerves geometry and we'll talk about the difference between the two in a later chapter but just know for now that they are different and under the Mesh menu we have tools for dealing with those polygonal meshes.
The Dimension tools give us options for measuring things like length, things like area. And Transform gives us tools for moving, copying, rotating, manipulating the geometry that we have already drawn in our Rhino file. The Tools menu gives us some really great options that are sort of modeling aids. So especially things like object snapping, lists of commands, these are really, really helpful and as we get into more advanced modeling techniques we will take a closer look at those tools. The Analyze menu gives us tools for analyzing things like curvature, mass of an object, and especially when it comes to sort of engineering applications those can be really handy tools.
The Render menu gives us tools for adding color and lighting to geometry and generating really good looking renders. The Window menu lets us show, hide, and arrange different parts of the interface. And last, but not least, we have the Help menu and there are a couple really great features here, one of which is the search component. So this lets me search through all of the commands in the menu bar. So lets say I wanted to look at rotate. So I just type in rotate there and this shows me anywhere in the whole menu system where rotate comes up and for a program like Rhino where there are a lot of different commands, this is really, really useful.
I even find myself using this quite a bit. So I'll close out of that. In addition to the search tool, we have a link to the Rhino Help file. Again, this is really handy and you will need this as you work through the program. As well as links to the Rhino for Mac Support Forum, a Frequently Asked Questions section, a lot of different ways that you can get help as you are working with Rhino for Mac. Lets move into the actual Rhino window. Up at the top here we have the tool bar and this is kind of divided into four different sections.
So on the far left and right we have these toggles for the left and right side bar. So I can click and turn those on and off. Same thing on the right side. On the middle left I have a few different tools. Sort of modeling constraints and modeling helpers. Things like Grid Snap allows me to snap directly to the intersections of the grid in the viewport. Ortho and Planar help me to constrain the direction that I am drawing geometry in. SmartTrack can help me to sort of make measurements based on existing geometry.
The Gumball tool gives me a nice little movement and rotation tool for moving things visually through the viewport. And then the History toggle lets me turn on or off associative history. So this is one part in the interface that can get a little bit confusing since there are other things that are also labeled history but that are different. So again, this is a tool for doing associative history. So that is a little bit similar to what you might hear called parametric modeling where certain parts of a geometry are connected to others and as we make changes to one thing they sort of cascade to other pieces and we will cover that in more detail in a later chapter but just know that there are multiple places in the interface that are labeled history and they are actually different.
On the middle right side of the tool bar we have a drop down for object snaps and this lets us snap to parts of existing geometry as we are drawing new things. So if I wanted to draw a line from the midpoint of that cube I could do that very easily, and again we will cover that more in later chapters. I have a drop down for Object Properties and to get that to work I need to actually select something. In my viewport here I'm just going to click on the cube to select it. And now click on that Object Properties and I'll get some information about this cube.
This is basic things like what color is it, where is it, does it have a texture applied to it, what size is it. And next to Object Properties we have a layer drop down and this lets me control how all the geometry in my file is layered. Lets keep moving on down and lets look at the viewport. So that is kind of the central part here. This gives us different views of the geometry that is inside of our Rhino file and be default you will always have this four panel view. So we have the Top, Front, Right, and Perspective, and we can rotate around in the Perspective that is kind of a 3D view.
And we can pan left and right and up and down in any of the Front, Right, or Top views. I can also maximize any one of these windows. I can do that a couple different ways. So if I wanted to look at just the Right view I can double click on the panel name and that shows me just the Right view and then to exit out I can double click again, back to the four panel view. Same thing with any of the others. So if I want to maximize Perspective I can double click. Double click again to get back. I can also use these buttons at the top of the viewport so I can jump directly to, lets say the top.
I can click on Top, to Front, to Right, to Perspective and then back to the four panel view. We will cover navigating with viewports more in depth in a later chapter but that is the basics for now. And lets move on to the left side bar and this is kind of organized into three different sections. So at the top here we have the Command line. So Rhino is a command driven program. So that means basically anything that we do in Rhino has a command associated with it and we can get to those commands in a few different ways.
We can go through the menu bar. So we can access commands through any of these menu bar options. We can also use any of these icons in the left tool bar. Or if we know the name of a command we can simply type it into the command line. So lets pick rotate again. So I'm just going to type in rotate and Rhino is going to automatically fill in based on what I start typing and give me different options that are associated with that text. So I can do Rotate, Rotate 3D, RotateCamera, RotateHole, RotateView. And once I get familiar with some of the different commands the command line becomes a really convenient way to just quickly type in commands, rather than having to navigate through the menus, or rather than having to find the right icons.
So I'm going to escape out of that for now. So below the command line we have icons for every single command in Rhino and these are grouped together into sub menus. So these icons that have the little triangle in the lower right hide sub menus and I can get to those by either left clicking and holding down. So I can see under the point menu I have all these different variations on drawing a point. And if I need to access one of those sub menus frequently I can also just right click and hold down and that will just pop out the whole sub menu so I can get to any of those tools.
So if I wanted to look at those Curve tools I could grab all the icons from those and get to whichever one I need. And I can hover over any of the icons and get a nice explanation for what it is, and what it actually does. So for example, this is a Curve made from control points from polyline Curve through polyline vertices. Down below the Command icons I have again some tools for snapping and we will cover that more in depth in a later chapter but these come in really handy. Over on the right side bar we have two panels and these allow us to jump back and forth to all kinds of different information about our file.
So right now we are looking at the layers for our file and we are also looking at the object properties. We can jump to any one of these. We can look at different objects in the file. And if I make a selection it will show me the properties. I can jump to the help. I can jump to display. I can jump to the viewports. I can jump to history. So I can look at the history of everything that has been done to this file. A lot of different information and these are nice because you can kind of pull up the things that are relevant to you at the moment. And down in the lower left corner we will see the history again.
Now so again, this is where it gets a little bit confusing. So this is a different history down here in the lower left than this history that is in the top tool bar. So this a history that simply shows us all of the commands that have happened in this file up until now. So you'll always see the last command that was done to the file, and I can also see a whole list if I click on this little icon here. This shows me everything that was done to the file. So I can see all of those different commands that I've done to get the file to the point where it is right now. Now I can also do some customization to the overall layout of the Rhino interface.
And I can get to those by clicking on Rhinoceros, Preferences, Themes. So the default is Rhino for Mac. I can switch it to say, Rhino for Windows, or I can make my own custom theme. Just for demonstration I'll choose Rhino for Windows. Close out of Preferences and now if I were to make a new Rhino file I can see that my layout matches much more closely of what I might be used to if I'm coming from Windows. So I'll just close this for now.
So that is sort of a global setting for the interface. I can also look at more specific settings for individual files, and then I can get to that under File, Settings. And here I can change things, for instance, like the Grid, if I wanted to change how that looked. So I can change things like the grid spacing. I can change things like the size of text. Things that are more specific to the individual Rhino file.
- Installing Rhino for Mac
- Viewing a 3D model in Rhino 5
- Manipulating objects with commands
- Creating curves, surfaces, and solids
- Applying transformations to 3D objects
- Creating unique shapes with Boolean operators
- Snapping to objects and planes
- Prototyping a 3D model
- Lighting and rendering