Prettify my Rhino experience

I’d like to point out some of great features that are in Rhino, but not many people know of, or even use. This is the list of template and settings options I like to use, and is not the definite list of all the options and settings, but a nice list nevertheless. huh


Ok, first things first. In this tutorial I will show you how to prettify your experience in Rhino. Right now, in Rhino viewport the lines and everything else is pretty much jaggy, and without any antialiasing. Of course that is changed in V5, but until it is released here are few tips on how to make your user interface a bit more better looking.

So lets see the comparison of two Rendered viewports.(note that the images below are 2 times smaller for the purpose of web, so the AA is smoothed out on the first one a bit)


Comparison & download demo model


I don’t know if this can be called a step, but never mind that now. First I’d like to differentiate two things that I will be using and changing here. First one is Options dialogue. This dialogue can be accessed through menu Tools->Options. In here you can change how Rhino works. From user interface options like colors and viewports to settings for rendering mesh quality. But we will focus on the viewport mainly. The other one is Template. Template is like your own workspace, and you are prompted to select one of predefined templates every time you open your Rhino, or select File->New menu option. Templates define, among other settings, how many layers you have, what the names of them are, and every layer option (material, color, line weight, line type…) dimension properties like global scale, dimension numbers, sizes, arrow types etc, and grid settings.

Important: Templates settings are saved in a Rhino .3dm file and therefore if you don’t save it you will lose your settings, and Rhino Options are saved everytime you exit Rhino, so if your Rhino crashes your settings will not be saved, and if you reinstall Rhino you will lose your settings and templates. So, you can export settings .ini and your template to a safe place.

Ok, so starting point would be setting the Antialiasing level in Rhino. There are some Test commands in Rhino v4 that I will not use, but rather will use graphic card setting in windows control panel. Now, I’m not sure how to achieve this with ATI cards because I don’t have one, but I’m sure there are similar options.

So, lets first head out to our Control Panel, and find there our NVIDIA Control Panel. There, under 3D Settings, go to Manage 3D settings. In the Program Settings tab you will have to add application. So, click on the Add and browse for rhino.exe (you can usually find it in C:\Program Files\Rhinoceros 4.0\System\ directory). Then under Antialiasing – Mode choose Override any application setting, and under Antialiasing – Setting choose 8x. On some graphics cards this can be a drag, but I believe you already know that setting AA is going to slow down your graphics performance. So, if 8x doesn’t work well for you, try lowering it. Hit Apply, and you’re ready to start Rhino.


NVIDIA Control Panel

Next thing is a plugin called AuxPecker 1.1 (update: thanks Riccardo for a new link – now, free registration required for downloading). At the time I’m writing this, the web site doesn’t work, and I’m not quite sure why, so if it still doesn’t work download AuxPecker 1.0 here. Installation is easy, just extract the AuxPacker directory from the zip file you downloaded and put it in C:\Program Files\Rhinoceros 4.0\Plug-ins\. Next, open Rhino and go to Tools->Options->Plug-ins. There click on Install button, and browse for Auxpecker.dll. You should have your AuxPacker set to go now. (one more side note: you don’t actually need the plugin itself, you only need environment maps that comes with the plugin, but since you already have a whole plugin, I decided to show you how to install plugin)

Setting your template

First, we will set the environment map on the material we will use in our Viewport. Make sure you have Rendered viewport. Go to Layers and click on the circle under Material, then in a window that popped up under Environment settings browse for Map file, and select one of the materials in AuxPecker directory. Click OK, and that is it. While in Layers, you can rename one of your layers to “curves” because that is the layer needed in most workflows, or set the number of layers how you want and name them how you want and need. You can set environment maps to other layers as well.

Setting Environment map

Setting Environment map

Now, we will set our grid system. You can either input command or go to Tools->Options->, but I prefer the command and this is how I will do it here. Input , and click on the Extents and input 10. You should do this for all your viewports. So, this is viewport independent. Of course you can set the options the way you want. Maybe you don’t want to have a grid system at all. Or turn off the axis.

Next thing would be setting the Gradient in the background of your viewports. You do this with command. That command only toggles the visibility of gradient. For changing the settings input -, and then you can change colors. I’ve got 2 colors (you can choose between 2 or 4) and set to Top=235,235,235 and Bottom=180,180,180. Don’t forget to set the State option to On. There you can also change the View you want to affect, but leave it at View=All if you want all viewports to have the gradient.

Ok, this is it for the template. Now, delete all objects from your scene, and go to File->Save as template…  Now, go to File->New, and select your template and check the box Use this file when Rhino starts if you don’t want to choose the template every time your Rhino starts.


Final look of your template


Ok, in this step we will go through some Rhino options that can help us in our everyday work. First of all, lets set how the objects in our viewport are shown. Go to Tools->Options and under Rhino Options->Appearance->Advanced Settings->Rendered->Objects set the control point size to 4. When you apply NVIDIA antialiasing everything is smoothed but also very small. So, enlarging the control points and points is a good way. Now do the same under Objects->Points. All 3 point types set to size=4. (for the points, it is very good to enlarge them in all viewports, so do this for wire, shaded too).  Now, go to Objects->Surfaces and under Naked Edge usage select “Use separate settings for naked edges”, and Edge thickness set to 2. The thickness of regular line or curve is 1px, so setting this to 2px is going to make your naked edges stand out bit more. You can also change the color of naked edges by changing Edge color usage.

Now, if you want to see the isoparms on your objects too, that can be achieved only if you have Rhino as your current renderer. So, first go check that under Render->Current Renderer->Rhino render. Now, go back to Rhino Options, and under Document Properties->Rhino Render find Miscellaneous and check “Render curves” and “Render surface edges and isocurves”.


Setting isocurve visibility


Ok, this is pretty much it, there are a lot of options you can ckeck out too, but before you do, there are a couple of more interesting options I will go through. For example ToolTips (Rhino Options->Modeling aids->Cursor ToolTips), you can display various kind of information in your tooltips like the ones used for Osnap.

Cursor ToolTips

Cursor ToolTips

Next one is pretty useful too, it is setting your Ortho degree. By default it is set to snap to every 90 degrees, but I find it very useful to have it snap to 45 degrees. You can change that by right clicking your mouse on the Ortho in status bar and selecting settings. There you will have an option “Ortho snap to every 90 degrees, where you can change 90 to 45 or any other number you prefer.

Ortho snap to every 45 degrees

Ortho snap to every 45 degrees

If you ever find yourself to lose Menu, command line or something similar, you can always go to Rhino Options->Appearance and under “Show the following items” cart you can restore them.


Show menu, command line etc

And one last tip for you is when your Rendered viewport doesn’t show you your model correctly. When you get some jagged edges or something like that. It is just how your mesh is calculated for your Rendered viewport. You can control that in Tool->Options too. Go to Document Properties->Mesh and select Smooth and slower. If that doesn’t work for you, select custom.

Hope you have learned a bit from this short walkthrough of setting your Rhino options to make Rhino look nicer and help you work faster. If you have some questions, please don’t hesitate to ask them below in comments. Thank you.

used 2 commands


11 Responses to “Prettify my Rhino experience”

  1. Riccardo says:

    Auxpecker can be downloaded from the site
    with a new version of the 1.1
    -new interface
    -correction of minor errors
    Downloading requires free registration
    Regards Riccardo

  2. Ivan says:

    thanks for correcting me with new links Riccardo.

  3. […] notice I have 20×20 grid system. You can take a look at my previous tutorial on setting up and prettifying user experience by changing grid and other settings. That will give you an idea how to change your grid system. […]

  4. SkyG says:

    This was very helpful – thanks! -Sky

  5. Tim says:

    Ivan this is a great tutorial on how to set up Rhino. This is the first good one I have found. Now if you can just provide some tuts on rendering in V-ray. 😉

  6. Ivan says:

    Actually there are two 😉
    I’ll try to write couple more, but I’m better at modeling heh

  7. PhilipK says:


    just have to add my thanks for all of your tutorials on here. They are far and away the best resource on the web I have found and have helped me no end. Looking forward to seeing some more if you get the time. Good work fella!

  8. emkay says:

    imho, this is the best page on your website.
    i dnt mean to boast, but i am pretty familiar with rhino after having used it for 4-5 yrs now, but the little tips on this one page make a lot of difference to the user experience even to an advanced user.. more so when you dont have time for renders & need to explain your model using screenshots.
    so, good job!

  9. AOL says:

    Thanks very helpful!

    When I start rhino after installing Auxpecker I don’t see the Auxpecker tool bar in Rhino. What do I need to do to make it visable/open up the materiel editor?


  10. Ivan says:

    In Rhino, go to Tools/Toolbar Layout. Click on file and open Auxpecker.tb. Make the main toolbar active.

  11. BobHeavy says:

    Does anyone know if the Main Color (Light Grey) UI in Rhino can be changed into a darker one?
    Like in 3d Max for example:

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