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Rhinoceros, otherwise known as Rhino 3D, is a computer-aided (CAD) software, wildly used in jewelry and industrial design, and also architecture. It is based on 2D and 3D concepts. It is a very powerful 3D modeling software, and we actually got first-hand experience on it as one of Sculpteo’s 3D designers uses it on an everyday basis.
Alexandre d’Orsetti, Head of Sculpteo Design studio, gave a piece of advice to share with our readers: ‘’The UI is user-friendly and the rendering tools are capable of producing pretty impressive images. Rhino has a great set of modeling tools, from dedicated transform tools to mesh editing ones, it gives you a lot of design freedom at the same time keeping the accuracy and quality of the 3D models at the highest standards. If you’re planning to develop a 3D printing project, it is also worth the investment.’’
As Alexandre mentioned, Rhino stands out for its tools. This software works with NURBS, which is modeling by curves technique. This allows for the manipulation of curves instead of working with polygons. The advantage of adaptive mesh is accuracy. You’re in control of the number of faces building the object’s surface.
Alexandre also comments on those tools: ‘’Rhino is great for drawing curves and round surfaces. I particularly like that fact and it makes a virtual design feel much like in the real world. Also worth mentioning is the option to use many plugins, especially Grasshopper, which unrelieved for the user an unlimited range of parametric design.’’
Rhinoceros’ file format is .3DM, however, the developers made sure this software is compatible with 30 other CAD file formats, including STL, the most popular 3D printing file format. This is very important if you’re planning to 3D print your architectural model.
When it comes to 3D printing, very useful are also the analysis tools of Rhino. You will have available measurements, surface, geometric and other tools to assure your model is prepared for 3D printing. If you’re uncertain about the printability of your 3D model, check it with our guide.
Rhino is a great software not only for architecture but also for product design and 3D printing. This software is available for Windows and Mac, with licenses between $700-1000 and a free 90-day trial.
Sketchup is a 3D modeling CAD software, primarily used in architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, but also in engineering and video games industry. It comes in free and paid versions giving you a choice that depends on the size of your company. It works with 2D and 3D concepts.
It has a great set of built-in tools for textures, light effects, and animations. The design process is similar to read technical drawing, and then creating a 3D model by the pull/ push tools. Sketchup has an intuitive, customizable User Interface and is easy to operate.
Our Community Manager, and a 3D modeling passionate, Kat Plewa, worked previously with SketchUp, she says ‘’through college I used Sketchup on several occasions, however mostly for architecture projects. I notably liked the visualization tools, they allowed me to create a real-life experience when it came to producing visualizations and was also extremely helpful to provide all documentation and technical drawings needed.’’
Sketchup stands out for some of its tools. For example, you can predict the amount of light your 3D designed building will get depending on the day of the year and time, also predicting the cold and warm areas inside. This allows for sustainable architecture design.
This 3D modeling software is also suitable for 3D printing, it allows you to scale your object to the right size, optimize it for 3D printing and export as an STL, the most commonly used 3D printing file.
Sketchup has a free online version, which might be a deal breaker for you. It also offers different plans, at prices between $120-1200, available for both Mac and Windows.
As you see, both software is pretty impressive. Their UI seems equally user-friendly, they both stand out for many great tools. The decision of which 3D program is better for you depends on the nature of your project.
From our research and first-hand experience, we would recommend Rhino for more industrial design projects and Sketchup for architecture.
Rhino has an amazing variety of plugins allowing you to have the ultimate design freedom. Thanks to its design system, it also allows for very smooth curves and the creation of very accurate 3D models.
Sketchup, on the other hand, will provide you with an excellent amount of 3D models, which is crucial when it comes to architecture design. It is very intuitive and can handle big architectural projects such as landscapes designs. Additionally, Sketchup is a great architectural rendering software.
Hopefully, this article helped you to make the right decision. Whichever software you picked, you can easily get your 3D model 3D printed! With an online 3D printing service like Sculpteo, it is as simple as uploading your file. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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