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Oh I do like a well-built model...


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Guest Wes Gardner

@shorter Hi Steven, when I import a Rhino model (File > Import > Import Rhino 3DM) I don't get Rhino's Layer structure (equates to our Class structure)...I DO agree that Rhino is a VERY capable NURBS modeler...I'd love to see some shots



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@Wes Gardner yes. It’s a shame that the rhino layer structure is missing when it arrives in vectorworks. Is that an omission at the vectorworks end?  We end up selectively saving complex curve geometry from rhino into separate files and reclassifying in vectorworks. Pain but not a big deal.  All other geometry is DWG.


we have been given permission to use the rhino model for private CPD and training and to introduce practices using rhino to a great way to document their models but not able to show the model outside of these private circles.


that said, there is some great content online to test things out yourself.


import rhino, and section just as you would a vw model using section and horizontal viewports.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...


I'm new to Vectorworks and still learning. I would love to see a video showing Rhino to Vectorworks workflow.

Or a workflow about bringing in base massing from other softwares like Rhino, Maya or C4D and continuing with them in Vectorworks.


if this video already exist could someone link to it please and thank you?!

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Something to keep in mind.  The normal progression of workflow between programs is VW's to the C4D's/Maya's, etc. of the world.  The reverse is not even thought of.  If someone has worked something out, it may be completely different than another workflow.  Even C4D, which like VW's is part of the Nemetschek stable of goods, doesn't think about going back to VW's.  

Work Flow is VW's to (C4D-Maya-Max) to video editing.  That is the short version.  Within those three steps and numerous other steps.


I know a lot of people import from Rhino, Blender, Form Z, etc, but it is always best to build the 3D model in Vectorworks. 

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I think the whole 'interoperability' mantra is over-blown...  In reality, most software processes are one-way.  I can import Rhino into VW and do something with it, but would not go back the other way i.e. I would not round-trip.


I cannot think of any software that works well round-tripping, without corruption or limiting functionality.  Anyone know of one?  Open file formats are one-way.


That said we have had some success using an Excel file as the source of our callout database, until we add new notes in Vectorworks.


Even when bentley got into bed with autodesk and introduced the AutoCAD workflow, which was effectively a dumbing down of the toolset in MicroStation so that MicroStation did not create objects that poor old Autocad could not compute, it invariably broke the AutoCAD file when editing the dwg in microstation.

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7 hours ago, Solace said:

That's unfortunate. Isn't that kind of a blindspot on Vectorworks' part?


4 hours ago, Ross Harris said:

They could do rhino inside... But they won't..

 Both of these comments are intertwined.   Making direct import links or incorporating Rhino 3D inside Vectorworks (VW's) has no value for VW's. There would be a cost to this for them, as well as promoting another software over their own.  I am sure the marketing department had a say in this.


Vectorworks is a much more powerful 3D modeller than VW's promotes.  This may also be a marketing thing, but also a technical support issue.  Complex 3D modelling is hard and supporting it has a cost.  The number of users that need complex 3D not found in their libraries is quite small.


The tools do do complex 3D that would negate the use of Rhino 3D already exist in VW's, but simply not promoted.  The 3D models below were made in VW's, the first one over ten years ago.   All rendered in CINEMA 4D.




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It is also a question of perception.


Vectorworks is maligned by a great majority out of ignorance and received wisdom.


Many opt for Rhino and SketchUp over Vectorworks purely on the back of these softwares being better, or Vectorworks not offering the same functionality.


BIM is the case in point now, as it was with 2D in the 2000s.


That said, having a well-organised system helps more than functionality when architectural projects get larger.

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1 hour ago, shorter said:

think the whole 'interoperability' mantra is over-blown

Yes, I agree with this.  VW's - primary solid modeller, Rhino 3D - primary surface modeller, Blender - Mesh Modeller.  You can have something working well if it is apples to apples.  The VW's to C4D is amazing, but largely a one way street.  I can make it do "round trip" with a lot of work.


Strangely enough, the buildings in the short video below come from C4D libraries.  I haven't checked recently, but in 2015, there were no stock buildings in VW's libraries.  I imported these into VW's, broke them down and exported back to C4D for texturing/rendering/animation.



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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/7/2023 at 7:23 AM, VIRTUALENVIRONS said:

I know a lot of people import from Rhino, Blender, Form Z, etc, but it is always best to build the 3D model in Vectorworks. 


That's not true.

It is best to model in the software that is able to create the desired form in the most efficient and stable way possible.

Sometimes that is Vectorworks, sometimes it's something else.

I can't say what software is better at certain things, they like to ban me for that around here.

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Just search on YouTube 'how to model a tractor tyre' and seee how advanced some of the modelling tools are in other softwares...

I'm doing a scale model tractor as a 3d printing project... Started it in vw, but I'll have to go to blender.. or stump up for Rhino (it's totally a business cost ..)

Edited by Ross Harris
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7 hours ago, Ross Harris said:

scale model tractor as a 3d printing project

Coincidently, I am working on a printing project, copy of a ceramic Christmas tree.  Somewhat similar construction to a Tractor Tire.  


Can you post a picture of the tire you are interested in?  Sounds interesting. 


The tree is giving me some grief, but it is not VW's, more on the printing side.  See below.




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11 hours ago, Ross Harris said:

except I can't fillet the tread cleat to the tyre wall

Your tyre image is really nice, very well done.  No one would notice the treads were not filleted, but it's always in the back of your mind.....why?  There are so many mysteries to Vectorworks NURBS modelling that it is left up to users like yourself and a few others to figure out.


Fillets and other mysteries.  I have come to understand some mysteries, one being how things behave differently in Surface and Solid mode.  One of the things I have noticed is mirroring a surface model can cause problems with follow on actions.  It is possible that may have occurred with your model.  My natural tendency would be to mirror it, but I have learned not to do that if I want to modify further.


Switching to surface without knowing it.  You may have come across this one yourself.  If a shape cannot be created by the program as a solid, it will switch to surface without your knowledge.  The shape will have a bounding box, but still function with add solids, etc, but often won't fillet.


The image below was constructed completely in Vectorworks.  in Surface or mesh modellers (Rhino 3d - Blender), the workflow is create one side and mirror over.  That won't work in Vectorworks as it is primarily a solid modeller.  If I tried that with this car, the fillets would have failed.







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