Rhinoceros the 3-D modeling software many of us are using at ITP is undoubtedly powerful. Especially on the Mac, it's surprisingly easy to get started modeling whatever you can imagine. Because Rhino is based on a command-line interface, there is a powerful scripting language and SDK that lets you read and write files directly. Rather than having to learn RhinoScript as a completely new language, you can use Python to script in Rhino!
There is a really awesome PDF to help you get started available here. It's great because it explains the basics of the Python language and the specific methods for creating and interacting with Rhino.
On the Mac, you'll need to install a plugin to be able to execute Python code in Rhino. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a Rhino Python editor for the Mac. However, you can use Komodo (with rhinoscriptsyntax syntax) , or Sublime Text to write Rhino Python code.
To get it working
- Install & Run the latest Rhino release
- Download the IronPython.macrhi plug-in installer
- Double click the plug-in
- Close and reopen Rhino
- Open scripts in Rhino by typing RunPythonScript
But what can you use it for?
- automating processes that you do often
- building objects or adding detail to objects that might be difficult to do manually
- get information about the things you've created
- creating generative objects
If you have $445 dollars sitting around and an interest in generative geometry, Point Crowd is a Rhino.Python workshop taking place in Brooklyn in May.
Alternatively, there are some tutorials online. But beware! They are using the windows version of Rhino, which could be potentially confusing. But it should all work the same, with the exception of the in app Python editor.
A popular use for scripting in Rhino is making generative models. Specifically, Grasshopper can be used to develop generative algorithms with an interface reminiscent of Max. The sad part is:
Grasshopper doesn't work on the Mac. You'll have to install windows to use it. Nonetheless, it can be utilized to make some interesting art, architecture or products. There are a number of examples available online.
Here are a few examples of things made with Grasshopper and Rhino:
I was able to try out this Spirograph example. It would take some significant time to be able to really utilize the power of this tool.
You can even combine grasshopper work with Python code.
Two more resources: