parametric design

8 Awesome Rhino 3D Plugins That Will Change Your Modelling Life

ishika kapoor

Writer at Oneistox

March 30

06 mins read

The most crucial step towards visualising your work in parametric design invariably turns out to be 3D modelling. But thanks to its sheer importance and labour-intensiveness, it can often turn into a designer’s nightmare. To speed up this tiresome process, many modelling software host life-saviours called ‘plug-ins’, which are extensions programmed to ease particular tasks in model-making. Rhino 3D is known for various cross-disciplinary plugins which make it efficient as well as infinitely flexible.

If you want to make your life simpler, look no further than this list of the best of Rhino’s plugins, for your ready reference!

1. Grasshopper

Up until recently, Rhino was a code-based software that used programs like NET, C++, etc., and many of us would not have been able to use it due to a lack of programming skills. Only big firms like Zaha Hadid, Foster+Partners, and others used Rhino and hired scripting writers to help their designers make the model. So, to make the software accessible by lending visual aid to programming, the creators developed Grasshopper. Grasshopper and Rhino are the Chandler and Joey of the software world: they just make each other more powerful.

Generating complex models with Grasshopper. (Source: InspirationTuts Channel; Best Rhino Plugins for Architecture)

2. LunchBox

LunchBox is a Rhino- Grasshopper plugin used for modeling on uneven surfaces. It is great for generating cool geometries using multiple panels of various shapes like a quad grid, diamond, hexagon, triangle, etc. The plugin is perfect for exploring paneling structures, mathematical shapes, and workflow

Creating Panels with Lunchbox. (Source: Rhino Grasshopper Channel; Grasshopper Tutorial- Lunchbox)

3. Kangaroo Physics

This plugin for Grasshopper is used by structural engineers as a virtual form-finding technique, especially in parametric design. Kangaroo Physics optimizes and analyzes the structural components, helping generate complex forms by resolving constraints. The plugin provides simulation in the model in real-time while any change is made on the script. It also helps in creating catenary arches (think Sagrada Familia ), which normally follow a rather complex method of formation.

[Read: A Guide on When to Use Rhino 3D ]

Complex geometrical forms by Kangaroo Physics. (Source: InspirationTuts Channel; Best Rhino Plugins for Architecture)

4. VisualArq

A savior for architects, this plugin is known as the Flexible BIM. It allows you to design freely but at the same time helps you generate all the necessary documents required to construct a project. While you order a pizza, VisualArq will create all the plans, sections, and different standards like services, dimensions, materials, etcetera just from the 3D model. The plugin also offers smart architectural objects like staircases, window/door blocks, and much more.

Architectural Blocks in the VisualArq library. (Source: InspirationTuts Channel; Best Rhino Plugins for Architecture)

5. Ladybug

Ladybug is a powerful environmental analysis plugin for Grasshopper that conducts weather analysis based on the site location. If you’re tired of cluelessly drawing yellow curves and random blue arrows to create the illusion of a climatic analysis, this is the plugin for you. With Ladybug, you will be well-equipped to hit the jury with various informative 2D and 3D diagrams to explain and inform your design.

Environment Analysis by Ladybug. (Source: InspirationTuts Channel; Best Rhino Plugins for Architecture)

6. Section Tool

Another plugin to ease your workflow, the Section Tool can generate a great section from your 3D model without much extra effort. It is a smart plugin where the sections are synchronized with the model, and each time you make a change, it is replicated in the sectional drawing. The tool can also create hatches and curves all by itself.

Ease in creating sections with the Section tool. (Source: InspirationTuts Channel; Best Rhino Plugins for Architecture)

7. Fluid Ray

Fluid Ray is integrated into Rhino for creating photo-realistic renders. At times when you need quick renders, this plugin comes in very handy with its high-quality graphics, generating stunning views in a matter of minutes. It offers real-time rendering, which means that the material applied to the model will automatically be replicated to the views as well. The plugin also offers an extensive list of material, lighting, and textures in its library.

Real-time renders with Fluid Ray. (Source: InspirationTuts Channel; Best Rhino Plugins for Architecture)

8. Lands Design

Rhino 3D is for everyone, including landscape and urban designers. This plugin allows the user to design landscape and urban features in 2D as well as 3D, with a large library of plants and vegetation which can be edited. You can even customize the season and growth of the vegetation!

[Read: Possibilities and Myths around Rhino 3D ]

Landscape design in Rhino with Lands Design. (Source: InspirationTuts Channel; Best Rhino Plugins for Architecture)

Thus, now we know that Rhino 3D has the potential to be your BFF! It’s easy to use and offers powerful features relevant to your part of the design industry, and is also cheaper than other 3D modeling software of this calibre. These reasons, among others, are leading to a rapid expansion of its user base globally. So, take the first step of entering the world of parametric design by checking out Oneistox’s latest course on Rhino + Grasshopper 101!

ishika kapoor

student of architecture
Ishika Kapoor is an architecture student graduating from Thakur School of Architecture and Planning, Mumbai. She is a sucker for good thrillers and art, and believes in the motto of trying something new every day. She promotes social causes through architecture and believes that when design resonates with words, it stimulates power.

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