Rhino #1: Scene Organization And View Control


We will start our Rhino tutorials with most important (and basic) tasks when it comes to creating great images:

Set Up

We will work with a 3d model of Barcelona Pavillion by Mies Van Der Rohe.
Click here to download the 3d model. (3.6Mb .zip)

Open the 3D model in Rhino, you will get a view similar to this one:


Working With Layers

Most important things to avoid driving yourself mad while working in Rhino (or any other program, really!) is to keep your scene organized.  In Rhino, it usually means using layers.

Yes, while you work in Rhino, don’t be lazydon’t draw everything in the same default layer. It may look faster, but it will very quickly backfire, and you will start losing a lot of time while performing even basic tasks such a selecting objects. So always organize your scene in layers, and make sure you know in which layer you are currently drawing.

How many layers do you need?

There’s no rule, it all depends on the complexity of your scene.

Take a look at the Layers panel to see how the scene we are working on is organized. Click little [+] buttons next to Walls and Furniture to open and see sublayers, if these are not already open:


Usually we want to use layers to group similar kind of objects (ie. walls, or floors), especially if we want them to be of the same material (ie. white walls). To avoid having too many layers and a cramped pallete, we use sublayers.

See how layer Walls has 3 sublayers:

while Furniture has only one sublayer so far (indicating that if we add furniture to this scene, we probably want to have it all organized in sublayers of Furniture layer).

Show/Hide Layers

Probably most useful feature of layers is ability to quickly show and hide them, which makes our views easier to work with. Click on the bulb icon to show or hide a layer, and see what we get in our views:

See how showing/hiding the layer with sublayers will also always affect sublayers.

Set Current Layer

Ok, this is most important thing. Current layer is the one that all the new objects that you create will automatically belong to.

Double-click the layer quickly to set it to current.
Note: If you double-click slowly you will have a chance to rename a layer, so use it!
You will see a little tick icon:


In above case, Columns layer is current, and all new objects will automatically be moved there.

Select Objects In Layers

This also often comes handy. To select all objects that belong to some particular layers, do the following:

All objects that belong to highlight layers will get selected in the views:


Change Object  Layer

Very often you’ll make a mistake of drawing an object in a wrong layer. To change object’s layer:


Creating and Moving Sublayers

Let’s create a new layer, Windows, and put the Glass and Win Frame inside. This will have all our windows organized in side of Windows layer, while at the same time glass and metal frames will be separated, each into its own layer.

Here’s what we’ll do:

And here’s how:

More About Layers

To learn everything about Layers, look at Rhino documentation:

Next Tutorial

Rhino #2: Setting Up The Views
Camera control is one of the essential parts of creating impactful architectural images. Here's a complete guide on how to control the camera and views in Rhino.


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