Blender Vs. Rhino

By Shea Laverty

Blender and Rhinoceros offer two useful options for 3-D modeling, but choosing the right one depends greatly on your project. Both programs offer more advanced tools than most entry-level software, but less than professional-grade software like Maya. A quick look at each program's features can help make an otherwise difficult decision a little easier.

Ideal Task

Blender and Rhino are both powerful modeling programs for their respective costs, but each are better suited to different tasks. Blender's tool set is better suited to entertainment or artistic modeling, like that used in the creation of animated films and video games. By contrast, Rhino's features and tools make it better equipped for professional design, including architectural, mechanical and automotive design work.

Available Features - Blender

Blender comes with a lot of features ideal for creating 3-D models for entertainment purposes. Blender uses the Cycles rendering engine for high-quality renders and features a full set of rigging and animation tools for characters. Blender also comes with a built-in gaming engine and video editing suite, making it an all-in-one tool for entry-level game design and animation. Blender can also be upgraded with add-ons, enabling support for numerous physics, animation and particle engines and expanding the program's capability.

Available Features - Rhino

Rhino sports a number of features well-suited to professional design. Rhino features complete free-form 3-D modeling and compatibility with file types from many other design, drafting and CAM engineering programs. It also edits mesh models and creates curved lines and surfaces like those found in automotive and aeronautical engineering. Rhino also supports third-party add-ons for additional functionality, and can be programmed using Visual Basic to run scripts to automate many features. It also features support for SpaceBall and SpaceMouse peripherals and non-uniform rational B-splines or NURBS, a mathematical representation of 3-D geometry.

Investment Cost

A major difference between Blender and Rhino is the price-of-entry. Blender is free and open-source, meaning it's absolutely free to use for any purpose, be it personal or professional. Rhino on the other hand, does require a substantial purchase price, albeit a lower one than other professional-grade modeling programs. If you're operating on a limited budget, Blender will likely be the better choice for you.