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Viewing Rhino objects in Shaded View

All the Rhino viewport settings can be accessed by right clicking on the name of the current viewport and selecting from the view options (Wireframe, Shaded, Rendered, Ghosted, XRay). The default view setting for opening new Rhino files is generally _Wireframe

Default view setting is Wireframe.

Change the view setting to Shaded by right clicking on the viewport name and selecting Shaded. Viewing your objects in Shaded view will help you to visualize what the exports will look like.

Change the view setting by right clicking on the viewport name and selecting Shaded.

The Shaded view setting shows surface isocurves.

The default Shaded view setting shows the surface isocurves (the non-edge lines on the surfaces of your objects). If you keep the surface isocurves on, they will show up in the Rhino exports for some of the methods covered here. They can also be distracting for viewing.

The surface isocurves can be turned off by editing the Object Properties of an object.  Open the Object Properties window by clicking on the rainbow colored donut or typing Properties. Select one or all of the objects. Turn off the surface isocurves by unchecking the Show Surface Isocurves box in the Object Properties window.

To remove the surface isocurves (or perform any other operation on the properties of an object), select the object and click the rainbow colored donut button on the top toolbar.

When the surface isocurves have been turned off the objects look normal and with no extra curves.

Additionally, you can alter the Rhino Options for different view settings in the Tools-Options-Appearance-Advanced Settings.

Orthographic drawings

There are several ways to export orthographic drawings from Rhino and the method for exporting depends on whether you have two-dimensional flat drawings or a three-dimensional object that you want to draw in two-dimensions.

If you have drawn two-dimensional flat orthographic line drawings in the Top, Front or Side viewports, you can export directly to AutoCAD or Illustrator or another vector based program.

Two-dimensional lines in a Top view.

Export Selected objects

You can exported selected objects by typing the Export command or going to File-Export Selected and following the appropriate dialog box. All exported objects will retain their Rhino layers and colors when exported to both AutoCAD and Illustrator.

AutoCAD (.dwg)

The objects you export to AutoCAD will be full scale in the Rhino units specified by your model. A model drawn in feet will open in AutoCAD with one unit equaling one foot. You can change the units of the model by going into the Tools-Options-Units and selecting a new document units.

.bq When exporting from Rhino to AutoCAD, select .dwg from the file save as types in the Export dialog box.

The default scheme for exporting to AutoCAD is sufficient for exporting lines. Note: the default scheme explodes any polylines you have drawn and creates lots of fairly uneditable splines out of any curved lines you have drawn. Your Rhino file will not have exploded polylines and splines after you export but you will notice the change when you begin to manipulate your exported file in AutoCAD.

The AutoCAD export dialog box, with Edit Schemes option.

You can edit the scheme with which you export to AutoCAD by clicking the Edit Scheme button in the AutoCAD Export dialog box. In this dialog box you can change the General settings for exporting surfaces and meshes and also the Curves settings for lines, arcs, polylines, curves and polycurves.

Editing the AutoCAD export scheme as per user preference and type of objects being exported.

Illustrator (.ai)

When you export to Illustrator you can either export a snapshot of the current viewport (which will come into Illustrator at exactly the size you see on your screen) or you can export at a specified architectural scale (such as 1/8”=1’-0”). The specified scale export only works for the orthographic viewports or a Perspective viewport in Parallel Projection.

When exporting from Rhino to Adobe Illustrator, select .ai from the file save as types in the Export dialog box.

The AI Export Options dialog box has two export options. Snapshot of current view will export vector lines for your objects at the scale of your desktop viewport. Preserve model scale will allow you to specify an exact scale for the exported drawing. If you select to Preserve model scale, the correct inputs for a 1/8”=1’-0” drawing export are:

1 feet = .125 inches
12 inches = .125 inches
8 feet = 1 inches

This standard can be extrapolated for any drawing scale. The important thing to remember about the scaling when exporting to Illustrator is that the model scale is on the left of the equation and the drawing scale is on the right. Unless you are scaling your object up to larger than full scale, the model scale (left) should always be larger than the drawing scale (right).

If you have three-dimensional objects that you are interested in pulling drawings from, you can do several things.

The Section command will allow you to create a section line through an object. Section will create a planar curve or points at the intersection of a user defined cutting plane through a curve, surface or polysurface. Select the object(s) that you want to create a section through. Pick the start and the end of the section plane by specifying points. In the Section command options you can select to AssignLayersBy either the CurrentLayer (the layer you have activated as the current layer) or the InputObject (so that each of the section lines drawn is created on the original object’s layer). You can also select to have the section curves joined or grouped.

The Section command creates section curves through selected objects along a specified intersection plane. The objects have been sectioned along a diagonal white line.

The Contour command will essentially allow you to create several section lines spaced at a specified distance apart through an object. Select the object(s) that you want to create multiple sections through. Select a base point for the sections to begin from. Pick a point perpendicular to the direction that you want to create sections in. Specify a distance between the contours. The appropriate number of sections will be cut through the object(s) at the interval specified by your input distance.

Selecting a base point for Contour.

Selecting a point perpendicular to the intended direction of the multiple sections (contours).

The output of the Contour command is multiple sections through an object or objects.

For sections, you can create the elevation beyond the section cut line by splitting your objects and creating a flattened view from the cut plane. You can BooleanSplit solid objects (closed polysurfaces) behind a specified section line and then Make2D those objects so that they will appear in elevation beyond.

Perspective Views

The Perspective view can be manipulated to the desired angle by panning (right click + Shift) and rotating (right click) around in the viewport. Once a desired view is obtained, the view can be saved.

Saving Views

A view can be saved by right clicking on the name of the current viewport and selecting Set View-Named Views. When the Named Views dialog box comes up, click Save and type in a name for the view. The Perspective viewport label should now read the newly named viewport. If ever you want to return to the saved view, you can right click on the viewport name and select Set View-(new name).

Naming a view and, thus, saving it can be accomplished by setting the view.

Controlling the Camera

If tighter and more accurate control for the location of the camera and the target is desired, the position of the camera and target can be set by altering the Viewport Properties for the Perspective viewport. This is also where you can change the Projection from Perspective to Parallel and where the camera lens length can be altered. Right click on the name of the viewport and select Viewport Properties.

The camera and target and other camera properties can be set by opening up the Viewport Properties.

Exporting Perspective Views

The type of objects present in Rhino will greatly change your strategy for exporting three-dimensional perspectival views.

If you are working with curves only you can export directly to AutoCAD or Illustrator from the Perspective viewport without altering the Rhino objects at all. Curves export from Rhino into other vector-based programs as flattened curves that look as they did in the Perspective viewport.

The AutoCAD export will export in full scale similarly to the orthographic drawings export and according to the scheme set in the export dialog box. The Illustrator export will only allow the Snapshot of current view option unless the Parallel Projection is activated. Like the two-dimensional export, all objects (including three-dimensional surfaces and polysurfaces) will export with their Rhino layers and colors.

Surfaces and polysurfaces export to Illustrator as exploded outlines of each surface shown in Rhino. This means that if you are exporting a closed polysurface such as a cube from Rhino to Illustrator, the export of that closed polysurface will be lines along the edges of each of the six cube side surfaces. The effect will essentially be a wireframe view of your cube because even the back sides of the cube (hidden by the front sides in your Rhino Perspective viewport) will be seen. Additionally, the side surface edges will not be closed polylines in Illustrator. They will be exploded so that many lines will lie on top of one another and you cannot easily fill each face with color.

Objects shown in Shaded view with surface isocurves turned off.

The wireframe output of exporting surfaces or polysurfaces from Rhino to Illustrator without Make2D.

In order to export a non-wireframe view of your object and see it as it appears in the Shaded view setting, you have to Make2D. The Make2D command creates curves from the selected objects as silhouettes relative to the active construction plane. The silhouette curves are projected flat and then placed in the Top viewport. A cube which has Make2D applied to it will export as it is viewed in a Shaded Perspective view (without being able to see through to the wireframe hidden behind).

Position a desired view. Select the object(s) and type Make2D. A Make2D dialog box will come up with options for the flattening. The dialog box gives you the option to make the object two-dimensional in the Current View (the one you have positioned appropriately) or also the orthogonal views.

The default settings (no options checked) will flatten the current viewport to a two-dimensional drawing of the shaded view with all the objects on one new Make2D Visible layer. The Options include Show tangent edges, Show hidden lines (the wireframe beyond) and to Maintain source layers. Selecting Maintain source layers will create separate layers for each of the objects that Make2D is applied to. If three objects on separate layers are all made two-dimensional at once, three new layers (one for each existing layer) will be created of the flattened object.

To use Make2D, select the object(s) and type Make2D. A dialog box with many options will appear.

The output of Make2D is a two-dimensional flattened drawing of what was viewed in the Shaded viewport. The Make2D output can be viewed in the Top view.

The shaded output of exporting Make2D lines from Rhino to Illustrator.

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