Learning Rhino 6 and drawing Villa 1.0
For many years I have wanted to learn a new software, as AutoCAD doesn’t seem sufficient any more for a self-respecting design professional. I discovered RHINO and GRASSHOPPER while following posts by @parametric.architecture on Instagram, and I thought “this is it, I found my new software”. I was mesmerised by the possibilities!
Rhino 6 is a 3D CAD design software with applications in architecture, interior design, furniture design, jewellery and fashion design. Grasshopper is a plug-in that is integrated with RHINO 6 (previously it had to be installed separately) and is used by computational designers to create algorithms that build 3D structures in a different way. It is more like coding than drawing.
In a twist of fate the COVID-19 tragedy gave me some time to focus on new things. I started learning Rhino roughly a month ago, watching tutorials on Linked-in Learning (thank you, Dave Schultze!) and the other available resources at https://www.rhino3d.com/support. I downloaded the 90 days trial version of RHINO 6 from https://www.rhino3d.com/ (I have 60 days of trial left).
My previous in-depth knowledge of AutoCAD proved to be a help in many instances: concepts, similarity of logic and commands – while some reflexes I have were a hindrance. For example, I had to change the mouse scroll button function (to behave like AutoCAD) because I kept trying to use it for the PAN function (it was set to open a small menu). I struggled with the use of the CTRL button for deselecting objects (SHIFT in AutoCAD). This is a seemingly simple thing, but reflexes can mess with you! I truly went out of my comfort zone and I did that in more way than one.
When it comes to learning a new software, this is how I do it: I watch tutorials with the absolute basics, try to have an overview of what is possible within the confines of the software (often preparing elaborate cheat sheets) and then set a goal – something that I would like to accomplish (or draw in this case) – and then learn and practice the needed commands as I advance with my drawing. Why is that? It is because I find terribly boring to draw unrelated objects and shapes for the sake of a demonstration or a tutorial – not to mention that Rhino has an overwhelming number of commands, such that by the time one would get through all of them, the ones watched first would likely be entirely forgotten.
Furthermore, a goal of my own also keeps my focus sharp which, combined with the inherent struggles, makes my later recollection of the commands I have experienced this way, more efficient and complete.
This time, my choice project is an imaginary house, Villa 1.0., inspired by a number of sketches I made to explain to my husband what I would like to build in case we won the lottery (not likely, because we don’t even buy tickets).
Consequently, it might seem a bit quirky: no chimney because I don’t feel the need for fireplaces that would just take up precious space that could be given over to shelves loaded with books, huge skylight over the living room through the second floor asI am in love with skylights, and an enclosed swimming pool/orangerie.
This is where I stepped out from my comfort zone for the second time. I am in my element when it comes to kitchens, bathrooms, closets, etc. but a building is a stretch for me. I made a valiant effort to get my stuff right too (so that architects looking at this house don’t laugh too hard), by going back and forth in books like “What Not to Build” (Sandra Edelman , Judith Kay Gaman ) and “Get Your House Right” (by Marianne Cusato , Ben Pentreath) and by scouring the internet for inspiration.
While I am happy with this month’s progress, there is a long way yet to go, more commands to learn, GRASSHOPPER (I already thought of two learning projects for this algorithmic thinking) and, ultimately, speeding up enough to be able to include projects in Rhino and Grasshopper in my professional offer.
Stay tuned, I will keep posting about my progress.