Parametric design has an enormous range of applications. For example, in previous posts, I have presented a connection to various BIM software (link here). Most of software producents have established a live link connection that has been developed already a couple of years. In this post, I will present possibilities of utilizing the power of Rhino and Grasshopper with Visualisation Software. The trend shows that the development of these connections will go the same way as with BIM software. Why use a parametric approach in rendering software? If you have a general interest in visualization and rendering, this article is for you
Table of Contents
Before we go to the list of Grasshopper live connectors and plugins, we should answer two crucial questions.
The first one:
1. Why use Rhino and Grasshopper inside other software?
First of all, Grasshopper allows engineers to unlock the full power of parametric design. Tasks that were impossible to perform before now are achievable. Engineers can automate repetitive design tasks, build customized workflows and handle complex geometries. Basically speaking, there is no such expression now as – Sorry, it is not possible to do that becouse of software limitations. Parametric design expends software capabilities significant, and instead of waiting years for the next software update or new release, it is possible to dewelope own feature.
2. Why use Grasshopper with visualization/rendering Software?
Every designer has experienced numerous changes in every single project. In my professional career, I have never had a project that the design was unchanged. This is the real clue of design, right? To deliver a project that fills all criteria and demands, and that requires adjustments. The idea of the parametric approach is to create a design by parameter values that can be easily adjustable. Visually setting up logical and geometrical relationships in an algorithm gives enormous flexibility to design so it can be adjusted whenever needed.
Despite the ability to rapid changes, Grasshopper is extremely good in complex geometries. Object shapes that previously were hopeless to model now are possible. Primarily thanks to SUBD elements that are available from Rhinocores 7 versions.
We know WHY…
Let’s Answer the question: What software can we use?
Below you can find a list of Grasshopper live connections with rendering software.
Grasshopper with visualisation software –
The ultimate list
3. List of Grasshopper live connections with with Visualisation Software
3.1. Grasshopper with Twinmotion
The newest version of Twinmotion includes Rhino One-Click Support. Rhino & Grasshopper models are synchronized with Twinmotion in a single action, any materials that may have been originally assigned are automatically reassigned with Twinmotion PBR materials, all with no disturbance to your original model.
Datasmith Rhino plugin offers both exporting and direct linking and improves the transfer of data between the software packages making for a seamless Rhino to Twinmotion workflow. It means that it is possible to synchronize multiple files from Rhino into the same Twinmotion project.
You may ask how to use Grasshopper in this workflow? There is just a direct connection with Rhino.
One of the ways is to automatically bake Grasshopper elements into Rhino. Below you can find an example of a script how you can do it with the use of Elefront plugin. You can set up a plugin so it will bake connected geometry into a specific layer after every model update. I strongly advise using a data dam before connecting to prevent baking after every model change.
After baking, you can use three methods of export:
Here is a result of my work with this connection. The aim was to make a visualization of two bridge structures with similar landscapes and vegetation. After two days of playing a little bit with the model, I obtained this:
If you are interested in the workflow itself how I have created these models in Grasshopper and then how al scenery was made just let me know in the comments below.
3.2. Grasshopper with NIVIDIA Omniverse
NVIDIA Omniverse™ is a game-changing virtual platform built for collaboration and real-time photorealistic simulation. Complex creator, designer, and engineering visual workflows are transformed as users and teams connect design tools, assets, and projects for collaborative iteration in a virtual world. Project teams can maximize productivity, enhance communication, and boost innovation while collaborating on the same 3D model from anywhere.
Industry professionals can use Omniverse View with third-party applications connected to the platform via Omniverse Connectors. Grasshopper is one of them. Parametric models created in Grasshopper3D can become photorealistic, animated scenes in Omniverse Enterprise.
Below you can find tutorial which is part of a series of videos that showcase how AEC teams can connect their favorite apps to Omniverse and experience live sync collaboration on a shared scene and dataset. This technical walk-through demonstrates how to properly set up USD for collaboration, how to leverage the McNeel Rhino Omniverse Connector for live-editing, and ﬁnishes with a showcase of some basic features and tools within Omniverse Create
LINK – Getting Started with McNeel Rhinoceros Connector and Omniverse
3.3. Grasshopper with V-Ray
V-Ray for Grasshopper is included with V-Ray for Rhino for real-time visualization, photorealistic rendering, and animation. In order to operate V-Ray wih Grasshopper you have to combine V-Ray components exactly the same as native Grasshopper components.
V-Ray for Grasshopper adds a number of nodes for use with Grasshopper’s graphical algorithm editor that enable direct rendering as part of the Rhino scene without baking geometry.
There are four tabs in the V-Ray toolbar in Grasshopper: Geometry, Lighting, Material, Render, and additionally the V-Ray Render Elements Nodes.
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3.4. Grasshopper with Lumion
With the Lumion LiveSync for Rhino plug-in, you can view and change your Rhino model in real-time in Lumion. Change the Rhino model’s shape and you’ll see these changes taking place, in real-time, in Lumion’s breathtaking, lifelike environment.
As you continue modeling in Rhino, you can simultaneously view your project in Lumion surrounded by an immersive, fully featured landscape (mountains, water, grass). Beautiful materials make the design ‘pop’, while photo-realistic lighting suddenly heightens your sense of environment, realism and depth.
Live point-of-view synchronization
LiveSync now enables live point-of-view synchronization. Turn it on and immediately adopt the Rhino camera perspective, making your work easier, faster and more enjoyable.
Real-time materials synchronization
Instantly breathe life into your synced Rhino model by applying any of Lumion’s 1000+ high-definition materials in the Lumion editor. As you continue to develop the design, you can tweak the materials exactly to your liking and then save your material layouts for future rendering.
Automatic model imports
When establishing the LiveSync connection, Lumion will automatically import your Rhino model. Continue working on and modifying your project even after you turn off LiveSync, and easily save the file as an .LS for future rendering or development.
3.5. Grasshopper with Unity
Unity hasn’t created any direct link. However, I found on GitHub plug-in created by a Japanese architect and algorithmic design expert, Junichiro Horikawa. He managed to build a plug-in for Grasshopper that sends meshes through a WebSocket. In this way, you can create a new mesh side Unity.
Mesh Streaming Grasshopper
Plug-in for Grasshopper to stream mesh geometry through web socket with example to communicate with Unity. Here is a link to GitHub
3.6. Grasshopper with Unreal
Mindesk creates a live link between Unreal Editor and McNeel Rhinoceros for a real-time, photorealistic 3D editing. Mindesk allows you to link and keep in synch your Rhino/Grasshopper project into Unreal in a click without going through Datasmith. It saves you hours of import/export and data preparation that currently hamper your 3D design workflow.
While enabled, you can edit your Rhino/Grasshopper project and simultaneously see the result rendered in real-time in Unreal. You can assign Unreal materials to linked geometries; when you edit that shape, the material will persist and adapt to the new shape. A material table helps you override Rhino materials with Unreal ones. Once you are done, you can permanently import your CAD objects as Unreal assets or Blueprints.
This process accelerates your design iterations and allows you to visualize a rendered model since the earliest design phases.
Check out my other articles about Grasshopper
If you want to get more information about Grasshopper and learn parametric modelling, download the free guide – FREE DOWNLOAD
Grasshopper is a plugin to Rhino that you can download HERE