Rhino Inside Revit helps us to achieve a seamless design-to-production workflow where we can use the power of parametric design with Grasshopper, Rhino’s advanced 3D modeling and Revit’s incredible BIM documentation capabilities.
Long gone are the days when we have to create a 3D model in Rhino or Grasshopper and then remodel it from scratch in Revit because these tools don’t talk to each other well.
If we are talking about a real architecture practice, this means saving a lot of time and money because we can iterate our designs much faster now and push them in Revit for documentation right away.
What is Rhino Inside Revit?
Before answering what is Rhino Inside Revit, it’s important to explain what is Rhino Inside. Rhino Inside is a new type of technology developed by the developers of Rhino, Robert McNeel and Associates, that allows us to integrate Rhino within other applications and different design fields.
Some of those applications are Adobe Illustrator and Autodesk Revit. As a result of Autodesk Revit’s integration, we have a new product called Rhino Inside Revit and put simply, it is built as a plugin for Revit.
This means that you’re going to open Revit regularly and then access Rhino and Grasshopper through Revit. That’s why it’s called “inside” as it literally runs as an application within the existing application.
Installation and Requirements
When it comes to compatibility and installing Rhino Inside Revit, it’s important to know that you need to download Rhino Inside Revit Installer and you need a working version of Rhino 7 or Rhino 8.
It is compatible with Revit version 2018.2 up until Revit version 2024.0. It’s better to have a newer version of Revit because some older versions don’t support all the features of Rhino Inside Revit.
You need to have Rhino installed prior to installing Rhino Inside Revit. Once you go through the installation process, when you open Revit, you’ll be able to see a new tab in Revit called Rhino Inside. Click on the start button and that will load new Rhino and Grasshopper commands in the toolbar.
As soon as you click on the Grasshopper button from this toolbar, a new Grasshopper window will open and this is where you’ll be able to notice two different sets of toolbars. The first one is the Revit Primitives panel on the default Params Tab.
The second is the Rhino Inside Revit tab which has many different commands inside.
Now, keep in mind that you will only see these components if you open Grasshopper through Rhino Inside. If you open Grasshopper separately with Rhino, you won’t be able to see these components.
If you have your own Grasshopper definitions that you want to use with Rhino Inside, that’s possible. You would just need to open Grasshopper through Rhino Inside and then import those definitions that you created previously in a separate Grasshopper session.
How does Rhino Inside Revit work?
Rhino Inside Revit allows us to connect parametric models from Grasshopper and regular 3D models from Rhino and push them to Revit. By controlling the input parameters in our Grasshopper definition we can also see the live change in the Revit window. This means we can test many different design iterations in a very short amount of time.
In addition to this, we can also modify Revit families directly through the Grasshopper interface. So basically, our Grasshopper file can pull the families from the Revit template that we have opened and based on that template we can specify and choose a family type that we want to test out for our walls, windows, doors, handrails etc.
Let’s say that you want to modify the shape of your building using SubD Tools in Rhino but you also want this change to be visible in Revit.
Believe it or not, we can also do that with Rhino Inside Revit. You can simply modify the organic shape of the building and that will be reflected in Revit right away. Of course, you need to have the proper Grasshopper algorithm for this to work, but here I just want to lay out what is possible.
It's important to note that you can create geometry from all 3 directions. You can create geometry using Rhino’s nurbs curves and surfaces, or Grasshopper-controlled curves, but you can also go in the other direction - you can reference the existing Revit model and push it through Grasshopper in Rhino.
Then you can separately work on that Rhino model if you need to. For example, there are workflows that include the need for physical models or 3D-printed models. So having a clean model in Rhino for 3D printing exported from Revit is a great time-saver as well.
Why would you use Rhino Inside Revit in architecture?
One of the most common workflows in architecture is that we divide the design process into a couple of phases. Those are schematic design, design development, construction documents, bidding, and construction administration.
However, when it comes to using software to design a project, we can simply divide it into the design phase and construction/documentation phase.
When it comes to the design phase of the project, Rhino is the best tool there is because we can do 2D drawings, 3D models, parametric modeling, as well as architectural diagrams and renderings.
On the other hand, when it comes to construction documentation, phasing, and cost estimates Revit is one of the best BIM tools in the AEC industry. Connecting these two phases has always been a challenge.
As soon as the design is finalized in Rhino, we would have to start building a BIM model in Revit from scratch because a 3D model from Rhino can only be used as a mass object in Revit, which doesn’t help much, and most of the times it can just be used as a reference.
This isn’t the only problem though. What if you want to continuously develop both the design and construction phases in order to have a better space and cost estimate for the project?
You would have to remodel the BIM model each time you make a different design iteration. This leads to a lot of repetitive and unproductive work but with this integration, this workflow becomes a reality.
Now the next question is: How do I start learning Rhino Inside Revit? What are the best learning resources?
Let’s take a closer look…
Training and Resources for Rhino Inside Revit
The best place to start reading about this technology is the official Rhino Inside Revit getting started guide from McNeel. This guide provides detailed instructions on how to install Rhino Inside Revit and covers the core basics, so you can get a better idea of the features.
After the essential guide, you can check out more detailed Rhino Inside Revit guides on almost every single category and component that is currently publicly available.
This is a great resource if you want to read more about the features that we currently have available, and even though these are very comprehensive articles, the only thing they lack would be some sort of video demonstration or a video tutorial segment.
Another great place to stop by is McNeel’s official forum - Rhino Inside Revit Category. This is the best place to report your problems, find solutions, ask for feedback, or just gather the freshest information about the developments and upcoming updates. The community is strong here and the developers are very responsive, so you can get feedback on your issues fairly quickly.
If you prefer to learn through video tutorials, webinars, or courses, there is a big collection of Rhino Inside Revit video resources right here. There are interesting workshops on there, interviews and various use-cases in architecture, so make sure to check these resources out.
If you’re interested in learning how to use Rhino Inside for architecture with tutorials that are exactly on point with a structured step-by-step approach, you may want to check out our Rhino Inside Revit Course.
This course will show you exactly how to use Rhino Inside Revit Grasshopper components and we’ll be creating up to 7 architectural projects where you’ll get an idea of how to use design-to-production workflow, how to use dynamic facade designs, how to use organic and fluid designs with Revit and also how to prepare fabrication files for 3D printing.
In addition to that, we’re going to talk about adaptive components in Revit and how to create a special attractor point definition that would allow us to distribute facade panels in a controlled way.
Lastly, we’re going to show you how to build a high-rise tower design with a double-skin facade just so you can get an idea of how far this technology can go and how we can automate almost anything now.
I must emphasize that using Rhino Inside Revit is not going to be easy if you’re a total beginner in Rhino and Grasshopper and Revit. You would really have a hard time understanding anything here and if that’s the case, I would encourage you to learn Rhino and learn Grasshopper first before going further.
For those of you, who are already at an intermediate level in Grasshopper and Revit, well done, you can proceed! Start going through the resources above and good luck with your projects!