Using Modo (from Rhino) for architectural visualization - I got some questions!


Hey everyone, I’m a solid intermediate Modo user, and am interested in continuing my expertise in this awesome program for the purpose of architectural visualization and game asset creation.

Any suggestions of how to get nice quad-modeled mesh items in Modo coming from Rhino?

On the architectural front, I use Rhino as it perfect for making dimension-correct scalar models of build environment projects. For those unfamiliar with it, it’s like AutoCAD but much more ergonomic and less antiquated/janky/sticky. Because Rhino works with Nurbs, bringing stuff over to Modo is of course an act of translation - I usually export items from Rhino as *.obj and they show up in Modo looking good but usually with a mix of tri’s, quad’s, and an occasional n-gon’s. I want just quads, as all those tri’s and n-gon’s can cause problems later with UV layouts, rendering, animating, etc (and it’s just bad practice). I know there is no magic way to import items into Modo such that only quads are generated (or is there?) But more realistically, I’m wondering what you all would suggest for this workflow? Should I just relegate Rhino for making orthographic section images, that I can then use as reference for modeling up the items in Modo from scratch such that I don’t have to worry about weird artifacts that result from importing? How do architectural visualization people whose pipeline ends in a subdivision mesh modeler (like Modo) deal with translating from architectural CAD programs (like Rhino, AutoCAD, Revit, etc)? You might be asking, “why use Rhino at all - what can Rhino do that Modo can’t?” Well, Rhino is units specific, you make a little stair step exactly 31 cm tall for example - architects need this kind of analytic precision which Modo forfeits in the name of organic mesh sculpting - fine with me, but there’s gotta be a way to have it all between the two.

So that’s a mouthful perhaps, but in short I want to be able to use Rhino’s precise, unit-based analytic modeling tools as that is how most architectural stuff is conceived, but I also want to end up in Modo where I layout UVs, set up materials, and either render there directly or take it into Unity for walkthroughs and such. If you are a Modo-master, regardless of your experience using Rhino or architectural tools, how would you suggest going about using Modo for built-environment (architectural) projects? Are there any unit tools that I am not aware of in Modo or plugin’s that make it a bit more scalar and explicitly units based?

Thanks forum.


Closest you’ll get to getting a Rhino model to a quad based meshed is to either use MoI .obj exporter (I think it reads .3dm?) which has quad algorithm.

Or get the CAD Translators for modo plugin.

In either case, unless your architecture is extremely curvy there’s a decent chance to get a mostly quad-based mesh in using either of the options above.


You mean this Usefull thread. Rhino 5 user here too.


Thank you, yes. Disregard CAD Translators name, that is the defunct predecessor.


Its possible to force Rhino to output (mostly) evenly spaced quads. This is from 2002 but still works pretty well.


I’ve also imported the .obj into Zbrush and used Z-remesher to make even quads.