Mastering Rhino 8 for Mac: A Step-by-Step Guide to Designing a Stylish Chair with Kyle Houchens

November 29, 2023 2 min read

Mastering Rhino 8 for Mac: A Step-by-Step Guide to Designing a Stylish Chair with Kyle Houchens

Mastering Rhino 8 for Mac: A Step-by-Step Guide to Designing a Stylish Chair with Kyle Houchens

Designing furniture in Rhino 8 for Mac is a process that combines technical proficiency with artistic vision. Kyle Houchens, a seasoned trainer for McNeel, demonstrates the power of Rhino 8, which is now shipping, by crafting a stylish chair from scratch. The following guide offers insights into transforming a simple sketch into a 3D model, ready for rendering and presentation.

Starting the Design Process

The journey begins with a sketch of the chair, which although a three-dimensional representation, requires a tactical approach to extract usable orthographic views. After importing the image onto a plane using Rhino's Picture command, Houchens ensures clarity by adjusting its positioning and transparency, creating an ideal reference for modeling.

Creating the Framework

Focusing on the side profile, Kyle employs polyline and control vertex curves to trace the framework, emphasizing simplicity and manageability over complexity. The subsequent offset and adjustable curve blends shape the essential components of the side pieces, which are then extruded to create the armrests. The adoption of Auto C-Plane functionality and Push-Pull commands allows for intuitive manipulation of elements directly in 3D space, quickly shaping the chair's frame.

Modeling the Seat with Sub-D

The seat, intended to be a softer and more organic counterpart to the frame, is crafted using subdivision (Sub-D) surfaces. Houchens employs a technique he refers to as "paper doll modeling"—beginning with a flat plane and incrementally adding depth and form. Strategic placement of edges adheres to the "rule of three" for Sub-D modeling, where transitions and curvature are controlled by the positioning of three connected points or edges.

Adjusting the Seat Design

Throughout the modeling process, Kyle refines the seat's design, ensuring that its contours and sags mimic the sketch's intentions and the natural behavior of leather. He uses Rhino 8's Reflect tool to ensure symmetry and employs the Offset Sub-D command to give the seat appropriate thickness.

Rendering the Finished Chair

The final step in showcasing the chair design involves preparing it for rendering. A swift application of materials from Rhino's library—paint for the frame and leather for the seat—sets the stage. To simulate realistic edges without the laborious process of filleting, Edge Softening is applied, enhancing the visual appeal without modifying the geometry. With Rhino 8's improved rendering capabilities on Mac silicon, a high-quality image is efficiently produced.


In just over an hour, Kyle Houchens demonstrates the seamless transition from a simple sketch to a beautifully rendered chair using Rhino for Mac. This process exemplifies the potential that lies within Rhino 8, offering a suite of tools that cater to both architectural precision and organic fluidity. By mastering these techniques, designers can bring their inventive concepts to life with efficiency and flair.

For more information about the newest and most advanced design software technology, do not hesitate to contact the Novedge sales team.

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